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Mederma is an over-the-counter topical ointment formulated to minimize the appearance of scars. Once a wound has healed, Mederma can improve the texture of the skin, making the scar softer and smoother. Meant to diminish many types of scars, including those from surgery, acne, cuts and burns, successful treatment requires patience, as it can take at least four weeks to notice any improvement.

The Science Behind Mederma

Scar tissue isn't a bad thing -- it's an indication that the skin is self-repairing. However, this tissue can leave behind an unsightly scar which you may want to treat. While some scars cannot be completely eliminated, Mederma strives to make them less noticeable.

Mederma products rely on one active ingredient: allium cepa, which is an onion extract. This ingredient features quercerin_,_ an anti-inflammatory molecule.

As a result, Mederma's anti-inflammatory properties may allow the product to reduce inflammation around the scar site, therefore making it less visible.

Cepalin_,_ a botanical extract, is another component of Mederma products. It works to improve the scar's texture, color and appearance.

Is Mederma Right for You?

Designed for scars of all types, Mederma is meant to work on both old and new scars. However, the timing of results depends on the age of your scar. Older scars will take three to six months of daily use before optimal results appear, while new scars can take as little as eight weeks.

As a result, Mederma is not a quick-fix remedy. However, it can aid in the skin healing process, which often takes up to a year without additional treatment

Daily Mederma Treatments

Mederma requires diligent and long-term use for maximum results. Apply the product once a day to clean, dry skin, placing a thin layer of the product over the scar.

Note that new wounds should be fully healed before using Mederma. Wait at least two weeks after the wound appears, and ensure the scab has naturally fallen off and any stitches are removed.

Potential Side Effects

As with any topical solution, some skin types may react negatively to Mederma. Skin reactions may include swelling at the scar site, discoloration of the scar or itching. Discontinue use of Mederma and contact your doctor should these symptoms appear.

Similarly, if you are using any topical prescription products for your skin, talk to your doctor about the potential interactions between these products and Mederma. Your health care provider will help you decide whether Mederma can be used safely in conjunction with other treatments.

About the Author

Barbie Carpenter

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.