Vitamin E Cream and Scars, a Perfect Match?

Letter E with cracks that look like scars
Letter E with cracks that look like scars

vitamin E and scars, not such a good combo as many think

Vitamin E cream improves scars? According to popular belief it does. According to studies it does not and may even aggravate scar tissue. Interestingly, one study shows that when used in conjunction with silicone gel there seem to be some benefits. Read on to learn more.

When it comes to scar removal, many believe that creams, oils, and capsules containing vitamin E are the solution to finally getting rid of them. When you look at what vitamin E actually does, it seems that this should be true. In reality it’s not. This is a persistent myth that embraced by the masses.

The properties of vitamin E make it seem like an excellent choice for scar removal and most capsules and creams are quite affordable. Furthermore, most scars improve over time so the use of certain topicals may unfairly suggest efficacy. That’s is why this belief is so popular. If you have decided to try out this method on one of your scars, you should reconsider. Here’s why.

Debunking The Myth

In many cases, vitamin E has not only been useless in removing scars, but it makes the affected area worse. The NY Times pointed this out years ago. It can cause redness, rashes, allergies, and more. Seeing as these effects can cause your scar to look even worse, these are not the results you are searching for. Many people claim that vitamin E helped them repair their scars, but there are no studies that prove this.

You may have had good effects with vitamin E cream, but these types of results are extremely rare according to this study. It is never a good idea to gamble with your skin. Here’s another study on this matter.

Vitamin E is said to improve scar appearance because it allows skin to be grown quicker than without the vitamin. It has also shown that it can heal certain wounds faster. (other research demonstrates it inhibits wound healing)

A review in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (Dec. 2006) states that:

“vitamin E has complex effects on wound healing,” and concludes “the evidence that topical vitamin E alone improves the cosmetic appearance of scars is poor. It is also associated with a high incidence of contact dermatitis. The use of vitamin E should, therefore, be discouraged.”

If you plan to use vitamin E oil on the skin, test it first on the inside of your forearm to make sure it will not cause a bad reaction. (e.g. rash)

Does Vitamin E Oil Help Scars?

clinical trials on the effectiveness of vitamin E on scars

vitamin E capsules

vitamin E capsules are thought to help scars heal

Vitamin E is supposed to be beneficial in scar healing. It is applied as oil or by opening vitamin E capsules and applying the content on the tissue. But does this topical use of vitamin E help scars?

In 1986 one of the largest studies to investigate the effect of vitamin E on scars was published in The Journal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation.

A group of 159 people with scars from burns were randomly selected, some to regularly apply a normal topical cream and others to apply vitamin E to their scars.

The vitamin E group showed no noticeable improvement in the size, thickness or appearance of their scars by the end of the study.

Abstract of the research report by the Journal of Burn Care & Rehabilitation

In another study conducted in 1999, scientists at the University of Miami followed a group of patients who had recently had minor surgery. (Dermatologic Surgery, Apr. 1999)

Each patient was instructed to apply each to a separate half of their scars twice daily for four weeks. One half with a vitamin E containing ointment and the other with another ointment. Finally the scars were evaluated by the patients, the scientists and an independent observer.

The appearance of the scars treated with vitamin E did not improve. In fact, many looked worse. Almost a third of the patients actually developed an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis (red rash) in response to vitamin E.

Abstract of the “The Effects of Topical Vitamin E on the Cosmetic Appearance of Scars” study report by the University of Miami Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Surgery, Miami, Florida

Scars, on the other hand, are when skin cells have been damaged and cannot be replaced. When your body is cut or scrapped, it fills up the hole with collagen. These collagens are placed at random and may grow excessively after the skin is cut. This causes it to be noticeable to the naked eye and appear discolored. Also restriction of movement of muscles and ligaments, scar itch and pain may occur.

Once the scar becomes matured and raised on the skin, it can be improved with certain over the counter products but the use of vitamin E is discouraged. There is no evidence or studies that confirm that vitamin E is in anyway beneficial to scars. (there’s one exception, more in a bit..) It also has no effect on acne scars or keloids. Keloids are permanently red and are described as benign tumors of scar tissue that never mature.

From the July 2004 edition of the Pharmacist’s Letter on over-the-counter scar products:

“Vitamin E capsules are often opened and rubbed on the scar. Tell people it doesn’t work . . . and can cause contact dermatitis. Topical steroids don’t help. They’re probably not absorbed well. Onion extract . . . is heavily promoted for scars . . . but so far there’s not enough proof that it’s effective.”

Vitamin E Might Worsen Scars

“Because of its ability to inhibit collagen synthesis, the use of vitamin E early in scar therapy may reduce scar tensile strength and, hence, lead to the development of widened scars.”

source: Topical Treatments for Hypertrophic Scars. Zurada, Kriegel, Davis

Multiple studies have compared moisturizers (emollients) such as Vaseline to moisturizers with added vitamin E on scars. No study has shown any difference between a ‘normal’ moisturizer and a vitamin E containing cream. There are no examples of vitamin E resulting in better healing and scar appearance.

But apart from not being effective, topically applied vitamin E caused an allergic skin reaction called dermatitis in about 30% of people.

