Scar Treatment

How Does Scar Care Work?

5 min read

Scar care products work in a variety of ways to help your scars heal and reduce the visual impact of scarring. We look at how these products work with your skin and what ingredients are used.

  • Scar care products use a variety of ingredients and technologies to reduce the visual impact of scarring
  • Some help skin remodeling
  • They can increase moisture in the skin, improve elasticity, and protect against the sun
  • Mederma’s® unique triple action formula works to visibly fades scars appearance in 8 weeks by locking in moisture[1], in order to renew cells and aid formation of collagen.

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 remodeling and improve the appearance of scars
  • Things to remember

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  remodel the collagen 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

One of the important ways to help your scar heal is to use the right product that provides the proper balance of moisture.

For instance, 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 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 moisturizing properties that is used to promote faster healing and protect the skin during the night and is frequently used in moisturizers [2].

Panthenol, a vitamin B-5 derivative, locks moisture into the skin, providing elasticity while stimulating fibroblast growth, which helps new tissue formation[3]. It has been shown to improve scar appearance[4].

Ingredients that soften the skin

Typical skin softening ingredients are urea, alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic, citric, or glycolic acid, and allantoin[5]. These ingredients exfoliate the skin to 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 listed as tocopherol), protect the skin against photo damage,[6,7] Vitamin C is also a skin brightening agent, and directly improves the skin tone[8]. 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 is advisable as the skin on scars is particularly sensitive to the sun[9]. Indeed, it is highly recommended to protect young scars from the sun for around 18 months[10,11]

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[12,13]. 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[12,14].

Tripeptides, such as copper peptide, possess anti-inflammatory properties and are known to promote skin remodeling[15,16].

Onion extract contains the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, which help to promote collagen production, regulate fibroblast activity, and have soothing, anti-inflammatory properties[17,18].

Mederma® Advanced Scar Gel

  • Unique triple action formula
  • Visibly reduces appearance of scars
  • 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 help stimulate fibroblast growth (for collagen formation) .
  • Urea, allantoin and alpha hydroxy acids to soften the scar.
  • Vitamins A, C and E and rosehip oil to help improve skin tone.
  • Hyaluronic acid, tripeptides and onion extract to smooth skin and reduce the appearance of scars.


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