Scar Treatment

How do scar care products work?

Reviewed on: 01.11.2022
5 min read

Scar care products work in a variety of ways to help 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.

Read on to find out more about how scar care 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

In this article:

  • How do scar creams and scar gels 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 improve the appearance of scars.
  • Things to remember
  • References

How do scar creams and scar gels work?

Scar creams and scar gels 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

After healing, some scar care products also 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

One of the ways to help prevent scarring is to keep freshly healed skin moist– 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 is a commonly used ingredient in scar care as it additionally helps to improve the appearance of scars.
Dimethicone is a type of silicone with occlusive and moisturising properties that is frequently used in moisturisers[1].
Panthenol, a vitamin B-5 derivative, locks moisture into the skin, providing elasticity.

Ingredients that soften the skin

Typical skin softening ingredients are urea, alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic, citric, or glycolic acid, and allantoin[2]. These ingredients soften the keratin protein in our skin – which gives our skin its rigidity and holds the outer layer of our skin together.
This helps the skin retain more water and leaves the skin feeling smoother and softer, which reduces the tension and appearance of scar tissue.

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,[3,4] while skin brightening agents, such as vitamin C, directly improve the skin tone[5]. 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. Indeed, it is recommended to protect young scars from the sun for around 18 months[6,7].

Ingredients to help skin remodelling and improve the appearance of scars

Hyaluronic acid has a unique ability to retain water, has anti-oxidative properties.  As a result, it acts as a filler and helps to even out the surrounding skin. It naturally occurs in the body where it is involved in many processes, including wound healing and tissue repair [8,9].

Tripeptides, such as copper peptide, are used in anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, after-sun and skin moisturizer products to improve skin appearance [10] .

Onion extract contains the flavenoids quercetin and kaempferol and has been clinically shown to improve the look and feel of scars [11,12]. It has been clinically shown to improve the look and feel of scars[13].

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Things to remember

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

Ingredients to look out for in your products include:

  • Silicones, petrolatum, lanolin, and mineral oil lock in moisture.
  • Panthenol to condition the skin.
  • 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 which helps reduce the appearance of scars.

Mederma’s unique formula with triple benefits hydrates & conditions the skin, improves skin texture and visibly reduces the redness of scars.


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