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

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Strataderm vs Mederma

Do you need help deciding between Strataderm and Mederma for treating scars?

Lucky for you, I’ve put together a full comparison of Strataderm vs. Mederma.

Strataderm is an excellent silicone gel while Mederma is a popular onion extract gel.

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

Well…

The short version is: Strataderm.

You see, onion extract gels like Mederma are promising, but not yet supported by the medical community for scar therapy due to mixed clinical evidence. (1)

Silicone gels, on the other hand, are backed by decades of clinical research and recommended for hypertrophic scars and keloids by both dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

In fact, Strataderm is part of a new generation of silicone gels with film-forming technology. This means it can be applied almost immediately following surgery.

However, this also means it’s much more expensive than traditional silicone gels.

For a more affordable option, I recommend NewGel+ (my top pick). It’s an effective silicone gel at a reasonable price and I use it myself.

Related:

Strataderm vs Mederma

Preview
Best Overall Results
Strataderm Gel for Professional Scar Therapy 20g / 0.7oz
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.
Product Name
Strataderm Scar Therapy Gel
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
Product Size
20 g
50 g
Recommended for Scars?
Active Ingredients
Polysiloxanes (Silicone Gel)
Cepalin® (Onion Extract Gel)
Application Frequency
2x Daily
1x Daily
Customer Rating
Prime Eligibility
-
Price
$35.09
$28.80
More Information
Best Overall Results
Preview
Strataderm Gel for Professional Scar Therapy 20g / 0.7oz
Product Name
Strataderm Scar Therapy Gel
Product Size
20 g
Recommended for Scars?
Active Ingredients
Polysiloxanes (Silicone Gel)
Application Frequency
2x Daily
Customer Rating
Prime Eligibility
-
Price
$35.09
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

Last Updated: 2020-04-05 / Images from Amazon PA API

Our Recommendations

Strataderm is part of a new line of silicone gels with film-forming technology.

This means it can be used earlier, sometimes immediately following or during surgery, to dramatically reduce the appearance of post-op scars. It can also be used on existing scars.

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

Unlike other scar products, silicone gels are lightweight, odorless, and do not cause side effects like itchiness or skin discoloration (issues that I’ve found with Mederma).

Silicone gels are also easy to apply. 

To be fair, 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+ or Strataderm.

If you have less severe scars or are on a tight budget, Mederma is a great option.

Strataderm Scar Therapy Gel

PROS

  • Reduces scar height & size
  • Restores normal skin color
  • Film-forming technology
  • Easy to apply
  • Excellent reviews

CONS

  • Results require patience
  • Expensive

Strataderm is an excellent option for many types of scars, including hypertrophic scars, keloids, surgical scars (such as C-section), and scars from trauma, burns, or injuries.

Silicone is clinically proven to improve scar appearance and skin discoloration. (1)

It works by keeping your skin hydrated, which in turn prevents collagen production, a major contributor to hypertrophic scar and keloid formation. 

Strataderm also has a thin and lightweight consistency, making it easy to apply and leave on your skin throughout the day. 

Key Features

  • 100% silicone gel 
  • Silicone film-forming technology
  • Thin, odorless, and waterproof
  • Fast drying
  • Comes in 5g, 10g, 20g, and 50g tubes

Key Benefits

  • Flattens and softens scars
  • Corrects skin discoloration
  • Reduces itchiness and discomfort
  • Thin layer and easy to apply
  • Requires only 1x daily application

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)

Silicone Gel Film-Forming Technology

Recently, a new generation of silicone gels have incorporated film-forming technology. 

As renowned scar expert and dermatologist Dr. Michael Gold explains, these new silicone gels can be used at the time of surgery, which may prevent or minimize scars completely. (4)

Strataderm Reviews

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

Among the negative reviews, people noted that Strataderm didn’t provide any results.

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

Strataderm Scar Therapy Gel is a high quality silicone gel with film-forming technology.

It flattens and softens scars, reduces itching and redness, and has a lightweight texture.

If you’re on a tight budget, I highly recommend NewGel+ (I use it myself).

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). (5) 

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

Onion extract also contains quercetin, a plant flavonoid that inhibits collagen. (6)

The clinical evidence, however, is still inconclusive:

  • One study reported no difference between onion extract and Vaseline (7)
  • Other studies reported positive results using onion extract (8, 9, 10)
  • One study was funded by Merz (manufacturer of Mederma) (10)

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.

Alternatives to Strataderm & Mederma

My Top Pick

My top pick for a silicone gel.

Featuring 100% silicone and vitamin E, NewGel+ boasts amazing reviews on Amazon at a very affordable price.

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 medical grade silicone, ScarAway is my top pick for larger 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). (11)

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 Strataderm 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 Strataderm.

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. “About ScarAway”. Retrieved from https://www.myscaraway.com/about/
  3. 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/
  4. What’s new in treating hypertrophic scars and keloids? (2018) Retrieved from https://www.thepmfajournal.com/features/post/what-s-new-in-treating-hypertrophic-scars-and-keloids
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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/
  11. 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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