Scar Zone vs Mederma 2019 | What’s Better for Scars?

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Scar Zone vs Mederma

Are you looking for an alternative scar gel to Mederma?

Scar Zone is essentially a duplicate of Mederma at a fraction of the price.

In this post, I’ll show you a full comparison of Scar Zone vs. Mederma.

You’re probably wondering, “So which one is better?”

Well…

The short version is: neither.

You see, onion extract gels like Mederma and Scar Zone are promising, but not yet fully supported by the medical community for scar treatment. (1)

That’s why I prefer silicone gels instead as they are clinically proven and recommended by most dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

My top pick for a silicone gel is NewGel+ (I use it myself).

Related:

Scar Zone vs Mederma

Preview
Best Budget Option
Scar Zone Advanced Skin Care, 0.75 Ounce
Best Value for Money
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel - 1x Daily - Reduces The Appearance of Old & New Scars - #1 Doctor & Pharmacist Recommended Brand for Scars - 1.76oz.
Best Overall Results
NewGel+ Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars, 1 Ounce
Product Name
Scar Zone Advanced Scar Cream
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
NewGel+ Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars
Product Size
21 g
50 g
30 g
Recommended for Scars?
Active Ingredients
Allium Cepa (Onion Extract)
Cepalin® (Onion Extract)
Polysiloxanes (Silicone Gel), Vitamin E
Application Frequency
2x Daily
1x Daily
2x Daily
Customer Rating
Prime Eligibility
Price
$12.38
$28.80
$54.00
Best Budget Option
Preview
Scar Zone Advanced Skin Care, 0.75 Ounce
Product Name
Scar Zone Advanced Scar Cream
Product Size
21 g
Recommended for Scars?
Active Ingredients
Allium Cepa (Onion Extract)
Application Frequency
2x Daily
Customer Rating
Prime Eligibility
Price
$12.38
More Information
Best Value for Money
Preview
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel - 1x Daily - Reduces The Appearance of Old & New Scars - #1 Doctor & Pharmacist Recommended Brand for Scars - 1.76oz.
Product Name
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
Product Size
50 g
Recommended for Scars?
Active Ingredients
Cepalin® (Onion Extract)
Application Frequency
1x Daily
Customer Rating
Prime Eligibility
Price
$28.80
More Information
Best Overall Results
Preview
NewGel+ Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars, 1 Ounce
Product Name
NewGel+ Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars
Product Size
30 g
Recommended for Scars?
Active Ingredients
Polysiloxanes (Silicone Gel), Vitamin E
Application Frequency
2x Daily
Customer Rating
Prime Eligibility
Price
$54.00
More Information

Last Updated: 2020-04-02 / Images from Amazon PA API

Our Recommendations

In short, Scar Zone is a cheaper version of Mederma (but in a cream format).

It features the same key ingredient, onion extract. 

Unfortunately, the clinical research on onion extract is somewhat mixed.

That’s why I advocate using silicone gels instead for scar treatment. 

Silicone is recommended by the International Advisory Panel on Scar Management, as well as by most dermatologists and plastic surgeons. (1)

I prefer silicone gels because they’re effective, lightweight, and dry quickly.

My top pick for a silicone gel is NewGel+ (I use it myself).

Now, I’ve had some success with Mederma before for my chest keloids (see here).

But after 6 months, I stopped using Mederma due to side effects like itchiness and skin discoloration. I’ve since switched to NewGel+ and haven’t experienced any side effects.

To Wrap Up:

If you want the best results for your scars, stick with a silicone gel like NewGel+.

If you have less severe scars or are on a tight budget, both Mederma and Scar Zone are great options, with Scar Zone being a bit cheaper than Mederma.

Scar Zone

Our Score: 4/5

An affordable scar cream (comparable to Mederma).

