Does Mederma Scar Gel Work?

January 20, 2010 by Kristie Leong MD  
Published in Skin

There’s a new product that claims to be helpful for healing scars. Can Mederma Scar Gel really make a scar less prominent?

No one wants to be stuck with a scar – especially if it’s in a visible area such as the face, chest, or arms. Up until now, there have been few treatments that are effective for improving scars with the exception of laser resurfacing. That recently changed when Mederma scar gel was introduced to the market. The manufacturers of this scar reducing product advertise that Mederma can lighten and reduce the appearance of scars without the need for laser treatments. Are these claims too good to be true? Does Mederma scar gel really work?

Mederma Scar Gel: What’s In It?

The active ingredient in Mederma Scar gel is allium cepa which is a fancy name for onion extract. Interest in onion extract was aroused after an animal study showed that applying it to scars might improve their appearance by altering the way collagen is laid down underneath the scar. Unfortunately, subsequent studies – including randomized, double blind trials – failed to show that it was any better than standard petroleum based products such as petroleum jelly.

Why Was Onion Extract Initially Thought to be Effective for Healing Scars?

When the layer of skin called the dermis is injured, skin cells called fibroblasts repair the injury by producing more collagen. Sometimes the fibroblasts produce abnormal or excessive amounts of collagen which causes a scar to form on the surface of the skin. Because onion extract has anti-inflammatory properties, it was hoped that onion extract would reduce the amount of abnormal collagen formed in these scars – making them less raised and visible.

How is It Used?

The gel is applied to the scar three or four times a day. The manufacturers claim that scars will improve after two months of therapy, but that it may take up to six months for scars that are old.

Mederma Scar Gel for Healing Scars

Three clinical studies have shown that Mederma Scar Gel isn’t effective for reducing the appearance of scars. Despite this, some people claim to have experienced significant improvement in the appearance of their scars after using it.

Is It Worth It?

There have been few good studies showing that Mederma or onion extract is effective for healing scars. The cost of a fifty gram tube is around $30.00 which typically lasts around three months – not extremely expensive – if it really worked. There’s also the burden of having to apply it up to four times a day for up to six months which some people might have problems doing.

Mederma Scar Gel: The Bottom Line?

If you’re really concerned about a scar, it may be best to look into laser resurfacing rather than investing in Mederma. Some scars may also improve with use of Retina-A or Renova. These are available by prescription from your doctor. Don’t waste your money on Mederma Scar Gel.

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5 Responses to “Does Mederma Scar Gel Work?”
  1. Jenny Heart Says:

    Thanks for this valuable information.

  2. Lee Ness Says:

    I had a bad cut on head last october and went the CVS pharmacy scar gel treatment cost like $10.00 for a little tube but it seemed to work. I would say it was worth it. My cut was over left eyebrow and pretty deep gash I proabably should of gotten 1 or 2 stiches but did not want the hassel etc…
    Thanks Lee Ness

  3. Amy Says:

    I had a 5 inch scar on my left face made by fingernails… lol. Anyway, I figured the scar would fade away but, after 3 weeks I was getting a little uneasy and doubling my foundation wasn’t the funnest thing to do. I bought Mederma and, I kid you not, the scar was completely gone within 2 weeks. At the time I wished that I’d started on it from day one! It works, it really does!

  4. Billy Bob Says:

    It works, why would you put so much time and money into a surgical procedure when $30 on a tube of this stuff might be just as effective?

    I have 4 deep ice pick scars on my nose and after about a month of applying this stuff it’s gradually flattened out and continues to improve, and these are very old scars. The stuff is worth a try, and it’s not a big gamble with the investment, unlike surgery.

  5. KittieL Says:

    My mom recommend this Scar Serum and the first thing I noticed is that it
    does Not irritate my skin (like Mederma, etc.) !! This was a major plus. It is called the Dr Max Powers Scar Serum, and she ordered it online.

    WOW !!! I discovered that it actually worked !! It has all but made my 10 year old scars disappear !! (With the new scar I couldn’t be sure if it was going away on it’s own, but making the old scars disappear is proof positive that this scar serum does work) !

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