A review of the effects of moisturizers on the appearance of scars and striae

Int J Cosmet Sci. 2012 Dec;34(6):519-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2494.2012.00751.x. Epub 2012 Sep 21.


Scars are well known to have a stratum corneum (SC) that is malfunctional. Increases in transepidermal water loss and decreases in SC capacitance and conductance have been reported. Occlusion therapy is a well-known route to improving the signs and symptoms of scarring. Until recently that has been assumed to be totally pressure related. However, studies have demonstrated that the direct effects of hydration on keratinocytes and fibroblasts contribute to the reduction in hypertrophic scarring. Now it is well known that occlusion can regulate epidermal cytokine and growth factor production; changes in profibrotic and anti-fibrotic factors have been established. As a result, it is to be expected that moisturizers may improve the signs and symptoms of scars. As striae have been suggested to be anatomically similar to scars and as it is well established that paracrine signalling occurs in skin, it is expected that striae have similar SC issues. While one cannot exclude the effects of some of the ingredients used in the products, several studies are reported in this review that demonstrates that moisturization is a key component to reducing the clinical signs and symptoms of scars and striae. This is a good example of how knowledge of corneobiology leads to corneotherapies for these skin condition problems. The review is being written in memory of Professor Johann Wiechers who, before he died tragically in November 2011, performed two of the reported studies together with colleagues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cicatrix*
  • Emollients*
  • Humans
  • Striae Distensae*


  • Emollients