Many doctors and surgeons do not recommend vitamin E creams or vitamin E applied to the skin for wound healing or scar improvement.

Or, how Sarah L. Taylor, M.D., M.P.H. from the dermatology website Skinandaging puts it:

“topical vitamin E may actually cause more harm than good, although many patients believe vitamin E speeds wound healing and improves the look of a scar, current evidence from the literature does not support this idea.

In fact, studies report adverse effects with use of vitamin E. Because of this, discourage your patients from using topical vitamin E on healing wounds and scars.”

Vitamin E combined with a Silicone Gel Product

Studies show benefits of additional vitamin E when using silicone gel for scars.

Vitamin E cream in combination with silicone gel sheets has demonstrated to improve:

“preexisting hypertrophic scars by 50% in 95% of the patients, compared with 50% improvement in 75% of the patients treated with silicon sheets alone after 2 months of treatment.”

Another study concludes:

“95% of patients in group A had improved by 50%, whereas 75% had improved by 50% ” and “Vitamin E added to the silicon plate scored better than the simple silicon plate at the end of both periods. We have reported the successful combined action of vitamin E and silicone gel sheets in scar treatment, especially in the short-term prophylaxis* of hypertrophic scars or keloids” source: pubmed Note: prophylaxis means prevention.

While scars may be bothersome and can cause quite a bit of frustration, you should not take drastic measures to get rid of them. Some methods, such as applying Vitamin E to your scars, may seem like a way to be free of your scars, but there are other options. Products that have been proven safe and effective. If there are no studies or tests that prove a theory about the skin, it is best not to try it. It is also a good idea to stay away from treatments that have been known to make the affected area worse in some cases, because it could very well happen to you. There may be some scar solutions out there, but Vitamin E is not it.

Critical note: The use of topical vitamin E is disencouraged by many dermatologists because of the development of contact dermatitis. Taking this into account and since I have not used this combination myself I feel reluctant to recommending this combination of products.

So Vitamin E Does Not Help Scars

but what about all the positive reviews and experiences?

Google on ‘does vitamin E help scars’ and you will be overwhelmed by positive reviews and experiences with applying vitamin E on scars. How is that possible?

Well, to be honest I don’t know exactly. It might be the power of suggestion. If you believe something hard enough it might be true in your perception. The following example might give a better explanation:

Another study evaluated 97 people with old or new scars who used either an onion based gel or a placebo gel.

After two months, there was no difference in scar size, redness, overall improvement, elevation and softness when assessed by physicians. However when asked to assess their own scars, significantly more people using the onion gel thought their scars were softer and less noticeable.

Alternatives?

Luckily, some products do help. Vitamin C, for example, can be beneficial. Read these posts to learn more about the best cream for raised scars, and about your options when it comes to scar lightening creams.

Also, a proven effective scar treatment is silicone sheeting or silicone creams.

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The Best Cream For Raised Scars

Kelo-Cote silicone scar cream
Kelo-Cote silicone scar cream

Kelo-Cote silicone scar cream

The best cream for raised scars might not be a cream at all. Raised scars are called hypertrophic or keloid. The overabundant collagen production as a result of the healing process can be reduced and stabilized by using silicone gel sheets.

This method has been used successfully by medical facilities since the 1980’s. Several studies (1) and clinical reports show that silicone sheeting is effective at reducing the elevation, thickness, and redness of such scars. Also pain and itch are reduced.

“Cosmetic appearance and physiology of raised scars can be improved in 85% of cases.”

Silicone Gel Sheeting vs Silicone Gel Cream

The past years silicone gel ointments have been introduced to the market. Popular brands are Kelo-cote, InviCible, and ScarAway, Applied from a tube the silicones form a thin flexible sheet over the scar. Their advantage is that they are much more convenient since silicone sheets (or patches) can be hard to keep attached. Especially on body parts that are flexible.

Some studies (2) indicate that the creams are just as effective as sheets.

“Results from clinical trials and clinical experience suggest that silicone gel is equivalent in efficacy to traditional silicone gel sheeting but easier to use.”

Older studies demonstrate silicone sheeting to be more effective. To my knowledge no well-designed study comparing both methods has been conducted yet. More about studies on this subject here: Silicone Gel Cream vs. Silicone Sheets, Which Is Better For Scars?

My gut feeling (and a little personal experience) says sheets work better but there’s no scientific ground for that assumption. Personally, I would, therefore prefer to use sheets above creams. In case sheets can be applied relatively conveniently that is.

Creams Are More Convient

However, sometimes you are just better off using a silicone gel cream. For example when the scar is located on your face and you don’t want to wear silicone patch on your face in public all day. (You could decide to wear them at night only but then again, there’s so much movement in the face that it is really hard to keep them attached )

That’s why, in some cases, I recommend to use both silicone sheets and a cream. Based upon my personal experience with silicone scar treatment I generally recommend ScarAway sheets and Kelo-cote cream.

Did you use both? Did you notice any differences? Did one work better then the other? I would love to hear your experiences regarding the differences between sheets and ointments.

 

References

(1) Topical silicone gel for the prevention and treatment of hypertrophic scar.  PubMed.

(2) Evolution of silicone therapy and mechanism of action in scar management. PubMed.

