Does Mederma Work For Stretch Marks?

Mederma is a topical cream, which the manufacturer claims will improve and smoothen the appearance of scars and stretch marks. The active ingredient is an onion-extract known as Allium Cepa. The evidence? Well, it is flimsy at best.

What the Manufacturer Claims

The manufacturer of Mederma is Mertz Pharmaceuticals, based out of North Carolina. They have embarked on a highly aggressive marketing campaign. Mederma, they say, is clinically proven to soften, smoothen and reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks. Another claim is that both doctors and pharmacists recommend Mederma. Apparently, everybody trusts Mederma.

What Is the Truth?

The initial question posed for this hub was “does Mederma work for stretch marks?”, so let’s get on with the answer. It is a common saying that you can not prove a universally negative. Saying “no, it does not”, might then be hyperbole. So, let’s say that there is little evidence that it does.

How, then, can Mertz Pharmaceuticals claim that the product is clinically proven? Well, it seems the most referred to study was one conducted in 2001. Here the onion-extract was used on rabbit ears and the study concluded that Mederma improved collagen organization. However, another result from the study was that it did not improve the appearance of scars.

What is the result if you look at studies actually involving humans? Well, so far, three, major and controlled, studies have been conducted in the United States. In the studies the effect of the onion-extract was compared to the effect of using petroleum jelly. And, guess what? Petroleum jelly performed better.

While some doctors and pharmacists might recommend Mederma, doing a search online will produce a number of dermatologists doing the opposite. So, it is in no way a universally recommended product. 

Treating Stretch Marks with Creams

If you, after doing the due research, decide that you want to use cream to treat stretch marks, it should be done when the stretch marks are new. All reputable studies that find a positive effect of creams rebuilding collagen have concluded that the treatment was only effective on stretch marks less than six weeks old and still red in color. Remember, these creams should not be used during pregnancy!

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