Scar Treatment

Post-Surgery Scar Cream & Expert Tips

5 min read

Where there’s a wound, there may be a scar and there is almost no surgery without a scar. An ideal surgery would leave no scar, but it often does. Read on to find out more about how to minimize your surgery scars.

  • There are a number of factors that impact the formation and appearance of surgery scars
  • These include location, type of surgery and closure technique
  • Treatment and care of surgery scars begins after the wound has healed

In this article:

  • Surgery scars
  • Treatment for surgical scars

Surgery scars

A surgical incision in the skin always creates a wound. The surgeon will close this wound to the best of his or her ability so that it will heal with minimal scarring.

Apart from the type of wound, its location, and the closure technique used, there are other factors that influence the type of scar you might get from surgery. Some you can influence, such as exposure to the sun or smoking, but others you can’t do anything about, including your age, genetic predispositions, phototype and ethnicity.

Scars are part of your body’s natural healing process. Scar formation after surgery goes through three phases[1]:

    1. Wound closure. In the first phase, which starts immediately after wound closure by the surgeon and lasts for about 1 week, the body initiates wound closure by coagulation.
    2. Scar formation. Over the next 1 to 2 weeks, fibrous tissue is formed by collagen and elastin synthesis, creating a scar that may be red and itchy.
    3. Remodeling. During the final remodeling phase, the lower part of the scar undergoes a healing and remodeling process which ideally replaces the initially disorganized deposited collagen with organized collagen, making the scar paler, softer, and less sensitive.

The scar usually takes on its final appearance after 1 to 2 years. Typical scars after surgery are:

    • Hypertrophic scars, which start to develop during the inflammatory phase after which they rapidly gain volume within the limits of the incision, and
    • Keloid scars, which start to appear about a year after surgery and are sometimes painful or itchy. They are voluminous beyond the surgical incision and commonly appear in areas with thick skin and on darker skin types.[2]

Treatment for surgical scars

Immediately after surgery for 1 to 3 weeks
Immediately after surgery, the wound is usually treated with antibiotics and petroleum jelly to provide an ideal environment for the wound healing process. Moisture protective dressings such as Silicone gel sheeting can also be used to accelerate epithelialization and decrease collagen deposition.[1]

After wound closure (about a week after surgery)
After the wound has closed, your doctor may recommend treatment with a topical scar treatment. This could be Mederma® products or other similar treatments.

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The main objective of topical treatments is to keep the freshly healed skin moist.[3,4]Therefore, topical scar treatments contain heavy moisturizing ingredients.

When returning to daily activities (about 2 to 3 weeks after surgery)
After the initial scar formation period, where a moist environment is most important for treatment, the incisional pain usually subsides, and patients return to normal activities. This means that the scar now needs extra protection against environmental factors, especially sunlight.

The fresh skin on scars is particularly sensitive to the sun, and it is highly recommended that you protect scars from the sun for around 18 months [4,8,9] Antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E, protect the skin from photo damage,[10,11] and a sunscreen protects the scar from sunlight.[3,4]


Using Mederma with surgery scars

All Mederma® scar treatments contain the proprietary ingredient Cepalin® (onion extract). Mederma®’s triple action formulas penetrate beneath the skin where they stimulate collagen production support cell renewal, and lock in moisture. They have been clinically shown to improve the look and feel of scars.[5]

All Mederma® scar treatments for adults contain hyaluronic acid or hydrolyzed collagen, and lecithin and/or glycerin. In addition to its water retention ability, hyaluronic acid has anti-oxidative properties and stimulates collagen production.[6,7]

For scars exposed to the sun, there is Mederma® Scar Cream plus SPF 30, which, in addition to the triple action formula, contains an SPF 30 sunscreen to provide extra protection against the sun.


Whatever post-surgery scar care needs you may have, there is an over-the-counter Mederma® product for you, carefully formulated to target your specific needs, recommended by pediatricians, doctors, pharmacists, dermatologists and plastic surgeons*, and rated among the top 10 in 2020 reviews for scar creams.[12–14]


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