 

 

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Invicible Scar Cream Review, Does Invicible Work?

InviCible scar cream review
InviCible scar cream review

InviCible scar cream

Does InviCible scar cream work? Or is it just another in a long line of products that promise much but deliver little?

This cream is said to address every kind of scar healing at each phase of its development and existence: inflammation, proliferation (the buildup of excess collagen), epithelialization, and maturation. Let’s review it’s ingredients and supposed method of action.

InviCible’s active ingredients include;

  • silicone gel
  • vitamin C
  • aloe vera
  • licorice extract
  • linoleic and oleic acid

 

Silicone gel
InviCible Scar Cream is a silicone gel based product which is a good thing. There have been more controlled clinical studies on silicone gel treatment for scars than any other method, and there is considerable evidence in support of its efficacy. InviCible uses high quality Dimethicone silicone gel, which has been shown (in at least one study) to be just as effective as sheeting.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is considered a vital part of the scar healing process, but can be difficult to utilize in treatments due to its instability and oxidization upon repeated exposure to air. InviCible has resolved this with its patent-pending dual complex of 17% Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate.

Numerous randomized, double-blind studies have shown Vitamin C to be extremely successful in reducing redness and inflammation, reducing hyperpigmentation, promoting collagen formation, hydrating skin, and smoothing the appearance of hypertrophic scars.

Licorice extract
Licorice root extract has a strong anti-inflammatory action and is known to accelerate skin renewal. It also has positive effects on acne, both in prevention and treatment.

Aloe vera
Products containing aloe vera gel are used topically to promote healing in burns and wounds and to reduce pain and inflammation. Aloe vera gels generally contain carboxypeptidases and salicylate, which help inhibit pain, and C-glucosyl chromone, which acts as a topical anti-inflammatory. Aloe vera gels may also have antifungal and antibacterial properties (Brown, Lori C. PharmD, CCP, February 1, 2005).

Linoleic and oleic acid
Linoleic and oleic acid are derived from safflower seed and sunflower seed oil. They improve scar elasticity and lighten dark pigment among other things that improve scar appearance. They are milder then so called Alpha hydroxy acids.

Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are natural fruit acids, including lactic, glycolic, and citric acids. Products containing AHAs are used topically to exfoliate skin, to treat stretch marks, acne scars and to moisturize skin. Caution should be used when applying AHAs, as they can cause skin irritation (Brown, Lori C. PharmD, CCP, February 1, 2005).

 

Is InviCible Scars Worth Your Money?

 

InviCible ScarsI think it is because all the ingredients used in this product have scientific data backing their efficacy. Silicones alone have been used by medical professionals for over 20 years.

Vitamin c isn’t widely accepted as an effective scar treatment agent yet but general acknowledgement is very likely to increase. Also the articles referring to clinical trials on their website are pretty convincing. As are the before and after photos.

Also in favor of this cream is the fact that InviCible is hypoallergenic and only uses essential ingredients that are free from fragrance and preservatives. The cream is particularly versatile when compared to standard silicone gels or silicone sheeting due to its ease of use (particularly around joints), comfort, and lack of cumbersome and unsightly sheet dressings.

Its easy absorption means that clothes can be worn over the treatment site without disturbing the healing process, and sun block can easily be applied over it, which is crucial for new scars which can discolor and thicken due to high levels of sun exposure.

Want to use a scar product that, contrary to the vast majority of scar creams, is actually backed by science? They offer a 30 day free trial so you can try it for yourself. You only pay $9,95 plus shipping if you return it.

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Vitamin C For Scars – Vitamin C Cures More Than Scurvy

picture of a lemon

picture of a lemonIf we remember our history lessons, we know that many sailors suffered greatly with the effects of scurvy. This was because sailors were at sea for long periods of time, where fruit and fresh vegetables were in short supply due to lack of space, or the stocks had run out due to the produce having a short shelf life.

Scurvy was found to be caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, by a Scottish surgeon, James Lind, who worked for the Royal Navy. His advice, to treat patients of scurvy with citrus fruit, was overlooked by his peers and consequently not implemented by the Royal Navy for several decades.

Vitamin C, it is said, can cure the common cold, but while there is no absolute proof of this; there are plenty of other benefits to ensuring the vitamin is a regular part of your diet. It acts as an antioxidant and also bolsters the effects of the immune system.

Vitamin C also contains a natural antihistamine. It prevents histamine release and increases the rate at which histamine is removed from the human body. A study in 1992 proved that taking just 2 grams of vitamin C on a daily basis lowered the blood histamine levels by 38% in healthy adults in just one week.

Well, that’s just one small part of the many benefits of vitamin C. Have you ever thought about what the vitamin actually does for our skin and scars?


Vitamin C Helps Skin and Scars Heal


Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is vital to the production of collagen. This is a protein that aids the growth of cells and blood vessels and allows skin to remain firm and strong. Ascorbic acid also supports the production of scar tissue and ligaments and helps the skin to repair itself.

Unlike some animals, humans are unable to produce our own vitamin C. The only way we can ensure our skin gets enough is to add more to our diet and use skin care products that contain a stable form of vitamin C. More about stable vitamin C for scars and other safe ingredients in this post; the best cream for scar lightening.

