Most people have a scar. However, you may not need to live with yours as there are a large number of products that claim to minimize them.
Scars form when the dermis – the deeper layer of skin – is damaged and the body produces collagen to try to heal it.
During normal skin regeneration, collagen fibers are laid out in a neat, criss-cross pattern, but sometimes an injury can cause too much collagen to be produced. This leads to large bundles of the protein being incorrectly applied, causing scarring.
To find out which products can help reduce scars, we spoke to two advisory dermatologists – Dr. Ophelia Veraitch, of University College London Hospital and the Cranley Clinic on Harley Street, and Dr. Alia Ahmed, of the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust and the London Eudelo clinic. They rated a selection, which we then rated …
Most people have a scar. However, you may not need to live with yours as there are a large number of products that claim to minimize them [File photo]
Fast healing gel
Savlon Advanced Healing Gel, £ 4 for 50g, sainsburys.co.uk
Claim: This “promotes faster healing” and “helps reduce the chance of scars,” says the maker.
It contains a hydrocolloid, which can absorb excess fluid from a wound as well as prevent it from drying out too much. Apply it twice a day on superficial burns or minor wounds such as cuts and abrasions.
Expert opinion: “A moist environment promotes blood vessel formation and the breakdown of blood clots, which is good for healing,” says Dr. Ahmed.
The hydrocolloid in this gel should help create this ideal setting. If a wound heals faster, there is less chance of infection, resulting in a neater scar.
“But while this gel is useful for initial wound healing, it wouldn’t help older scars.”
Savlon Advanced Healing Gel
Scar Gone Scar Treatment Kit, £ 36.99, stressnomore.co.uk
Claim: This battery-powered vibrating palm-sized gadget with three detachable heads – a flat one to relax scar tissue, a cone to relieve tightness and pain, and a dome to stimulate cell repair – is designed to improve the appearance of a scar.
It comes with a container of 50 ml honey and beeswax scars remover to massage into the skin.
Use both three times a day and massage for about ten minutes at a time, for six weeks or so.
Expert opinion: “ Patients are often advised to hydrate and massage scars postoperatively to improve healing, ” says Dr. Ahmed.
Massage increases blood flow and pliability of the scar, and this tool may be helpful.
The massage doesn’t have to be powerful, but it should be used under the guidance of a scar specialist, who can tell you which of the heads is best for you.
“As for creams, as long as they moisturize, there is no evidence that one ingredient is superior to another.”
Scar disappeared Scar treatment set
Kelo-Cote silicone scar gel
Kelo-Cote silicone scar gel, £ 21.99 for 15g, chemistconnect.com
Claim: This silicone gel cures into a waterproof layer, which, according to the maker, lasts ’12 hours and will soften and crush scars’.
Kelo-Cote says it’s ideal for scars from trauma, surgery, and burns, but not open wounds. Apply twice a day for a minimum of 60 days.
Expert opinion: “I routinely use such silicone gels in my patients,” says Dr. Veraitch.
“There is good evidence that they can help reduce scars, but the precise mechanism by which they do this is poorly understood.
It appears that the barrier created reduces water loss from the top layer of the skin, which helps normalize collagen production in the healing process. This makes the scar flatter and more flexible and less discolored.
“Using this early would be more effective than using it many years after a scar started.
“I wouldn’t recommend applying this to atrophic scars [indents such as those caused by acne or chicken pox] because these silicone gels are best for flattening a scar. ‘
Does stretch mark oil make smooth scars?
Bio-Oil, £ 9.99 for 60ml, boots.com
Claim: It is said to improve the appearance of scars, stretch marks and uneven skin tone.
A placebo-controlled study in 2010 found that 93 percent of users saw their scars improve for eight weeks, while 100 percent said the same about their stretch marks.
Expert opinion: “Stretch marks are caused by rapid growth or weight loss, which usually darken in color and fade over time,” says Dr. Veraitch.
“It takes about 18 months for a scar to renew – the collagen fibers align more evenly, making the scar thinner, flatter and paler. A daily massage during this period will smooth out imperfections.
“The product can perform this massage more easily, but there is little evidence that it is more effective than petroleum jelly.”
Electric microneedling derma pen, £ 32.98, amazon.co.uk
Claim: This stylus pen comes with spring-loaded tips, four of which have 12 needles and one with a cluster of 36.
It is intended to treat existing scars, such as stretch marks and those from surgery and acne.
The maker claims that microneedling six times over a three-week period, for four minutes per session, can stimulate collagen production to make the skin more supple.
Electric micro needle dermapen
Expert opinion: “Microneedling has been successfully used in dermatology to treat mild to moderate acne scars, but not more serious scars,” said Dr. Ahmed.
The theory is that the needle action triggers a release of growth factors and promotes collagen production, which regenerates the skin.
However, this is a specialized treatment and I would be afraid that a lay person could damage his skin. If you are interested in needling, which is not normally available on the NHS, see a dermatologist. ‘
Hansaplast scar reduction
Hansaplast scar reducer, £ 30 for 21 plasters, boots.com
Claim: The flexible, transparent patches can be cut to size to cover a scar after the wound has closed completely.
Once the patch is in place, it applies pressure as well as retains heat. According to the clinical studies referenced by the maker, this increases blood flow to the scar to “support connective tissue restructuring” during healing.
The maker says you will see noticeable results within four weeks. You should wear the patch for at least 12 hours a day and change it daily.
Expert opinion: “This type of product came into its own in five separate clinical studies,” said Dr. Ahmed.
“I’m not surprised, because there is a lot of well-documented evidence that suggests that a moist and warm environment – around 37c body temperature – has a positive effect on healing.
“Keeping the wound moist will help prevent dehydration, which would slow down the healing process. It also improves blood vessel formation and collagen production, as well as improving the breakdown of dead tissue and clots, resulting in a neater looking scar. ‘
Science Of Skin Scar Solution, £ 18.99 for 30ml, scienceofskin.com
Claim: This cream contains an active green tea extract that, according to the maker, shrinks old and new abnormal scars.
A study from the University of Manchester, which was funded independently but involving the company’s two founders, found that the cream reduced the thickness of scars by 20 percent in four to six weeks.
Science of skin solution for scars
The study, published last year in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, also found that scar redness was reduced by 40 percent.
Expert opinion: ‘The study had a good methodology and 62 volunteers were used, each having a biopsy taken from their upper arm. This left a small scar. Half had the solution with the extract in it, the other half did not, “says Dr. Ahmed.
But the existing studies should include longer-term follow-ups to see if the effects last.
Broadly speaking, the mechanism of this solution makes sense. Green tea extract inhibits mast cell activity – part of the inflammatory response – reducing the scarring. ‘
Vacuum cupping set, £ 20.89, amazon.co.uk
Claim: These five tempered glass cups each have a different size, for use on different scars.
When a cup is placed over the scar and the rubber handle is compressed, air is pushed out. This creates a vacuum and the skin is gently pressed.
The theory behind this treatment is that suction increases blood flow under the skin, breaking down the thickened scar tissue.
Expert opinion: “There is little evidence for that. I don’t see a situation where these cups can be useful, “says Dr. Veraitch.
Because they are made of glass, it can be dangerous if they crack or break and even damage the skin. This is a waste of money. ‘
Vacuum cupping set