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Scar creams contain ingredients designed to target scar tissue and help restore the skin’s natural look and feel. The best scar cream will depend on the type of scar, ingredients in the cream, and an individual’s skin health.
A quick look at the best scar creams:
- Best overall: Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
- Best for surgical scars: Scaraway Clear Silicone Scar Sheets
- Best natural treatment: Derma E Scar Gel
- Best for stretch marks: Honeydew Concealing Cream
- Best for acne scarring: Differin Adapalene Gel
- Best for redness and discoloration: LIFE-FLO Pure Rosehip Seed Oil
- Best for kids: Mederma Scar Gel for Kids
- Best for the face: Cicatricure Face and Body Scar Gel
A scar is a part of the skin’s natural repair cycle after a wound. The body works quickly to cover a wound with skin cells and protect it from the outside elements.
As a result, it sometimes creates imperfect cells that contain more collagen than healthy skin cells. Collagen is a protein in your body that helps provide structure to the skin. This is why scars differ in appearance from undamaged skin.
The look of a scar will typically fade with time, though some changes may last longer or be permanent.
Scar creams work in different ways to heal the tissue and reduce the appearance of scars. Some skin creams contain mild exfoliants that rub away the top layer of skin cells and any dead skin in the area.
Other ingredients hydrate the cells, giving them a fuller look, which may reduce the appearance of scars.
Scar creams are only one part of treating a scar. People looking to reduce the appearance of scars should also take other precautions, such as keeping the damaged area out of direct sunlight or wearing sunscreen whenever possible.
Medical News Today chooses products that fit the following criteria where possible:
- Price: MNT chooses products available for a wide range of budgets.
- Ingredients: MNT chooses scar creams containing ingredients proven to treat scars, such as silicone, allantoin, and shea butter.
- Safety: MNT chooses products that contain ingredients safe for topical use and are clearly labelled.
- Skin concerns: MNT selects scar creams that target specific skin concerns, such as burn scars, acne, and surgical scars.
- Type of product: MNT chooses products that are available in gel, cream, sheet, and oil forms
- Reputable: MNT selects products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Best overall: Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
- Active ingredient: Allantoin.
- Dosage: Once a day.
- Size: 0.70 ounces (oz).
- Pro: Suitable for acne, surgical scars, burns, and cuts.
- Con: May cause itchiness and skin dryness.
- Price: $26.99
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel is one of the most popular and effective all-around treatments for various scars.
Mederma states that the cream is effective for both new and old scars due to acne, surgeries, burns, and cuts.
The main active ingredient in Mederma Advanced Scar Gel is allantoin, which helps moisturize and hydrate the skin cells to reduce the appearance of scars.
The cream also contains other exfoliants and ingredients, such as onion bulb extract, to support the skin and prevent dryness.
When a person uses it on a new scar, they may see effects after about 8 weeks. For older scars, a person may need to regularly apply the gel for up to 6 months before seeing any results.
Some people may experience itchiness and skin dryness. This may be due to using too much of the gel.
Best for surgical scars: ScarAway Clear Silicone Scar Sheets
- Active ingredient: Silicone
- Dosage: Place one sheet on the scar.
- Size: 10 sheets per pack.
- Pro: This product is comfortable to use throughout the day.
- Con: Some people may experience irritation from the adhesive.
- Price: Around $23.99
ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets are simple fabric-backed sheets containing silicone. This silicone layer acts as a natural barrier, mimicking the barrier from healthy skin. This may help reduce scar formation or cause scar tissue to fade.
ScarAway states that the sheets prevent or treat abnormal scarring due to injuries, keloid scars, and scars from surgeries, such as cesarean deliveries and tummy tucks.
The flexible, breathable sheets make them easy to wear throughout the day for many people. Some may find the adhesive irritating.
The healing time can vary based on several factors. For fresh scars, a person may notice results in a few weeks. Older scars may take longer to heal.
Best natural: Derma E Scar Gel
- Active ingredients: Allicin, allantoin, and panthenol.
- Dosage: Apply the gel 2-3 times daily.
- Size: 2 oz.
- Pro: May help smooth skin and reduce the appearance of scars.
- Con: Some people may find the gel too thick.
- Price: $19.95
Derma E Scar gel is a natural choice for scar reduction. The gel contains garlic extract allicin, which is an antioxidant. Allantoin works to hydrate the skin. It also contains the vitamin panthenol, which may help smooth skin.
Together, these ingredients work to reduce the appearance of scars and improve the skin’s health.
The Derma E company uses natural, cruelty-free ingredients, which may be important for some.
The manufacturer recommends applying the gel 2–3 times daily. Improvements may take 8 weeks to show up in fresh scars. Older scars may take as long as 6 months for noticeable improvements.
Best for stretch marks: Honeydew Concealing Cream
- Active ingredients: Shea butter, rosehip oil, and jojoba oil.
- Dosage: Apply the cream daily.