This can be a minefield as ascorbic acid tends to turn brown once it has been oxidized, and unfortunately, this renders it completely useless. Many vitamin C-based products are colored brown or dark yellow to disguise the oxidation.

Independent studies show that vitamin C:

  • Regulates collagen formation – which helps to keep skin firm
  • Improves hydration of the skin – helps prevent wrinkles
  • Lightens dark scars and pigmented skin lesions – reduces unsightly scarring and lightens liver spots
  • Decreases inflammation and redness – helps to prevent blotches caused by irritated skin and spots
  • Is a powerful antioxidant which prevents skin damage – oxygen can lead to cell dysfunction.

Patients were asked to carry out a blind test, with half applying a newly formulated vitamin C complex to one half of the face and a polysilicone gel base to the other side. Clinical evaluation of wrinkling, pigmentation, inflammation and hydration was performed before study and again at weeks 4, 8 and 12.

Questionnaires were completed by each patient and the results were most impressive with the vitamin C-treated side having decreased photoaging scores of the cheeks and noted improved hydration. Biopsies revealed increased collagen and no patients showed any evidence of inflammation. No patient felt that the placebo side showed unilateral improvement.

Among stable vitamin C there are some other substances that are clinically proven to lighten scars.

Read this post for extensive information on the role of vitamin C in wound healing.

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Mederma Scar Cream Review

Mederma scar cream

Mederma scar creamMederma scar cream is very popular. Ask ten people about what they think is the best cream to treat scars and many of them will mention Mederma. But is this based on facts? Does Mederma really work?

In this review we will examine this product closely by looking at user experiences and by mapping what medical science has to say.

If you read reviews, for example on Amazon, you’ll find that opinions are mixed. Some users say they really notice improvement while others think they wasted their money and time. The problem with scar creams is that the effects not always can be attributed to the product used.

Many scars improve over time and keeping scars hydrated (with most any cream) will benefit them slightly. Another problem is a general lack of knowledge on this matter. It’s startling how many doctors and even dermatologists suggest their patients to use useless creams.

Mederma’s Active Ingredient

Mederma scar cream’s active ingredient is allium cepa or onion extract. There are a number of products on the market today that use extract of the common onion (Allium cepa) as an active ingredient. The German pharmaceutical firm Merz manufactures Mederma and Contracubex topical products, which are designed to improve scar appearance. Generic versions of Mederma are also sold under the name Cepalin.

It is thought that the active ingredient in the onion is a bioflavonoid with antihistamine and antiproliferative effects on both normal and malignant cells (“Mederma,” 2012). Other studies have revealed that onion extract is anti-inflammatory due to the presence of cepanes and anti-infective because of thio-sulfinates (Draelos, Zoe, D., MD, June 2008).

In order to thoroughly investigate whether or not this cream has some scientific evidence behind it we’ll have to look at studies on onion extract. And its effects on scar appearance.

 

Is onion extract effective for scar treatment?

onionSeveral studies published in the medical literature during the 1990s and 2000s discussed the efficacy of using onion extract to treat scars. The results of these studies were mixed.

One 1999 study published in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery examined the effects of topical onion gel extract on 17 patients recovering from recent skin-cancer surgery. The study found no statistically significant difference between pre- and post-treatment evaluations of scar erythema and pruritus in the patients using the topical onion extract gel, and concluded that the topical onion gel was ineffective for improving scar appearance (Jackson, B. A., and Shelton, A. J., April, 1999).

A 2006 study was also published in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery. This study evaluated onion extract gel versus petrolatum emollient for treatment of scars. The study included 24 patients with recent surgical wounds at least four centimeters in length. The study found no statistically-significant difference between those patients treated with the onion extract gel or those treated with ordinary petrolatum, and concluded that the onion extract gel did not improve scar cosmesis or symptomatology (Chung, V.Q., Kelley, L., Marra, D., and Jiang, S.B., February 2006).

A 2007 study was published in the Journal of Wound Care. This study evaluated the use of onion extract combined with silicone gel sheets on 60 patients. These patients were divided into three groups. Group 1 was treated with onion extract alone. Group 2 was treated with silicone gel sheets. Group 3 was treated with a combination of onion extract and silicone gel sheets together. The study found that the onion extract worked well to reduce scar color, while the silicone gel sheets worked well to reduce scar height. The most positive effects were noted in study Group 3, which used both the onion extract and silicone gel sheets together. The study concluded that onion extract can improve scars through multiple mechanisms, but it is ineffective at reducing scar height. The extract should be combined with silicone sheets to achieve the best results (Hosnuter, M., Payasli, C., Isikdemir, A., and Tekerekoglu, B., June, 2007).

A 2008 study was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. This study evaluated the effectiveness of onion extract gel to improve the appearance of scars following excision. Sixty patients with symmetrical seborrheic keratoses at least eight millimeters in diameter in the chest area were studied after surgical removal of the skin growth. Some were treated with onion extract gel, and some were not; and patients were re-examined at four, six, and ten weeks, respectively. The study showed that for those who received the onion gel treatment, there was significant improvement in scar softness, redness, texture, and appearance (Draelos, Zoe, D., MD, June 2008).