PROS

  • Reduces scar height & size
  • Restores normal skin color
  • Excellent reviews
  • Very affordable

CONS

  • Results require patience
  • Mixed clinical research

Scar Zone is intended to improve the appearance of hypertrophic scars, keloids, surgical scars (such as C-section), and scars from trauma, burns, or injuries.

It uses similar ingredients to Mederma but comes in a cream rather than a gel format.

Creams offer extra hydration for those with drier skin while gels are better if you have oily skin or can’t stand the heaviness of a cream.

Key Features

  • Onion extract (same as Mederma)
  • Sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer (hydrating)
  • Hyaluronic acid (hydrating)
  • Comes in 0.75 oz tube
  • 1x daily application

Key Benefits

  • Flattens raised scars
  • Reduces skin discoloration
  • May prevent scars after surgery
  • Thin, lightweight, easy to apply

Suitable For

  • Hypertrophic scars
  • Keloids (including on the chest or earlobes)
  • Surgical scars (including C-section)
  • Scars from trauma, burns, or injuries
  • Scars on the face, hands, and other visible areas

Why Onion Extract?

Onion extract (allium cepa) has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies show that onion extract can inhibit fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen). This softens raised scars like hypertrophic scars and keloids and may reduce skin discoloration. (2)  

Onion extract also contains quercetin, a plant flavonoid that inhibits collagen production. (3)

The clinical evidence, however, is not yet conclusive:

  • One study reported no difference between onion extract and Vaseline (4)
  • Other studies reported positive results with onion extract (5, 6, 7)
  • One of these studies was funded by Merz (manufacturer of Mederma) (7)

Scar Zone Reviews

Among the positive reviews, people claimed Scar Zone reduced the appearance of their scars, including scar size, scar height, and skin redness.

Among the negative reviews, people noted that Scar Zone didn’t provide any benefits.

As with all skincare products, your mileage may vary (YMMV).

The Bottom-Line

Scar Zone is an affordable onion extract cream that is similar to Mederma.

Mederma Advanced Scar Gel

PROS

  • Softens existing scars
  • Reduces discoloration
  • Thousands of reviews
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Inconclusive clinical studies
  • Results require patience
  • May cause itchiness, irritation, or redness

About Mederma

If you want great results that won’t break the bank, Mederma is an excellent option.

Featuring Cepalin (onion extract), Mederma has been the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for 15 years.

Although clinical studies of onion extract are somewhat mixed, it’s clear that Mederma has helped thousands of people with their scar problems.

Amazon alone has well over 2,000 reviews, including hundreds of before/after photos.

Personally, I’ve used Mederma for my chest keloids and have seen slow but steady improvements in scar texture and color (check out my progress photos here).

Mederma has a light texture and mild scent. It’s easy to apply and dries quickly.

Key Features

  • Cepalin (onion extract)
  • Light texture
  • Mild scent
  • Dries quickly

Key Benefits

  • Softens existing scars
  • Reduces scar discoloration
  • Won’t break the bank

Suitable For

  • Hypertrophic scars
  • Keloids (including on the chest or earlobes)
  • Surgical scars (including C-section)
  • Scars from trauma, burns, or injuries
  • Scars on the face, hands, and other visible areas

Why Onion Extract?

Onion extract (allium cepa) has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies show that onion extract may inhibit fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen). (3) 

This can help soften hypertrophic scars and keloids and may also reduce discoloration. 

Onion extract also contains quercetin, a plant flavonoid that inhibits collagen. (4)

The clinical evidence, however, is still inconclusive:

  • One study reported no difference between onion extract and Vaseline (5)
  • Other studies reported positive results using onion extract (6, 7, 8)
  • One study was funded by Merz (manufacturer of Mederma) (8)

Mederma Reviews

Mederma has well over 2,000 reviews on Amazon. While reviews are mostly positive, Mederma doesn’t work for everyone. 

For some people, Mederma flattened their scars completely. But for others, it didn’t seem to move the needle much.

As with all skincare products, your mileage may vary (YMMV).

Side effects of Mederma may include itchiness, irritation, and redness. 

