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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, the ingredients in the cream, and an individual’s skin health.
- Best overall: Mederma Advanced Scar Gel | Skip to review
- Best for surgical scars: Scaraway Clear Silicone Scar Sheets | Skip to review
- Best natural treatment: Derma-E Scar Gel | Skip to review
- Best for stretch marks: Honeydew Concealing Cream | Skip to review
- Best for acne scarring: Differin Adapalene Gel | Skip to review
- Best for kids: Mederma for Kids | Skip to review
- Best for the face: Cicatricure Face and Body Scar Gel | Skip to review
- Best for laser burns: Cimeosil Scar and Laser Gel | Skip to review
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.
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: Wechoose products available for a wide range of budgets.
- Ingredients: Wechoose creams containing ingredients that may treat scars, such as silicone, allantoin, and shea butter.
- Safety: Weselect 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: Wechoose products available in gel, cream, sheet, and oil forms.
- Reputable: Weselect products from businesses that adhere to industry best practices.
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.
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:
• onion bulb extract
|once a day
|one sheet a day
|2-3 times daily
|• shea butter
• rosehip oil
• jojoba oil
• hydrochloric acid
• onion bulb extract
• onion bulb extract
• aloe vera
|4 times a day
|2 times daily
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 product.
- 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. 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:
- 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 be 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, these have a raised and firm appearance. These scars may flatten over time, but it 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 away over time, although some may not disappear entirely.
However, scar creams can help moisturize the skin. The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) recommends massaging fully healed wounds for 10 minutes per day to help reduce scarring.
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 for 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, 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. A person with sensitive skin, for example, may avoid harsh chemicals that could irritate their skin.
People may wish to speak with their 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.
Talking with a doctor or dermatologist about treating visible scars may help those worried or concerned about the scars.