A 2011 study was published in the International Wound Journal. Like the 2007 study by Hosnuter, Payasli, Isikdemir, and Tekerekoglu, from the Journal of Wound Care, this study evaluated the use of onion extract gel combined with silicone for scar treatment. Sixty patients after median sternotomy incisions were separated into two groups. One group was given twice daily treatments with a silicone derivative combined with onion extract gel, and one group was given a placebo. The treatment period lasted 12 weeks. It was found that using a silicone derivative plus onion extract gel is safe and effective for the preventing the hypertrophic scarring after median sternotomy (Jenwitheesuk, K., et al., December 14, 2011).

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, of the five studies reviewed above, three used onion extract by itself or in comparison to ordinary petrolatum. Of these studies, only the 2008 study by Draelos attested to the effectiveness of onion extract, while the other two stated it was not effective. Two of the five studies evaluated the effectiveness of onion extract combined with silicone, and these studies found the combination to be effective for treating scars.

I know from experience that most of scar creams don’t work since I have tried a lot of them. If you want to use a scar removal cream I would advice to use a silicone cream for these do have studies confirming their effectiveness. Examples of silicone gels are Zeraderm, ScarAway, InviCible, and Kelocote. InviCible is unique because it also has safe and proven effective scar lightening agents in it. Some of its ingredients are known to enhance the collagen formation in scar tissue. Click here to read an InviCible Scars review.
References
Chung, V.Q., Kelley, L., Marra, D., and Jiang, S.B. (February 2006). Onion extract gel versus petrolatum emollient on new surgical scars: prospective double-blinded study. Dermatol Surg, 32 (2), 193-197. Abstract retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16442038

Draelos, Zoe, D., MD. (June 2008). The ability of onion extract gel to improve the cosmetic appearance of postsurgical scars. J Cosmet Dermatol. 7, (2), 101-104. Retrieved from: http://lib-sh.lsuhsc.edu/portals/factts/handouts/5_Morgan_Erin.pdf

Hosnuter, M., Payasli, C., Isikdemir, A., and Tekerekoglu, B. (June, 2007). The effects of onion extract on hypertrophic and keloid scars. J Wound Care, 16 (6), 251-254. Abstract retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17722521

Jackson, B. A., and Shelton, A. J. (April, 1999). Pilot study evaluating topical onion extract as treatment for postsurgical scars. Dermatol Surg, 25 (4), 267-269. Abstract retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10417579

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The Best Cream For Scar Lightening

light-bulb

When you have dark scars that bother you, you’ll probably want to get rid of them. So you may want to find the best cream for scar lightening.

A quality scar lightening cream can even out your skin tone by lightening and brightening discolored scar tissue.

It should remove the redness, purple, pink, or brown discoloration associated with scars and, ideally, also works on sun spots, freckles, etc. Furthermore it must be safe to use.

Causes Of Dark Scars And How To Lighten Them

 

Such a cream should work by tackling the problem at the source. Generally, dark scars are caused by hypertrophy or hyperpigmentation.

  • Hypertrophic scars are red, pink, or purple and raised.
  • Hyperpigmented scars are brown (or grey or black) colored but not necessarily raised. They are often flat. These are caused by an over-production of melanin (skin pigment) in response to the scar healing inflammation phase.

Hypertrophic scars are best treated with silicone creams. These make them smoother, flatter, and less red.

Hyperpigmented scars can be treated with lightening creams that contain tyrosinase inhibitors.

These are ingredients that keep melanin production suppressed. Some of the most popular include; lactic acid, vitamin C (ascorbic acid) liquorice, hydroquinone, and kojic acid.

Next to UV protection inhibition of tyrosinase production is the next important aspect in controlling hyperpigmentation.

For these creams to be effective and safe certain ingredients should be present as well as avoided.

Hint: Not All Scar Lightening Creams Are Made The Same Way

All creams are not made the same, which means the ingredients will be different. Not only the potency of the compounds varies. Some scar lightening creams will have natural ingredients while other creams are loaded with strong, and sometimes potentially harmful, chemicals. Let’s take a look at 4 commonly used, natural, and effective ingredients.

 

4 Working Scar Lightening Cream Ingredients

 

1 – Hydroquinone

This skin-bleaching agent can lighten regions of dark skin like age spots, acne scars, freckles and melisma. It works to reduce melanosomes production and increase its breakdown that’s in the skin’s pigment cells.

In addition it inhibits tyrosinase activity, which is an enzyme required to produce melanin and a common cause of dark scar tissue.

The tyrosinase enzyme is also found in bananas and apples and is responsible for them turning brown when peeled.

However, hydroquinone is associated with long-term unwanted side effects and possible health risks. Therefore creams with this substance are not recommended.

2 – Kojic Acid
Although similarly effective as hydroquinone, Kojic acid can better be avoided since it makes skin more sensitive and may cause irritation.

Recent long-term Japanese studies have shown that kojic acid has the potential for causing contact dermatitis and erythema (skin irritation and redness).

