Onion In Scar Cream: How It Works
Scars occur when any damage to the skin from wounds, acne, disease, chickenpox, etc. leaves an opening in the dermis. In response to injury, tough collagen fibers are produced on the skin’s surface to knit the damaged area closed in order to allow healing. This process is highly efficient and life-saving. However, no one enjoys having noticeable scars left behind after an injury heals.
Onion poultices have a long history of application around the world, both for the treatment of respiratory illnesses and in wound care. While onion poultices slowly disappeared in favor of more modern treatments, in recent decades the use of onion extract to reduce the appearance of scars has come into favor, and the odorous bulb has found its way into over the counter scar treatments. Many users swear by the positive effects of onion extract on scar tissue, despite the fact that studies have produced mixed results, with most being favorable toward onion for aiding in several aspects of scar minimizing.
Optimal Results of Onion Extract in Scar Treatment
According to the Society of Investigative Dermatology, a topical gel using onion extract and applied once per day resulted in a 36% improvement in the appearance of post-surgical scar tissue after eight weeks of use. In the study, significantly better outcomes were shown in scar improvements including improvements in color, texture, and softness of scar tissue in the subjects who used the onion extract scar treatment, compared to untreated scars. In fact, though optimal results were found in week eight, favorable results in scar appearance were seen as early as the fourth week of treatment.
Another double-blind study also showed significant improvement in scarring when onion-based gel was used, but noted that while onion extract improved the color and texture of scars, it did not improve the thickness or height of scarring, and it did not minimize scar itching.
A further study seemed to show improvements in the subjects using onion-based treatment was not any better than subjects given petroleum jelly treatment for comparison, so outcomes appear mixed. However, there is no denying that onions contain several properties that have science-based effects which could benefit scarring.
How Does Onion Extract Work to Minimize Scar Tissue?
Onion contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce swelling and redness in newly developed scar tissue. This makes onion extract helpful for minimizing the appearance of scarring and stretch marks. Onion extract also reduces the excess production of collagen fibers or the fibers that form scar tissue. Because of this, it’s not recommended to apply any scar cream or gel containing onion until after a wound has fully healed.
Onion extract also contains pantothenic acid, a form of vitamin B5. This functions to pull moisture into skin, which when applied to scar tissue can function to soften collagen fibers.
The specific onion type used in most scar creams and gels contains the bioflavonoid, quercetin, which has both anti-inflammatory and antihistamine properties. This histamine-blocking property normalizes or even decreases the collagen production of fibroblasts, to minimize scar appearance.
Together, these attributes of onion help to improve color, texture, and softness of scar tissue and stretch marks.
should you use Scar Cream or Raw Onion?
While it may seem that you can skip the trip to the drugstore to purchase a scar cream or gel containing onion and just reach for the Vidalias in your produce drawer, there are several reasons to avoid using raw onion on your scar tissue. The prepared creams and gels contain an onion extract, which means it’s a strong, condensed version of onion juice. A slice of raw onion will not contain the powerful properties of onion extract. Also … raw onions have a powerful odor. While you may notice a faint onion scent in your scar cream or gel, most of the sulfur which produces the strong onion odor has been removed from the cream, so you won’t have to worry about smelling like onions during the eight weeks of recommended use.
So, while onions can make you cry, it seems the odorous and tasty bulb can also make you smile as it improves the appearance of scars and stretch marks!