Scar Treatment

How does scar care work?

Reviewed on: 15.09.2021
5 min read

Scar care products work in a variety of ways to help your scars, reduce the visual impact of any scarring and by moisturising skin. We look at how these products work with your skin and what ingredients are used[1].

Mederma’s® unique triple benefit formula works to visibly fades scars’ appearance in just 14 days* by hydrating and regenerating skin cells, reducing redness, and helping to reduce excess collagen[1]. Read on to find out more about how Mederma® products work.

  • Scar care products use a variety of ingredients to reduce the visual impact of scarring
  • They can increase moisture in the skin, improve elasticity, and protect against the sun
  • Some help skin remodelling

In this article:

  • How do scar creams generally work?
  • Ingredients providing skin moisture and elasticity
  • Ingredients which soften the skin
  • Ingredients to protect against sun damage and to improve skin tone
  • Ingredients to help skin remodelling and improve the appearance of scars
  • Things to remember
  • References

How do scar creams generally work?

Scar creams typically have properties that reduce tension on the scar by:

  • providing moisture to soften the upper layer of the skin
  • providing a protective barrier to retain moisture
  • helping cells to regenerate and remodel the connective tissue below the scar

Some scar care products additionally protect against photo damage to the sensitive skin on the scar.

To find out what’s in your scar care product of choice, have a look at the typical ingredients that provide these functions.

Ingredients providing skin moisture and elasticity

The most effective way to prevent scarring is to keep freshly healed skin moist[2,3]– so many topical skin products contain ingredients to help with this process.

While certain ingredients, such as glycerin, lecithin, and propylene glycol draw in water molecules, others lock in the moisture by forming an oily layer on the skin.

Typically, silicones, petrolatum, lanolin, and mineral oil are used to lock in the moisture. Silicone additionally also reduces collagen overgrowth, which makes it one of the most effective ingredients for reducing scarring and the appearance of scars.

Dimethicone is a type of silicone with occlusive and moisturising properties that is used to promote faster healing and protect the skin during the night and is frequently used in moisturisers[4].

Panthenol, a vitamin B-5 derivative, locks moisture into the skin, providing elasticity while stimulating fibroblast growth, which helps new tissue formation[5].  It has been shown to improve scar appearance[6].

Ingredients that soften the skin

Typical skin softening ingredients are urea, alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic, citric, or glycolic acid, and allantoin[7]. These ingredients soften the keratin protein in our skin – which gives our skin its rigidity and holds the outer layer of our skin together. These ingredients slough off dead skin cells, break down inflamed scar tissue and encourage healthy cell growth.

This helps the skin retain more water and leaves the skin feeling smoother and softer, which reduces the tension and appearance of scars.

Ingredients to protect against sun damage and to improve skin tone

Antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E (sometimes as tocopherol), protect the skin against photo damage,[8,9] while skin brightening agents, such as vitamin C, directly improve the skin tone[10].  Rosehip oil combines both properties as it is rich in vitamins A and C and, therefore, helps protect the sensitive skin of fresh scars and improves their appearance.

In addition to these, a sunscreen may be advisable as the skin on scars is particularly sensitive to the sun[1,2].  Indeed, it is highly recommended to protect young scars from the sun for around 18 months[11,12].

Ingredients to help skin remodeling and improve the appearance of scars

Hyaluronic acid has a unique ability to retain water, has anti-oxidative properties, and is a stimulant for collagen production[13,14].  As a result, it acts as a filler and helps to even out the skin. It naturally occurs in the body where it is involved in many processes, including wound healing and tissue repair[13,15].

Tripeptides, such as copper peptide, possess anti-inflammatory properties and are known to promote skin remodeling[16,17].

Onion extract contains the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which regulate fibroblast activity, and has anti-inflammatory properties[18,19] . It has been clinically shown to improve the look and feel of scars[20].

Mederma® Advanced Scar Gel

  • Clinically shown to visibly reduce the appearance of scars
  • Unique triple-benefit formula designed to penetrate beneath the skin surface
  • Use just once a day

Buy today

Things to remember

Scar care products can help reduce the appearance of your scars, and reduce soreness and tension too.

Ingredients to look out for in your products include:

  • Silicones, petrolatum, lanolin, and mineral oil lock to lock in moisture.
  • Panthenol to stimulate fibroblast growth.
  • Urea, allantoin and alpha hydroxy acids to soften the skin.
  • Vitamins A, C and E and rosehip oil to protect against sun damage and improve skin tone.

Hyaluronic acid, tripeptides and onion extract to remodel skin and reduce the appearance of scars.


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