3 – Liquorice Extract

This ingredient is both safe and effective. This natural substance has a powerful anti-inflammatory action that increases renewal of the skin. Both licorice and vitamin C will hinder tyrosinase, which is an enzyme that causes changes in skin-color when it’s exposed to sun or is injured. Licorice will increase the scar lightening effects of vitamin C.

4 – Vitamin C

This ingredient will effectively lighten pigmentation when it has a 10 percent or more concentration. It also enhances healthy collagen production, which is why it’s so beneficial to scar removal.

Important note: vitamin C has a stability issue. The majority of skin care products with vitamin C are not stable and will turn a brownish color after the container has been opened. When this occurs, it means the vitamin C has oxidized and won’t work anymore. Don’t use manufacturers who promote brown scar products because they add brown coloring to hide the oxidation.

 

A High Quality Cream For Scar Lightening

 

A quality product that is recommended by an increasing amount of medical professionals such as plastic surgeons is InviCible scar cream. It contains the aforementioned safe ingredients and has no preservatives, fragrances, hydroquinone, kojic acid, petroleum, mineral oil, or alcohol.

An impressive 94% of users reported high satisfaction with InviCible and rate their results as “good”, “very good”, or “excellent”.

Learn more in this InviCible Scars review.

 

Active vs. Base Ingredients: Their Importance In Creams For Scar Lightening

 

In order to make optimal use of the potency of the active ingredients, manufacturers must take delicate care during product development. After all, air and light can have a substantial negative effect on substances such as Kojic Acid.

It’s important to understand that base ingredients along with active ingredients are essential. Thus, you need to pick the right carriers and liposomes to make sure the active ingredients are deeply absorbed into the skin. Therefore it is recommended to closely watch the label and pick a reputable brand.

The best cream for scar lightening is hypoallergenic which means it is free from fragrances and preservatives (such as parabens) because they act as skin irritants.

How Long Does It Take To Lighten My Scars?

 

The majority of scar lightening creams will not work overnight. Rather, they’ll take a bit of time to see any difference. Be sure to follow all instructions and apply the amount as specified to ensure you get the best results. Within a couple of months, you won’t notice your scars near as much.

When you use a pure lightening cream, you should be aware that the ingredients it contains won’t even out the scar’s roughness. If you’re looking for even skin tones and want to be rid of the scar redness, you’ll need to find a lightening cream that can smooth the skin as well. The designated cream to accomplish this contains silicones.

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Scar Cream For Kids

drawing by gustavorezende

drawing by gustavorezende

Kids, with their unbridled energy and underdeveloped fine motor skills, scar easily.

The best cream to use not only has to work but should be convenient as well. It should not sting or cause pain, be stainless, and stay on or be absorbed well.

But first of all it should work because let’s be honest, if it doesn’t, what does it matter if the ointment has a kid-friendly scent? (Which actually is a commonly used marketing phrase.)

So what does work? Silicone gel (Dimethicone) does. It reduces pain, itchiness, smoothes and flattens scars, and reduces redness. But it does more.

Silicones also prevent hypertrophic and keloid scars from developing. These commonly occurring abnormal healing responses are especially common in young people.

Claims about effectiveness are backed by scientific reports (1). See the links below.


Silicone Scar Cream For Kids

There’s an abundance of silicone cream brands on the market nowadays. The most popular are probably Kelo-cote and ScarAway serum.

These creams are safe (FDA reviewed and approved) and convenient to use because they dry to a very thin, transparent occlusive film. Also important, there are no side effects involved.

“Since it is painless and has no side effects, it makes it perfect for use on children,” says Dr. Laurie J. Polis, director of the SoHo Skin and Laser Dermatology Group in New York City and adviser to ReJuveness.


Here’s some additional advice regarding the treatment of your kids scars.

Use Sunblock

Preventing damaging UV radiation by sunshine is very important since this will worsen scars. Scar tissue not only pigments differently but it will heal far less nicely when exposed to the sun.

Make sure to put sunblock on it and the surrounding skin as long as the scar hasn’t healed completely. This may take up to two years.

Massage

Lightly massaging scar tissue and the surrounding skin will increase blood circulation. This seems to improve cosmetic appearance.

It is for the same reason that areas that have higher blood circulation (e.g. the face) tend to scar less and/or heal quicker. Using a moisturizing ointment can be pleasant for it reduces discomfort while massaging but is not necessary.



And some info on persistent myths.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E oil is generally accepted to reduce scar appearance but the opposite appears to be true. It doesn’t work but may actually aggravate scars. Well-educated pediatricians dissuade using vitamin E topically on scars. (2)

Studies show that up to 33% of users develop a skin irritation to vitamin E (itching, redness, and flaking).

Mederma

Probably one of the most well-known children’s scar products is Mederma Skin Care For Scars For Kids. Although cleverly marketed with such a brand name and the statement that it’s pediatrician-recommended, its effectiveness isn’t particularly clear. Its main active ingredient is onion extract of which experts say (based on studies) that when price-value is taken in account you are better off using petroleum jelly. Read this extensive Mederma review to learn more about what studies conclude about its active ingredient.


Conclusion; Use A Silicone Cream For Your Kids Scar

We all know scars are part of life but minimizing their appearance has various benefits. Your child will feel less self-conscious about it, pain and itch are reduced, and, in case of problematic scars movement restriction is avoided. Although their prominence can be reduced most scars will never disappear completely.

