Summary and evidence grading of over-the-counter scar treatments

Konstantin V Grigoryan, Jeremy T Kampp


Background: Many products claiming to improve scar appearance are readily available on the Internet. Data behind these claims are often difficult to find or summarize. Patients often ask their surgeon for advice for scarring postdermatologic surgery.

Objective: We aim to review the evidence behind several advertised products and techniques that claim to improve postsurgical scarring.

Methods: A PubMed search was performed using products and methods claiming to improve scar appearance along with the terms “scar” and “scarring”.

Results: Published literature on scar massage, taping of scars, silicone gel and sheeting, onion-based extract products, and vitamin E was reviewed. Silicone gel/sheeting as well as taping have the most evidence to help improve scarring, but even then the evidence is conflicting and weak.

Conclusion: Online advertising may tempt patients to buy and trial products to help minimize scarring, although the evidence for the effectiveness of these products is absent to minimal. Dermatologists must be aware of these products to maintain effective patient counseling.

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