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)
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 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 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.
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?
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.
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