- Size: 4 oz.
- Pro: May provide extra moisture to healing skin.
- Con: Results may vary between individuals.
- Price: $11.95.
Honeydew Scar Cream contains many ingredients and oils to enrich and enliven the skin. It may be best as a long-term option for skin health and fading scars naturally.
The cream contains some beneficial oils, such as shea butter, rosehip oil, and jojoba oil, which may improve the look of the skin over time. Other ingredients, such as stearic acid, help protect the skin from losing moisture.
Actual results and timing may vary between individuals.
Best for acne scarring: Differin Adapalene Gel
- Active ingredient: Adapalene.
- Dosage: Apply a thin layer to the face once per day after washing.
- Size: 0.5 oz.
- Pro: Can help reduce the appearance of severe acne scarring.
- Con: The gel may irritate the skin.
- Price: Around $15.
Differin Adapalene gel is an antioxidant treatment for acne vulgaris. While it is effective for many people with this condition, it may also benefit acne scarring.
However, adapalene gel can irritate some people, which may make other skin symptoms worse. Anyone dealing with moderate to severe acne scarring should talk with their doctor or dermatologist.
Best for redness and discoloration: LIFE-FLO Pure Rosehip Seed Oil
- Active ingredient: Rosehip seed oil.
- Dosage: Massage 2-3 drops of oil onto dry, clean skin.
- Size: 1 oz
- Pro: Regular use may reduce the appearance of scars.
- Con: May irritate a person’s skin.
- Price: Around $9.
An all-natural option, rosehip seed oil contains helpful antioxidants that may improve overall skin health.
Rosehip seed oil may protect the skin cells by acting as a natural barrier. It may also help with hyperpigmentation, which is the darkening of certain skin areas.
Best for kids: Mederma Scar Gel for Kids
- Active ingredient: Allantoin.
- Dosage: Apply daily as needed as soon as the wound has closed.
- Size: 0.7 oz.
- Pro: May speed up collagen production and cell renewal.
- Con: Unsuitable for use on broken skin.
- Price: aroun $18.
Mederma Scar Gel for Kids contains allantoin (1%) and allium cepa (onion) bulb extract which may promote skin healing by supporting the formation of collagen and cell renewal.
The manufacturers state that this scar gel visibly reduces the appearance of scars from cuts, scrapes, burns, surgery and insect bites.
It is suitable for children from the age of 2- 12 years, and reportedly has a pleasant non-medicinal grape scent. Additionally, the gel goes on purple when applied and rubs in clear.
People should apply the gel to the effected area as soon as the wound closes and the scar begins to heal. They should continue to use it daily for at least 8 weeks on new scars and 3-6 months on old scars. It is not suitable for deep puncture wounds, serious animal bites, or burns.
Best for the face: Cicatricure Face and Body Scar Gel
- Active ingredient: Chamomilla recutita flower extract.
- Dosage: 4 times a day for 60 days.
- Size: 1 oz.
- Pro: Suitable for sensitive skin.
- Con: May work out to be expensive when used as directed for the entire body.
- Price: $19.99.
The manufacturer states that this gel not only helps to improve old and new scar appearances and hydrates the skin but it also reduces the appearance of stretch marks, scar discoloration and promotes an even skin tone.
The company states that people may see visible results in just 2 weeks.
This gel contains chamomile which has anti-inflammatory properties. As this gel is unscented it may be suitable for people with sensitive skin.
Below is a comparison chart of the scar creams in this article:
|Mederma||$26.99||0.70 oz||gel||• allantoin|
• onion bulb extract
|once a day|
|Scaraway||$23.99||10 sheets||sheet||• silicone||one sheet a day|
|Derma E||$19.95||2 oz||gel||• allicin|
|2-3 times daily|
|Honeydew||$11.95||4 oz||cream||• shea butter|
• rosehip oil
• jojoba oil
|Differin||$15||0.5 oz||gel||• adapalene|
• hydrocholoric acid
|LIFE-FLO||$9||1 oz||oil||• rosehip seed oil|
• vitamin E
|2-3 drops daily|
|Mederma||$18||0.7 oz||gel||• allantoin|
• onion bulb extract
|Cicatricure||$19.99||1 oz||gel||• chamomile|
• onion bulb extract
• aloe vera
|4 times a day|
There are a few important things to consider when shopping for scar creams:
- Active ingredients: Paying attention to the active ingredients in the cream and their strength can help a person identify what works for their skin type.
- Other ingredients: Other ingredients may also affect how well a treatment works. If an ingredient irritates a person’s skin, they will likely stop using the treatment. In some cases, it may even make symptoms worse.
- Be aware of bold claims: While many active ingredients may reduce the appearance of scars over time, they are not miracle cures. Stick with reputable companies and be wary of any bold claims.
- Patience is key: While a few different active ingredients work to reduce scarring, they do so over time. Many treatments may take weeks before a person sees any visible results, and the effects may wear off if the person stops using the treatment.
