According to the general public many scar products are thought to be effective. In fact many of these premises are incorrect. For more information on these so called effective remedies check out the myths page. Products that do work, and are clinically proven to work, are mentioned here.
Silicone Gel Sheets
These are self-adhesive sheets, patches, pads, or strips made of dimethicone silicone gel. There are some assumptions on their action but it remains unclear how they exactly work.
Topical use of silicone gel is referred to as ‘the golden standard in scar treatment’ by many cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists. But there are more tangible indications for silicones being the best over-the-counter scar treatment product at the moment.
Clinical studies have proven silicone gel sheeting to be safe and superior to other occlusive dressings like polyethylene or polyurethane as well as other scar treatment products. In my opinion the best sheets are made by ScarAway .
Silicone Gel Ointments
These are in fact silicone creams. Some brands are Kelo-cote, Zeraderm, Dermatix, ScarZone, Derma E, ScarFade, Rejuvasil, and ScarAway.
The big advantage the creams have over sheets is that they are far more convenient. They are sort of glued onto the scar tissue whereas the sheets, however self-adhesive, tend to let loose because of their weight.
Silicone gel creams are also far less noticeable which makes them more suitable for use out in the public. But a major disadvantage is the fact that the liquid version of silicone gel sheets is not as effective as sheeting. Although somewhat less effective than sheets they have shown to be effective. My suggestion would be to use the sheets overnight and if possible the cream in addition during daytime.
Silicone creams with safe lightening agents
Admitted, silicones do fade the redness of hypertrophic scars. But for dark, often older scars, such as those caused by acne they might not work as well. In these cases you might want to use something with additional brightening ingredients. Various ingredients that lighten darks scars (e.g. from acne) exist. A lot of them are known to have side effects. A cream that contains both silicones as well as stable vitamin C and liquorice, which are two proven effective and safe substances, is made by InviCible Scars
Moisturizing Scar Creams
Hydration seems to be very beneficial to improving scar appearance. Hydration is also one of the suggestions why silicone sheets are effective.
“We have found that the provision of support and hydration and especially in addition with an enhanced wound healing constituent acts together to provide surprisingly improved scar management and maturation”
None of the research done has shown any special, dedicated scar cream to have benefits over petroleum based creams (e.g. Vaseline). In fact the petroleum ointment used as a control factor in one study showed to have useful hydrating properties. That’s why, in my opinion, petroleum jelly / Vaseline might be considered one of the best moisturizing scar creams at the moment.
Another product renowned for its moisturizing action is manuka honey or manuka honey cream. This type of honey is also a very powerful, clinically proven effective wound care agent without side effects. There are scientists who think it might work on scars as well. This has yet to be seen because no studies on this particular subject have been done.
Heat packs, Paraffin wax
Since an increased temperature in scar tissue has shown to improve its appearance heat application might be beneficiary. Heat packs and paraffin wax are common products used to implement heat application.
“Increased temperature, even by 1°C, will significantly increase collagenolysis* and scar maturation, thus the use of heating as a treatment modality.” Source: Rehabpup
* Collagenolysis is the process of disbanding of excessive scar tissue often responsible for unsightly scars.
Manuka Honey for Wound Care
Optimal scar treatment starts with efficient wound care. Manuka honey and products containing this powerful natural product have shown to be very beneficial to wound healing. Its anti-inflammatory properties are the most likely explanation for the reduction in hypertrophic scarring observed in wounds that were dressed with honey. Source: Ostomy Wound Management
Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) for Wound Care
There is proof this herbal ingredient is able to boost wound healing and wound strenght. Whether it is actually helpful in treating scars remains to be seen. Its many medicinal properties sound promising though.
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