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Scar creams contain ingredients that target scar tissue and help restore the skin’s natural look and feel. The best scar cream will depend on the type of scar, the ingredients in the cream, and a person’s skin health.

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 outside elements.

However, it sometimes creates imperfect cells that contain more collagen than healthy skin cells. Collagen is a protein in the body that helps structure 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.

Medical News Today chooses scar creams that fit the following criteria where possible:

  • Price: We choose products available for a wide range of budgets.
  • Ingredients: We select creams containing ingredients that may treat scars, such as silicone, allantoin, and shea butter.
  • Safety: We choose products that are clearly labeled and contain ingredients safe for topical use.
  • Skin concerns: We select scar creams that target specific skin concerns, such as burn scars, acne, and surgical scars.
  • Type of product: We choose products available in gel, cream, sheet, and oil forms.
  • Reputable: We select products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.
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Scar creams work in different ways to heal the tissue and help reduce the appearance of scars. Some skin creams contain mild exfoliants that rub away the top layer of skin cells and any dead skin.

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 may also take other precautions, such as keeping the damaged area out of direct sunlight or wearing sunscreen whenever possible.

Discover the best sunscreen for every skin type.

Below is a comparison chart of the scar creams in this article:

PriceSizeFormKey ingredientsDosage
Mederma$26.990.70 ounces (oz)gel• allantoin
• onion bulb extract
• panthenol
once a day
Scaraway$23.8010 sheetssheet• siliconeone sheet a day
Derma–E $19.952 ozgel• allicin
• allantoin
• panthenol
2–3 times daily
Honeydew $8.994 ozcream• shea butter
• rosehip oil
• jojoba oil
daily
Differin$14.990.5 ozgel• adapalene
• hydrochloric acid
daily
Mederma Kids$23.090.7 ozgel• allantoin
• onion bulb extract
daily
Cicatricure$12.991 ozgel• chamomile
• onion bulb extract
• aloe vera
4 times a day
Cimeosil$35.950.49 ozgel• silicone2 times daily

There are some important considerations 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 worsen symptoms.
  • 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 they stop using the product.
  • One at a time: A person may have to try a few different products before finding one that works. However, it is advisable to stick to one product at a time. This can help identify what works and what does not.

It is important to consider what works for one person might not suit someone else.

People may wish to speak with a healthcare professional, such as a dermatologist, to determine the best treatment for their scars.

A person’s skin may scar for several reasons. Some of the most common kinds of scars are as follows:

  • Flat scars (cicatrix scars): Flat scars are the most common type of scar and may occur due to injury or surgery. While these scars may appear reddish in color at first, they can heal to be slightly lighter or darker than the rest of the skin.
  • Raised scars (hypertrophic scars): These scars also occur due to injury and surgery. They are more likely to form on the shoulders, upper back, and chest. Unlike flat scars, raised scars have a raised and firm appearance. They may flatten over time but can take years.
  • Depressed scars (atrophic scars): These scars are below the top layer of the skin, forming a pitted or sunken look. One of the most common causes of depressed scars is severe acne or chickenpox.
  • Keloid scars: Keloids are raised masses that develop at the site of an injury. They may appear years after the original injury and can be painful and itchy. This type of scar does not go away without treatment.
  • Contracture scars: Some scars can be thicker and tighter than uninjured skin, leading to limited movement. Severe burns can cause contracture scars that make it difficult to move the affected area.
  • Stretch marks (striae): Stretch marks often occur due to the skin growing or shrinking rapidly, such as through puberty, weight gain or loss, and pregnancy. New stretch marks are often purple or red in color and lighten to silvery over time.

When it comes to the type of scar treatment a person buys over the counter, there may not be a significant difference in effectiveness.

Cream, gel, and sheets will all contain at least one of the active ingredients that may help promote wound healing with minimal scarring, such as silicone.

People may choose a product based on personal preference. Some people may prefer creams over the texture of gel. Others may prefer sheets they can dispose of afterward.

Scar creams may work best on fresher scars as they encourage the skin to heal with minimal scarring. Scars may also fade over time, although some may not disappear entirely.

However, scar creams can help moisturize the skin. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service recommends massaging fully healed wounds for 10 minutes per day to help reduce scarring.

Doctors can perform a wide range of different types of in-office surgical and nonsurgical scar treatments.

