ScarGuard vs Mederma 2019 | What’s Better for Scars?

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ScarGuard vs Mederma

Should you use ScarGuard or Mederma for getting rid of your scars?

I’ve tried both products and have put together a full comparison of ScarGuard vs Mederma.

ScarGuard is a liquid silicone gel while Mederma is an onion extract gel.

So which one is better for scar treatment?

(The short story is: neither. I recommend a traditional silicone gel like NewGel+ for scars).

Related:

ScarGuard vs Mederma

Preview
Best for Surgery Scars
Scarguard Repair Liquid with Vitamin E 0.5 oz - Packaging may vary
Best Budget Option
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel - 1x Daily - Reduces The Appearance of Old & New Scars - #1 Doctor & Pharmacist Recommended Brand for Scars - 1.76oz.
Editor's Top Pick
NewGel+ Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars, 1 Ounce
Product Name
ScarGuard Repair Liquid
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
NewGel+ Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars
Product Size
0.5 oz
50 g
30 g
Recommended for Scars?
Active Ingredients
Liquid Silicone, Hydrocortisone, Vitamin E
Cepalin® (Onion Extract Gel)
Polysiloxanes (Silicone Gel), Vitamin E
Application Frequency
2x Daily
1x Daily
2x Daily
Customer Rating
Prime Eligibility
-
Price
$29.97
$28.80
$54.00
Best for Surgery Scars
Preview
Scarguard Repair Liquid with Vitamin E 0.5 oz - Packaging may vary
Product Name
ScarGuard Repair Liquid
Product Size
0.5 oz
Recommended for Scars?
Active Ingredients
Liquid Silicone, Hydrocortisone, Vitamin E
Application Frequency
2x Daily
Customer Rating
Prime Eligibility
-
Price
$29.97
More Information
Best Budget Option
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 Gel)
Application Frequency
1x Daily
Customer Rating
Prime Eligibility
Price
$28.80
More Information
Editor's Top Pick
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: 2020-04-05 / Images from Amazon PA API

Our Recommendations

Scarguard is a liquid silicone gel that includes 12% silicone and 0.5% hydrocortisone. Unlike other silicone gels, you apply Scarguard using a brush fan onto your scars.

Silicone is clinically proven to work and recommended by the International Advisory Panel on Scar Management for both hypertrophic scars and keloids. (1)

However, I’m not a big fan of Scarguard due to its strong smell and flaky texture (it dries up and leaves little flakes everywhere).

Personally, I prefer a traditional silicone gel like NewGel+. It’s effective, lightweight, and has no smell whatsoever. You just rub it with your fingers onto your scars.

Mederma, on the other hand, is an onion extract gel that also works well on scars.

While the clinical research on onion extract is not yet conclusive, I’ve had success using Mederma in the past for my chest keloids. (1)

Ultimately, I stopped using Mederma due to side effects like itchiness and discoloration (skin darkening), which are not an issue with silicone gels.

So in short, I recommend silicone gels like NewGel+ for scars over Mederma or ScarGuard.

While ScarGuard does provide the benefits of silicone, it has a really unpleasant smell.

ScarGuard Repair Liquid

Our Score: 4/5

A unique liquid silicone gel for scar treatment and prevention.

PROS

  • Reduces scar height & size
  • Restores normal skin color
  • Easy to apply (brush-on)
  • Excellent reviews
  • Affordable price

CONS

  • Results require patience
  • Leaves flakes everywhere
  • Very strong smell

ScarGuard is unique in that it uses a liquid silicone formula. This means you brush the liquid onto scars, a convenient method for facial scars and hard-to-reach scars.

However, the liquid formula has several disadvantages. It evaporates over time which shortens the product’s shelf life. And it also leaves little flakes everywhere after it dries up on your skin.

But worst of all, ScarGuard just smells terrible. Yes, it does work on scars but make sure to keep your nose far away from the bottle when you’re applying it (you’ll thank me later!).

Key Features

  • Brush-on liquid silicone formula
  • 12% silicone, 0.5% hydrocortisone, and vitamin E
  • Thin, lightweight, and fast drying
  • Twice daily application

Key Benefits

  • Helps minimize raised scars
  • Prevents scars after surgery
  • Reduces skin discoloration
  • 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 Silicone?

Silicone is the #1 dermatologist and plastic surgeon recommended over-the-counter scar reduction ingredient, according to an independent market research firm. (2)

In 2014, the International Advisory Panel on Scar Management confirmed the clinical efficacy of silicone for the treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids. (1)

Researchers believe that silicone works by hydrating and protecting the scar. This prevents skin dehydration which can contribute to abnormal scar formation. (3)

ScarGuard Reviews

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

Among the negative reviews, people complained that ScarGuard didn’t work on their scars.

I find that most people don’t use silicone gels long enough to see the desired results. In my experience, it takes between 3-6 months before you’ll notice any significant improvements. 

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

The Bottom-Line

ScarGuard Repair Liquid is an excellent silicone product for scar treatment and prevention. It works well on scars but leaves little flakes everywhere and has an unpleasant smell.

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)

Why Mederma?

In my opinion, the main selling point of Mederma is the price.

It’s more affordable than alternative scar treatments like silicone gels and corticosteroid injections, both of which are used for hypertrophic scars and keloids. 

Mederma is also widely available at retailers like Wal-Mart and online at Amazon.

As for the product itself, it definitely works (see my progress photos here). 

But it requires a lot of patience and most people quit too early. In my experience, it takes at least 3 months before you’ll see any noticeable results.

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.

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 ScarGuard 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+.

ScarGuard is a decent choice as well but is flaky and smells terrible.

If you’re on a limited budget, a good alternative is 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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25068544
  2. Bleasdale, Benjamin et al. “The Use of Silicone Adhesives for Scar Reduction.” Advances in Wound Care vol. 4,7 (2015): 422-430. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4486716/
  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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20127038
  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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14643528
  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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16442038
  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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16875470
  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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16634531
  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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390235/
  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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3022978/
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Tom Qiao

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

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