How do scar treatments work?
How do scar treatments work? A comparison of the different products on the market
By Dr Ardeshir Bayat, an internationally known wound expert and co-founder of Science of Skin
There are so many scar treatments on the market, that the staggering amount of choice can simply be overwhelming.
As a scientist, my particular interest lies in products which have solid scientific research behind them. As the name, no doubt, suggests, all Science of Skin products have been developed by a team of scientists and are the result of focused research. Put in very simple terms, they work and we can prove it.
The main symptoms often reported by patients suffering from newly formed or persistent symptomatic skin scars include a red inflamed appearance as well as the frequent soreness or itchiness.
This blog will look at how some other popular scar treatments, on the market, actually work to improve the appearance of scars.
Silicone gel/sheeting & Vitamin E
Scarred skin is often very dry.
Silicone gels are in essence inert or inactive but when applied topically, work by covering the top layer of skin and as such retain moisture and hydration, thus preventing skin/scars from drying out. Vitamin E provides a hydrating, moisturising effect, which is thought to soothe the skin. These products tend to work on the upper layers of the skin rather than penetrating deeply. Neither products have an active anti-inflammatory ingredient.
This product is used to reduce the itchiness often associated with scars and healing wounds. As with silicone gel and Vitamin E, it has a hydrating, moisturising effect, although in addition it is considered to have an anti-inflammatory. It also works only on the top surface of the skin.
Green Tea extract
This is one of the key ingredients in our product, Solution for Scars. One of the active ingredients derived from green tea extract is a natural plant phytochemical with anti-inflammatory properties. It has been previously tested and scientifically proven to reduce inflammation and work at a cellular level to improve the symptoms and appearance of scars.
Onion Extract scar gels and creams
It is thought that substances contained within onions, called bioflavenoid and metalloproteinase, could play a role in reducing scars. Although, there is insufficient convincing data regarding their exact role and indication.
Oil-based scar treatments
Oil-based scar treatments, such as Bio-Oil, contain a range of ingredients including vitamins A and E, and lavender, calendula, rosemary and chamomile oils, which all have a moisturising effect on the skin. However, none of these preparations contain an active ingredient that has been shown scientifically and clinically to improve the appearance of scarring and its associated symptoms.
This is an expensive form of scar treatment currently available on the market. While there is some some evidence to suggest that laser treatment can be used to reduce the appearance of scars, further studies are needed about the exact role of different types and benefit (in comparison to the cheaper skin topicals) of lasers in managing newly formed symptomatic scars.
- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390235/ – Accessed January 2016
- Archives of Dermatological Research, A comprehensive evidence-based review on the role of topicals and dressings in the management of skin scarring, Published online: 5 June 2015.
- Accessed January 2015 http://www.bio-oilprofessional.co.uk/clinical-research/
- Accessed January 2015, http://patient.info/doctor/keloid-pro