Hypertrophic scars and keloids

Healthcare professionals may treat hypertrophic scars and keloids with:

  • Corticosteroids: This medication has an anti-inflammatory effect that reduces fibroblast and collagen production, which can help minimize the appearance of scarring.
  • 5-Fluorouracil: This treatment is a type of chemotherapy that prevents increased collagen production. Healthcare professionals often use 5-Fluorouracil alongside corticosteroids, as it can reduce some of the side effects, such as skin lightening.
  • Silicone gel: Silicone can help improve the appearance of hypertrophic scars, as it reduces scar thickness. Healthcare professionals may recommend gel, sheet, or cream silicone.
  • Imiquimod: This cream is most useful after keloid removal, as it can help prevent the keloid from returning.

Depressed scars

A common form of treatment for depressed scars is subcision. This treatment involves healthcare professionals puncturing the skin surface with a needle and pushing it down into the dermis. Moving the needle back and forth underneath the scar can release the fibrous bands causing the depressions.

Elevated scars

Healthcare professionals may treat elevated scars with dermabrasion. This treatment is a deep exfoliation or “sanding” of the skin, removing the top layers to encourage regeneration. This may reduce the appearance of raised scars.

Acne scars

Healthcare professionals may treat acne scars with the following:

  • Microneedling: These rollers or pens have a range of needle lengths to penetrate different depths of the skin. Microneedling aims to encourage collagen and elastin production, minimizing scar appearances.
  • Laser treatment: This treatment helps inactivate collagen in the body by heating the immediate area, shortening collagen fibers, tightening the skin, and maintaining elasticity.
  • Chemical peels: This treatment involves a healthcare professional carefully applying a chemical to the skin, which removes layers of the skin and encourages new and healthy growth. While chemical peels come in superficial, medium, and deep forms, healthcare professionals will often only use superficial peels for acne scars.

Stretch marks

There are several treatments for stretch marks, or striae distansae, as no single type of treatment works for all people. Some treatments include:

  • Laser: This therapy increases collagen and melatonin production, which may reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP): Healthcare professionals may use PRP therapy alongside other treatments to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. This therapy increases collagen production and skin elasticity.
  • Microneedling: By using miniature needles, healthcare professionals cause inflammation, which can help speed up the healing process and reduce the appearance of scarring.
  • Light-based therapy: UVB, UVA, and infrared light therapy can help increase collagen production.
  • Chemical peels: This therapy may also be useful in reducing the appearance of stretch marks.
  • Carboxytherapy: Healthcare professionals carefully inject CO2 gas once per week for up to 12 weeks. This treatment stimulates blood circulation and collagen production and increases the skin’s elasticity.

The most effective scar removal cream depends on the ingredients and the type of scar a person has.

Some creams may work as an exfoliant, gently scrubbing away dead skin cells on and around the scar. Other creams may hydrate the skin. These may help reduce the appearance of scarring.

If a person is not happy with the results of the scar cream, they may wish to contact a dermatologist or other healthcare professional. They can offer further advice and recommendations to reduce the appearance of scarring.

Silicone scar treatments are effective at reducing the appearance of newer scars. Individuals who have undergone surgery may wish to use silicone creams, gels, or sheets as a healthcare professional directs.

It is important to note that it can take several months of using scar cream before a person notices a significant difference.

Scar creams may effectively heal wounds and scar tissue if they contain research-backed ingredients such as silicone and allantoin. However, these products do not work overnight. It may take weeks or months to see a noticeable difference in skin, especially as wounds and scars differ in size and depth.

The most effective treatment for scars depends on the person’s scar and its location, size, and depth. Some scars will be more superficial and may appear on the face. Other scars may be longer and deeper. These could appear on parts of the body. Oils, creams, or gels may work better in some areas, whereas scar sheets may suit other areas better.

Individuals may look at the ingredients to see which product suits their skin type. For example, a person with sensitive skin may wish to avoid harsh chemicals that could irritate their skin.

People may wish to speak with a healthcare professional or doctor if they are unsure which scar treatment to use.

The best scar cream to use will vary between individuals. The ingredients in these scar creams may help moisturize the skin or heal scar cells themselves.

Scar creams work slowly, but regular use may help reduce scar tissue appearance and improve the cells.

If someone has concerns about the appearance of their scars, it may help to talk with a doctor or dermatologist about the possible treatments.