“Does Mederma work on acne scars?”
I ask myself this question almost every day as I apply this gel onto my keloid scars.
If you have acne scars, you might be wondering the same. After all, Mederma is one of the most popular acne scar treatments. It’s affordable, easy to apply, and widely available in stores and online.
I did a full review of Mederma a little while back, including an analysis of the active ingredients and medical literature.
Despite thousands of customer reviews and decades of research, there’s still no consensus on whether Mederma works.
It’s a surprisingly controversial topic where some people will swear by it while others will tell you it’s a waste of money.
To settle this debate once and for all, I decided to test Mederma on my own scars. I have a few keloid scars on my chest that have been there for at least 5 years.
I have tried Mederma in the past but with no real success. This time, however, I’m going to use it twice a day and stick with it for at least 3-6 months (the recommended time for old scars).
Through the magic of editing, it’s now been over 3 months… so was there any improvement in my keloid scars?
- Softens existing scars
- Reduces discoloration
- Thousands of reviews
- Inconclusive clinical studies
- Results require patience
- May cause itchiness, irritation, or redness
Mederma Before and After
Here are my before and after photos for reference.
My Experience With Mederma (At 3 Months)
In short, Mederma definitely works!
After using it twice a day for over 3 months, my keloid scars feel much softer and appear slightly less discolored than before.
The overall improvement was rather modest. But I was still impressed as I’ve had these scars for at least 5 years now.
The biggest difference was in the texture of my keloid scars. They feel much softer and closer to “normal skin” compared to before.
If you have raised scars like keloids or hypertrophic scars, you know how they can get hard and lumpy like little knots (this is caused by excess collagen fibers).
After 3 months, Mederma did a great job of loosening these “collagen knots” and softening the overall scar tissue.
I’m excited to keep using Mederma for another 3 months and post the updated progress then!
Now before you rush out to buy a tube of Mederma, you should consider the following:
(1) Mederma only works on raised scars.
Mederma is not intended for atrophic (depressed) scars like ice pick, boxcar, or rolling scars. These types of acne scars require additional collagen to “fill in” the holes left behind by inflammatory acne.
Since Mederma doesn’t stimulate collagen, it won’t help much with atrophic scars. I think this is why many people are unhappy with Mederma – because they’re using it for the wrong types of scars.
To be fair, the manufacturer is partly to blame here. They claim that Mederma works for “many types of scars, including acne scars…” without stating the specific type of acne scars.
(2) Mederma requires great patience.
Scars can take a long time to heal, ranging from several months to a few years. Mederma is NOT an overnight fix.
In my case, the overall improvements after 3 months were very subtle. The company recommends using Mederma for at least 8 weeks for new scars and 3-6 months for old scars.
If you can’t wait that long, you should speak to your dermatologist about other options. For example, intralesional corticosteroid injections are an excellent in-office procedure for flattening raised scars.
(3) Side effects include itchiness, dry skin, and skin darkening
Most people will experience minimal side effects with Mederma.
For me, I noticed an occasional itchy feeling, usually after showering. I also noticed that my skin was getting drier after a month or two. This was easily fixed by applying a hyaluronic acid serum before using Mederma to keep the scar hydrated.
The last side effect that I experienced was a slight darkening of the skin around my scars. I believe this is temporary and will resolve itself when I stop using Mederma.
How Does Mederma Work?
The following is a summary from my full review of Mederma.
The primary ingredient in Mederma is Cepalin (onion extract), which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies show that onion extract can reduce collagen levels, which prevents new scars and softens existing ones.
Mederma also contains:
Mederma is an excellent choice for treating raised acne scars. It is NOT an overnight fix.
If you are patient and can stick with it, I strongly recommend giving Mederma a(nother) chance!