Comparison Summary Silagen vs Mederma Silagen is a premium silicone gel manufactured by NewMedical Technology Inc. that's sold exclusively at physician's offices like dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Currently, a quick […]
If you're looking for the cheapest silicone gel, Aroamas is only ~$30 per oz and has received thousands of reviews on Amazon.
I haven't personally tried Aroamas yet but it's amazing value for money at this price.
On the other hand, Mederma Advanced Scar Gel is an excellent option for low risk scars like kitchen burns, minor cuts & scrapes, and small bruises.
That's because some studies have shown that Mederma helps minimize new scar formation (Draelos, 2012) and it's much more affordable than silicone gels at ~$16 per oz.
However, the clinical evidence is still mixed and inconclusive, whereas silicone gel has been proven time and time again by randomized clinical trials (RCTs) and medical reviews.
Overall, if you are concerned about your scar's appearance, I recommend using a silicone gel like Silagen or NewGel+2x a day for at least 3-6 months to give your skin the best chance of achieving an optimal recovery outcome following an injury or surgical procedure.
However, if you have an old scar like a mature keloid (2+ years), you may want to speak to your dermatologist about corticosteroid injections as well, as I've personally found them very helpful for flattening my keloid scars and gradually restoring more normal skin color.
If you're interested, here's an excellent video on scar formation and how silicone works:
In addition, Silagen has a beautiful page explaining standard scar treatment protocols based on the International Clinical Recommendations on Scar Management (2014).
Now that you know how silicone works in theory, how effective is it in practice?
Since its introduction in the 1980s, there's been hundreds of clinical studies on silicone gel and silicone gel sheets.
Fortunately, Hsu et al. (2017) and Wang et al. (2021) have reviewed the medical literature and concluded that silicone is statistically more effective than placebos or no treatment:
Hsu et al. (2017) analyzed 10 clinical trials and found that silicone statistically reduced the probability of developing hypertrophic scars or keloids after surgery
Wang et al. (2021) analyzed 6 randomized controlled trials and found that silicone statistically outperformed control treatments, but only after 6-8 months of treatment
As I explained earlier, Silagen is expensive at ~$92 per oz compared to similar silicone gels like NewGel+ ($54 per oz), Aroamas ($30 per oz), and BioCorneum ($32 per oz)
However, price is not the only consideration because ultimately, it's the results that matter.
With silicone gels, it's difficult to tell the difference in product quality without using the product because every manufacturer will say they use 100% medical grade silicone.
I suspect that premium silicone gels like Silagen and BioCorneum use a higher quality silicone, but this is not explicitly stated. What we do know is that Silagen has a silky smooth texture that makes it easier to apply and leave on your skin, as well as a version with SPF 30.
Overall, if you plan to buy Silagen, make sure to buy an authentic product at your preferred physician's office and shop around first for the best deal.
My Verdict: If you have high risk scars (e.g. hypertrophic scars or keloids from burns, surgery, trauma, and acne, or a family history of keloids), use a silicone gel like Silagen or NewGel+ to minimize scar formation, promote post-op recovery, and reduce itchiness and redness.
Low Risk of Scarring: no family history of keloids, no sensitive areas like the breast/chest
Low Patient Concern: you're okay with how your scar turns out, regardless the outcome
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).
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:
Control Group: in this study, the control scars were left completely untreated. This is an extremely low benchmark and even then, the test group only surpassed the control group after 4 weeks of treatment. I'd be more convinced if the control scars were treated with at least a moisturizer as keeping scars hydrated improves wound healing.
Sample Group: out of 44 participants, the vast majority were Caucasian (39), followed by African American (4), and Hispanic (1). As you might expect, the Fitzpatrick skin type was mostly I and II (both are considered very light skin tones). However, this sample almost entirely excludes ethnic skin types which creates a bias because abnormal scar formation like keloids is more common in those of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent.
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:
Application: it's very easy to apply (a bit sticky but dries quickly)
Results: I did not see any significant improvements in scar height, thickness, or redness, however, my scars did feel slightly smoother
Side Effects: I experienced the occasional itchiness, but the more serious side effect was that the area where I applied Mederma turned slightly darker in color (discoloration)
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.
For high risk scars, however, I recommend using a silicone gel or silicone sheet because it's safe (no side effects), clinically proven for scar treatment, and reasonably affordable.
Tom is the founder and editor of TheDermDetective.com where he applies his decades of personal experience with skincare problems like acne and acne scarring to provide readers with practical advice and product recommendations.