Read my full review of Mederma here.

Pro Tip: use Mederma 2x daily (instead of 1x) to maintain continuous scar coverage.

The Bottom-Line

Mederma is a popular scar gel that works well and is quite affordable.

Alternatives to Scar Zone & Mederma

My Top Pick

My top pick for a silicone gel.

Featuring 100% silicone and vitamin E, NewGel+ is a great balance of effectiveness and affordability (I use it myself).

Runner-Up

A high quality silicone gel.

Another high quality silicone gel, Kelo-Cote is very effective on hypertrophic scars and keloids but more expensive.

For Body Scars

Best for large body scars.

Featuring 100% silicone gel, ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets is my top pick for large scars from surgery, injury, or burns.

What Causes Scars?

Ever wonder why you get those pesky scars in the first place?

Well, research suggests that genetics are partly to blame (thanks, Mom and Dad). (9)

But scars themselves are a natural response by your body to injuries.

Part 1: Inflammation

When you’re injured, your body sets off an “alarm” signal known as inflammation.

This process jumpstarts the immune system and triggers wound healing signals.

Part 2: Repair

After inflammation comes the repair stage.

Your body replaces damaged skin with new skin cells and materials like collagen.

Collagen fibers weave together to form the foundations of new skin tissue (a “scar”).

Part 3: Scars

Unfortunately, scars are seldom identical to the original skin.

They’re often a different color and may feel hard or lumpy.

Sometimes, scars end up elevated like hypertrophic scars or keloids. 

This happens if your body produced too much collagen during the repair stage.

The Bottom-Line

I hope this guide to Mederma vs. Scar Zone helps you pick the right product for you. 

Remember, nothing can replace patience and consistency! 

To Recap:

If you want the best results, go for a silicone gel like NewGel+

If you’re on a limited budget, a good alternative is Scar Zone or Mederma.

References

  1. Gold MH, et al. International Advisory Panel on Scar Management. “Updated international clinical recommendations on scar management: part 2–algorithms for scar prevention and treatment.” Dermatological Surgery vol. 40,8 (2014): 825-31.
  2. Bleasdale, Benjamin et al. “The Use of Silicone Adhesives for Scar Reduction.” Advances in Wound Care vol. 4,7 (2015): 422-430
  3. Cho JW, et al. “Onion extract and quercetin induce matrix metalloproteinase-1 in vitro and in vivo.” International Journal of Molecular Medicine vol. 25,3 (2010): 347-52.
  4. Phan TT, et al. “Quercetin inhibits fibronectin production by keloid-derived fibroblasts. Implication for the treatment of excessive scars.” Journal of Dermatological Science vol. 33 (2003): 192–4
  5. Chung VQ, et al. “Onion extract gel versus petrolatum emollient on new surgical scars: prospective double-blinded study.” Dermatological Surgery vol. 32,2 (2006): 193-7.
  6. Ho WS, et al. “Use of onion extract, heparin, allantoin gel in prevention of scarring in chinese patients having laser removal of tattoos: a prospective randomized controlled trial.” Dermatological Surgery vol. 32,7 (2006): 891-6.
  7. Beuth J, et al. “Safety and efficacy of local administration of contractubex to hypertrophic scars in comparison to corticosteroid treatment. Results of a multicenter, comparative epidemiological cohort study in Germany.” In Vivo vol. 20,2 (2006): 277-83.
  8. Draelos, Zoe D et al. “A new proprietary onion extract gel improves the appearance of new scars: a randomized, controlled, blinded-investigator study.” The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology vol. 5,6 (2012): 18-24.
  9. Gauglitz, Gerd G et al. “Hypertrophic scarring and keloids: pathomechanisms and current and emerging treatment strategies.” Molecular Medicine (Cambridge, Mass.) vol. 17,1-2 (2010): 113-25

 

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Tom Qiao

I solve skin mysteries using simple science to provide you the best skincare advice!

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