- One at a time: A person may have to try a few different products before finding one that works. However, it is a good idea to stick to one product at a time, as this can help identify what works and what does not.
It is important to consider that works for one person might not suit someone else.
People should speak to a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist, to determine the best treatment for their scars.
The following are some tips on how to use scar cream:
- Follow all instructions: Before using a scar cream, a person should carefully read all the manufacturer’s instructions. Some companies may recommend using the product once or twice a day, whereas others may recommend leaving a product on for several hours.
- Use on clean, dry skin: Always apply any scar cream on a freshly washed and dried area.
- Use a combination of products: A healthcare professional may recommend using two or more products in combination. Always follow the healthcare professional’s advice on when and how to apply these products.
- Remember results take time: People may not see a significant difference for several months when using scar cream.
Common ingredients in the scar creams in this article are:
Adapalene is a synthetic acid which comes from retinoid. It is a common ingredient in creams to treat acne scars and inflammation.
Results showed there was a significant improvement on acne lesions and scaring. Acne scarring had gone in 32.9% of the volunteers. Additionally, acne lesion inflammation had decreased by 86.7% for 19.4% of the volunteers. Skin irritation was common in 6% of the subjects.
Allantoin is a naturally-occurring chemical compound from animals, bacteria and plants. It has skin-softening, protecting, soothing and wound healing properties. Some cosmetic manufacturers produce allantoin synthetically.
Studies show that allantoin works as an anti-inflammatory for chronic wounds. This is due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial and keratolytic properties. It also helps build new skin cells as well as soothing itching and burning sensations.
Researchers investigated the effect of using a 30% topical garlic ointment on 17 patients with skin surgical wounds. Half of the wounds were treated with the garlic ointment and the other half with Vaseline. Patients and onsite physicians compared the sites after 2 weeks and reported that the wounds treated with garlic ointment had healed better in 65% of the subjects compared to those treated with the Vaseline.
Aloe vera has moisturizing and wound healing properties. It contains several anti-inflammatory components such as salicylates, polysaccharides, magnesium lactate and C-glucosyl chromone. It also contains antibacterial components.
Cosmetic companies use
Cosmetic formulas widely use
Onion bulb extract
Onion bulb extract deactivates most forms of bacteria, thus decreasing inflammation on the skin’s surface due to scarring. Its antibacterial properties also help to heal and prevent acne breakouts on the skin. Additionally, it may improve blood microcirculation and lessen redness as well as acting as a skin softener.
Panthenol, or vitamin B5, is a substance that comes from pantothenic acid. Cosmetic companies use panthenol in skin care products due to its moisturizing, soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties also make panthenol good for wound healing and for treating minor skin injuries such as minor burns and sunburn.
A 2020 study concludes that panthenol not only supports skin regeneration and facilitates wound healing but has anti-inflammatory and moisturizing effects on the skin.
Rosehip oil has many uses in the cosmetic industry. It may help to protect and hydrate the skin, fight free radical damage, reduce wrinkles, restore elasticity, correct dark spots and reduce the appearance of scars.
Shea butter originates from the shea tree and is an active ingredient in moisturizing creams and body and face creams due to its moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties as well as its ability to heal scars.
There is also clinical evidence which shows that vegetable butters and oils such as shea butter may improve skin conditions such as psoriasis and and atopic dematitis. However, more research is needed to fully understand how these oils and butters effect the skin after application.
Silicone is a component often found in scar creams, due to its hydrating and healing properties. It not only allows the skin to breathe but also helps scar tissue appear softer and flatter.
A 2018 study on the use of silicone gel to promote skin wound healing following tumor excisions on the scalp supports this claim.
Vitamin E has softening and hydrating properties and thus may help the appearance of scar tissue as well as promote healing.
However there is little evidence to support the claim that Vitamin E helps with scars. A
Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about scar cream.
How does scar cream work?
The way a scar cream works depends on its ingredients.
Some creams may work as an exfoliant, gently scrubbing away dead skin cells on and around the scar, which may help reduce the appearance of scarring.
Other creams may hydrate the skin, reducing the appearance of any scarring.
How well does scar cream really work?
The National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom states that sunscreen can help protect scars from sun damage, which can help reduce the appearance of scarring. Additionally, moisturizers can help keep the skin supple and prevent the skin around the scar from becoming dry.
How long does it take for scar cream to work?
It can take several months of using scar cream before a person notices a significant difference.
If a person is not happy with the results of the scar cream, they may wish to contact a dermatologist or other healthcare professional for further advice and recommendations to reduce the appearance of scarring.
The best scar cream to use will vary between individuals. The ingredients in these scar creams may help bring moisture to the skin or heal scar cells themselves.
Scar creams work slowly, but regular use may help reduce scar tissue appearance and improve the cells themselves.
Talking with a doctor or dermatologist about treating visible scars may help those worried or concerned about the scars.