Silicone gel applied from a tube forms a thin flexible sheet over the newly epithelialized (healed) wound or more mature scar. (3)



References

1. Topical silicone gel for the prevention and treatment of hypertrophic scar. Source: PubMed.
2. Vitamin E for treating children’s scars. Does it help reduce scarring? Source: Official Publication of the College of Family Physician of Canada.
3. Evolution of silicone therapy and mechanism of action in scar management. Source: PubMed.

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Silicone Cream For Scars

silicone cream for scars

silicone cream for scarsSilicone cream for scars is the only working over-the-counter product that is backed by science.

Since it’s introduction in 1982 various studies have validated claims made by manufacturers on its effectiveness. (Links to research abstracts at the bottom of this article.)

What Exactly Is In These Silicone Creams?

There are numerous formulations available on the consumer market. Creams, gels, and ointments that entirely consist of silicones as well as products that have additional ingredients in them.

The silicones are so called polydimethylsiloxone polymers, also referred to as dimethicones and are reviewed and approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration).


Do They Work On All Types Of Scar Tissue?

No unfortunately they don’t. Silicones work mostly on hypertrophic (enlarged) scars. These are scars that are raised, discolored, may itch or be painful. They are the result of an overproduction of collagen. Most commonly caused by injuries, burns, or surgery.

Sometimes keloids (overgrown) may be reduced with silicone cream as well. There is however a much lower success rate since keloids are very hard to get rid of.

A major benefit of silicones is that they prevent development of such excessive scar tissue when used in an early stage. Application should most ideally be started as soon as the wound has healed.


How Will They Improve My Scar?

Research as well as a few decades of user experiences have demonstrated that silicone cream for scars:

  • reduces scar redness
  • flattens raised scars
  • makes scars softer and more elastic (pliable)
  • relieves pain and itching
  • actually works on diminishing and preventing hypertrophic scars
  • prevents keloids from developing and may help getting rid of keloids


Since its introduction in 1982, topical silicone gel sheeting and ointment have been used widely to minimize the size, induration, erythema, pruritus, and extensibility of pre-existing hypertrophic scars and to prevent the formation of new ones. (1)


How Does Silicone Cream For Scars Work?

Once the ointment is applied (generally from a tube) it takes a few minutes maximum to dry after which it forms a thin film over the just healed wound or older scar. This (semi-)occlusive cover has an extensibility similar to that of skin.

How it exactly works is not entirely clear but it is hypothesized that this occlusion provided by the thin film increases hydration in the skin.

Silicones have an evaporative water loss almost half that of skin and have been compared with the stratum corneum. (1)

The silicones are thought to mimic the occlusive barrier function of healthy skin. This is important since damaged skin tends to lose water more easily. On its turn this hydration affects the epidermal and dermal cell behavior.

Most researchers believe that silicone acts by creating a hydrated, occluded environment that decreases capillary activity, thereby reducing fibroblast-induced collagen deposition and scar hypertrophy. (1)


References

1. Topical treatments for hypertrophic scars. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology – Volume 55, Issue 6 (December 2006)

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Cream For Scar

When you type in ‘cream for scar’ in Google you’ll most likely get confused by the results. There are so many viewpoints on the wide range of available products and they all seem to contradict each other.

So which cream for scar treatment is the best?

Many people think vitamin E capsules will do the job. Others are convinced Mederma works wonders. And yet others seem to know cocoa butter will improve their unwanted skin marks. However, there is no evidence supporting these claims.

Misunderstanding regarding this subject is ubiquitous not only among consumers. Amazingly, still too many medical professionals do not exactly know what works and what doesn’t. ( I learned this when I was in search for a working cream myself)

Studies
Therefore it is wise to look at what medical science has to say. By trying various creams I noticed that hardly any product actually works. By reading study abstracts, clinical trial reports, asking dermatologists, and having contacted cosmetic surgeons I learned that some do work.

Read on to find out which ones. Links to studies demonstrating their effectiveness are added at the end of this article.

Important remark; scars are almost always permanent and will never disappear completely but often they can be improved.

Also essential to note is that the type of scar determines which approach is most appropriate. Acne scars, often indented, need another type of treatment then surgical scars which generally are elevated.

 

What Makes A Cream For Scars Effective?

Raised Scars
Raised scars are characterized by excessive scar tissue creation which is a result of an unbalanced reaction of the body. It creates an overkill of connective tissue to repair the injured skin. They are also referred to as hypertrophic or keloids.

Hydration
Research shows that hydration is beneficial so the cream should do that. Damaged skin loses water more rapidly then healthy skin.

 

Hydration is believed to reduce water vapor loss and to restore homeostasis to the scar.(1)

 

But hydration alone isn’t enough. Moisturizing with an ointment may be a good thing to do but that alone will not make much of a difference.

Silicones
Silicone gel sheets and creams not only work (on raised and discolored scars), they are backed by science as well.

There are several independent studies demonstrating silicone gel sheets and creams to be effective in preventing abnormal scarring (hypertrophic and keloid) as well as minimizing the severity of such scars. They flatten, soften, tone down abnormal color, and reduce pain and itch.

