A scar forms when the layers of tissue beneath the epidermis – which is the outer layer of skin – is damaged by trauma.
As the skin attempts to repair itself, collagen fibers can fuse together in a haphazard fashion which causes the skin to look uneven, pink or reddened.
Because scarring can be very noticeable, the person may become very self conscious about their appearance, and may seek scar treatments to improve how it looks.
There are many types of scar treatment available, and creams are the least invasive method. However, some creams are more effective than others at flattening and softening the appearance of the scar.
Here we look at which creams are the best for reducing scarring by examining which active ingredients have the best likelihood of working.
Mederma is a very popular type of scar treatment cream, which has proven very effective if used consistently for a period of several months. It can be used for a wide variety of scarring, including acne scars, surgical scars and mild to moderate burns.
Its claims to reduce the appearance of scarring have been tested by Columbia University, and it was found that Mederma really can inhibit the production of collagen in the damaged area.
Since overproduction is what often gives a scar its rough or raised appearance, this means the cream can greatly improve how noticeable scarring is when used over a prolonged period.
The cream also contains an onion extract called Cepalin, which has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. If used at an early stage, this is highly effective in keeping a permanent scar from forming.
However, even people with older scarring can benefit from the treatment as the anti-inflammatory action will sooth the redness and make the scar appear less prominent.
Vitamin E is an ingredient used in many types of cream, including scar creams. This is because it promotes healthy, smooth skin with its moisturizing and antioxidant properties.
Unless the scarring is minor, vitamin E alone cannot make a significant improvement in the appearance of a scar, with one exception; burns. If vitamin E gel or cream is applied to a new burn once or twice a day, studies have shown that the resulting scarring is much less prominent.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids are a great ingredient to look for on scar treatments because they are known to encourage the formation of new cells when applied topically. There are many different types of alpha hydroxy acid, and which one best suits your needs will depend on the age and type of scar you have.
Many people who are looking for scar creams are seeking to treat acne scarring. If this applies to you, look for ingredients such as malic, lactic and citric acid.
These help the skin to shed old cells, thereby encouraging new and healthy cells to form in their place. Over several weeks or months, this can dramatically improve the appearance of the skin.
Glycolic acid is another good ingredient to look for on acne scar creams because it weakens the bond between dead skin cells and newly formed skin cells, therefore making the skin’s natural renewal process more rapid.
Scars can differ greatly in appearance. If your main issue is the raised appearance of the scar – which is known as a keloid scar – then search for a good cream which contains silicone gel.
This is particularly effective for flattening rough and raised patches of skin. It is believed that silicone gel reduces how haphazardly the collagen fibers fuse together, so that they instead align in a more healthy and smoother way.
As a result, the skin looks flatter and there should be less hardened fibers where the collagen has formed a criss-cross pattern.
What is the best scar cream for you will depend entirely on the cause of the scar and the type of tissue damage which has occurred. A doctor or a dermatologist may be able to give you advice on how to reduce the appearance of your scar, including which creams are best to use.
When you try a new treatment, remember that there is no such thing as a miracle cure. It can take many months to see the final results, and your scar may never disappear entirely.