In this post, I provide the facts on Bio-Oil vs Mederma, including key ingredients, clinical studies, customer reviews, and my personal experience.
For "high risk scars" like hypertrophic scars, keloids, surgery scars, and acne scars, the gold standard is a silicone gel like Aroamas (silicone is safe and clinically proven).
✅ Best For: Dry Skin
✅ Key Ingredient: Mineral Oil
✅ Application: 2x Daily
❌ Clinical Evidence: Low
✅ Side Effects: None
✅ Reviews: 83,000+
✅ Price/Value: Very Good
✅ Best For: Low Risk Scars
✅ Key Ingredient: Onion Extract
✅ Application: 1x Daily
⚠️ Clinical Evidence: Mixed
❌ Side Effects: Itchiness, Redness
✅ Reviews: 16,000+
✅ Price/Value: Very Good
Here's a good analogy:
That's because silicone is safe, supported by decades of clinical studies, and recommended by leading dermatologists in the International Clinical Recommendations on Scar Management.
P.S. I've personally tried almost every silicone gel on the market, including ScarAway, Kelo-Cote, NewGel+, Hiruscar, Strataderm, and Azally. Check out my full review here.
❌ Stretch Marks
❌ Uneven Skin Tone
✅ Dry Skin
✅ Aging Skin
⭐ Mineral Oil
⭐ Sunflower Seed Oil
⭐ Lavender Oil
⭐ Chamomile Oil
⭐ Rosemary Oil
⭐ Calendula Oil
⭐ Vitamin A and E
👍 2x Daily Application
👍 Light Oil Consistency
With an astounding 83,000+ reviews, Bio-Oil has become one of the most popular skincare products in history.
But does Bio-Oil really work? 🤔
Well, I've personally used Bio-Oil on my scars in the past, reviewed the clinical studies from this company, and examined the relevant medical literature on scars and stretch marks, to help you answer this question.
In short, use Bio-Oil on dry and aging skin only.
As I'll explain later, the clinical evidence for scar treatment and stretch marks remains very low. That's why Bio-Oil is better suited as an emollient for dehydrated skin.
Mineral oil, a purified oil derived from petroleum, is the main ingredient (this explains why Bio-Oil is so cheap).
Contrary to popular belief, purified mineral oil is a safe and effective moisturizing agent, just like Vaseline.
Next, Bio-Oil uses a blend of plant and essential oils, including chamomile, rosemary, calendula, and lavender, to help nourish and hydrate your skin barrier.
Finally, PurCellin Oil, the company's "breakthrough ingredient", is actually a synthetic ester called cetearyl ethylhexanoate that's very commonly used to reduce a formula's consistency. (source: Dr. Steve Humphries)
Based on my review of the key ingredients, there's nothing special about Bio-Oil that would support its advertised effectiveness for scars, stretch marks, or uneven skin tone.
In short, Bio-Oil is a mineral oil blended with plant and essential oils plus a viscosity adjuster.
Now, let's discuss the clinical trials provided by the manufacturer:
All studies (except #2) focused on Bio-Oil's effectiveness for reducing scars and stretch marks. However, I found a number of problems with these studies:
Perhaps in response to these types of criticisms, Bio-Oil authorized a second study at the proDERM Institute for Applied Dermatological Research in Hamburg, Germany.
In this study, 80 volunteers with non-hypertrophic scars and stretch marks applied Bio-Oil on treatment scars for 8 weeks (with no treatment on control scars).
Here were the final results after 8 weeks:
Overall, Bio-Oil only produced a small improvement in scar scores (5% and 14%) compared to a control of no treatment (the lowest performance benchmark).
In addition, here's how patients responded to a follow-up questionnaire (% who agreed):
Most patients agreed that Bio-Oil provided a hydrating effect but only 51% believed it improved their scars or stretch marks, while 17% actually said Bio-Oil had no effect at all!
Finally, here's my personal opinion of Bio-Oil based on 3+ months of usage:
My Verdict: All things considered (the key ingredients, clinical studies, and my own experience), I recommend using Bio-Oil for dry skin only because there's insufficient scientific evidence to support its advertised effectiveness for scars and stretch marks.
If you're looking for a scar treatment, keep reading as I'll review Mederma in the next section.Shop Now
❌ High Risk Scars
✅ Low Risk Scars
✅ Mild Burns
✅ Cuts & Scrapes
✅ Minor Injuries
⭐ Onion Bulb Extract
⭐ Hyaluronic Acid
👍 1x Daily Application
👍 Gel Texture
👍 Mild Fragrance
🕓 4-8 Weeks (New Scars)
🕓 3-6 Months (Old Scars)
With 16,000+ reviews, there's definitely no question that Mederma is the most popular scar treatment (currently the #1 Bestseller in Scar Reducing Treatments).
But does Mederma really work on scars? 🤔
Before I provide you the answer, let me first tell you that I've personally used Mederma for 6+ months, reviewed the original clinical study in 2012 by Dr. Draelos, and consulted the medical literature on scar treatment.
In addition, I'd like you to keep in mind that everyone scars and heals differently, as genetics play a key role in how your body recovers from a wound.
For example, people with a family history of keloids are more likely to develop keloids themselves (1/3 of people with keloids have a first-degree relative with keloids).
In short, use Mederma on "low risk" scars only.
Low risk scars are defined in the International Clinical Recommendations on Scar Management as:
In other words, I recommend using Mederma for less serious wounds, such as mild burns, cuts & scrapes, bruises & accidents, and other minor injuries.
That's because the key ingredient in Mederma Advanced Scar Gel is onion bulb extract (a.k.a. Cepalin in Mederma's marketing materials and allium cepa in the ingredient list).
According to the 2014 International Clinical Recommendations on Scar Management (Part 2), a highly influential research paper authored by the world's leading experts on scar treatment, there's conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of onion extract for scars.
Some studies showed positive evidence, like the original clinical trial by Draelos et al. (2012) that was sponsored by Merz Pharmaceuticals (the parent company of Mederma).
In short, this study found a statistically significant difference in scar appearance between Mederma-treated scars (test group) and non-treated scars (control group) after 4-8 weeks.
However, there's a number of major flaws with this study:
Other studies found that onion extract was no better than similar topical treatments but resulted in more frequent side effects (itchiness, redness) that caused patients to stop using it. (source: International Wound Journal, 2021)
In addition, many studies used multiple active ingredients in their formulations which made it more difficult to isolate the effects of onion extract. (source: Dermatologic Surgery, 2014)
Finally, here's my personal opinion of Mederma Advanced Scar Gel based on 6+ months of using it on my chest keloids:
My Verdict: Taking into account the key ingredients, clinical studies, and my own experience, I recommend Mederma Advanced Scar Gel for low risk scars as the medical evidence is mixed. Mederma may help minimize scars from minor injuries and accelerate the recovery process.Shop Now