 

We concluded that topical silicone gel is efficacious, both in the prevention and in the treatment of hypertrophic scar. (2)

 

How Silicones (Are Thought To) Work
At first researchers thought the mechanism of action behind silicones was pressure or increased temperature but this did not seem to be the case. Currently, most scientists agree that hydration is what makes silicones effective.

How exactly they work remains unclear. Another, theorized, benefit of silicones is that sheets, and in lesser degree, gels take tension off the wound which is a known stimulant of scarring. Early use shows to have the best results.

Most silicone-based over-the-counter topicals do not work for depressed scars but flatten raised scars and help with discoloration.

 

What Cream For Scars That Are Depressed?

Sunken Scars
Atrophic scars are sunken, depressed, skin lesions. When caused by acne they may have a pitted appearance. They can also be the result of chickenpox, infections such as staphylococcus or MRSA, accidents or surgery.

For these skin marks it is harder to determine one certain type of cream that is effective.

The American Academy of Dermatology says that over-the-counter creams may help in some cases. What they might do is reduce the appearance of not so deep, round-shaped depressed acne scars, reduce discolored skin after acne has healed.

The AAD advises to look for certain ingredients in a product. These include retinol, glycolic acid, or vitamin C. These are substances that stimulate new collagen production in the skin.

Sunken scars that do not improve after using an over-the-counter product are generally treated with fillers, chemical peels, subcision, (micro)dermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing, and surgeries. Ask a dermatologist to find out what’s your best option.

 

How Your Scar Will Look Depends On Several Things:

 

  • The size and depth of the wound
  • How well the wound is taken care of and how long it takes to heal
  • The type of wound. e.g. surgical, scrape, laceration, burn, etc.
  • Where the scar is. (scars on the hands or face commonly to heal better)
  • Inherited tendency to scar. This is influenced by lifestyle, age, race (black and Asian people tend to scar more easily) and genetics.
  • What you do to minimize it. Things you can do are using a good cream for scar treatment, eating healthy, not smoking, exercising (moderately) which stimulates blood flow, preventing to overstretch it.

 

Manuka Honey For Scars?


There is no evidence this special honey aids scar healing but it is proven to speed wound healing. It fights and prevents infections, clears dead tissue, reduces swelling (inflammation), stimulates new tissue growth, and minimizes scarring.

Burns treated with honey healed sooner than those treated with conventional methods and that scarring was reduced – only 6.2 percent of the 450 patients treated ended up with scars compared to 19.7 percent of the same number of patients who got conventional treatment. (4)

Some experts suspect it to help existing scars as well. Especially manuka honey’s outstanding moisturizing properties may be very beneficial.

Silicone gel has the most data behind it as an efficacious topical, over-the-counter treatment option for scars, and is an option for patients who want something they can buy themselves. Also, there is probably not any harm, and possibly some benefit, to rubbing honey onto healing wounds and scars.

(5)

 
References
1. source: patentstorm.us

2. Topical silicone gel for the prevention and treatment of hypertrophic scar. PubMed.gov

3. Evolution of silicone therapy and mechanism of action in scar management. PubMed.gov

4. A study from India published in the March, 1996, Annals of Burns and Fire Disasters.

5. As stated by Dr. Taylor, M.D., M.P.H and a dermatology clinical research fellow at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C. SkinandAging.com
 

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Silicone Gel Cream vs. Silicone Sheets, Which Is Better For Scars?

There’s no real consensus on whether or not silicone gel ointments are just as effective as silicone sheeting. There’s (at least) one study demonstrating superiority of creams. However, some studies conclude they are equally beneficial where others indicate sheeting to be superior.

Controversy About Silicone Gel Ointments vs. Sheets
There’s some dispute as to whether ointments or sheets are more effective. Fact is that a silicone cream is more convenient and suitable for exposed areas.

Study concluding silicone sheeting is more effective:

Currently, the most accepted treatment for old andnew hypertrophic scars is silicone gel sheeting. Silicone ointment or gel alone, however, is less effective than silicone sheeting.
Topical Treatments for Hypertrophic Scars. Zurada, Kriegel, Davis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2006;55:1024-1031.

Study stating they are equally effective:

Results from clinical trials and clinical experience suggest that silicone gel is equivalent in efficacy to traditional silicone gel sheeting but easier to use.
Mustoe TA. Evolution of silicone therapy and mechanism of action in scar management. Aesth Plast Surg 2008;32:82–92. (source: PubMed)

Study showing that combining both methods works better than a cream alone:

Interestingly, the use of silicone cream alone compared with silicone cream with occlusive dressing showed 22% and 82% scar improvement, respectively, with respect to erythema, tenderness, pruritus, and hardness.[6] These results supported that occlusion may be synergistic in wound healing and suggested that silicone gel alone may not be as effective as silicone sheeting. top treatments hpyertro scars 2.pdf 6. Sawada Y., Sone K.: Treatment of scars and keloids with a cream containing silicone oil. Br J Plast Surg 43. 6683-6688.1990;

These results support that occlusion may be synergistic in wound healing and suggested that silicone gel alone may not be as effective as silicone sheeting.

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