While many people chose to embrace their scars and proudly display them, others may want to reduce their appearance as quickly and effectively as possible. If you fall into the latter category and are looking for a way to minimize old or new scars, the easiest way to do so is with a high-quality scar cream.
Removing scars altogether is usually an impossible feat, but with the right products, you can make them much less noticeable. Since there are many different types of scarring and items on the market to choose from, we talked to two dermatologists to get the scoop on everything you need to know about choosing the right option for your scars needs.
These are the best scar creams to shop:
Best Overall: Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
Best Dermatologist Pick: Derma E Scar Gel
Best for Acne Scars: The Ordinary Deciem Azelaic Acid Suspension
Best for Face: Honeydew Scar Cream
Best for Body: Cicatricure Scar Gel
Best for After Surgery: ScarAway Medical-Grade Silicone Scar Sheets
Best for Burns: MD Performance Ultimate Scar Formula
Best for Old Scars: Cutie Academy Scar Removal Gel Ointment
Best for Kids: Mederma for Kids
What is a Scar Cream?
Firstly it's important to understand how scars are formed. "The injured skin produces a protein called collagen to help repair itself. As the skin begins to heal, thickened, discolored areas form. Once it has healed, the darkness of the skin (scar) depends on the degree of the trauma. The more trauma to the skin, the longer it is going to take for the wound to heal, and also the greater the chance of having an obvious scar," said Dr. Debra Jaliman, board-certified NYC dermatologist, Assistant Professor of Dermatology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and author of the book, Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.
That's where a scar cream comes in. "Scar creams are meant to target dark marks and minor textural changes. They help to promote cellular turnover and fade hyperpigmentation or discoloration," said Dr. Dendy Engelman, cosmetic dermatologist and surgeon at Shafer Clinic in New York City. "A scar cream will help minimize the appearance of a scar by helping reduce scar tissue. It reduces irritation and redness that is usually associated with scars," added Dr. Jaliman.
How to Properly Use a Scar Cream?
While each product will have its own set of instructions on how often to use it, both dermatologists say it's important to be consistent with the applications as it will take a few weeks for them to start working.
Dr. Engelman's biggest piece of advice when using scar creams is to start using them as soon as a scar forms, because "it's easier to treat scars when they are fresh." Dr. Jaliman agreed, adding, "It all depends on the severity and depth of the scar. But taking proper care of your trauma initially is crucial, because it will ultimately dictate how it heals."
What to Look For In a Scar Cream?
When it comes to choosing the right scar cream for your scar, there are certain ingredients that you should look for. Dr. Engelmen suggests looking for an option that features "active ingredients such as hydroquinone, kojic acid, phytic acid, l-ascorbic acid, or glycolic acid, as they brighten the skin and promote cellular turnover to reveal younger, healthier cells, fade dark spots and improve overall skin tone."
Dr. Jaliman says scar creams are great for minimizing more superficial scars, and she suggests using products that feature allantoin and vitamin E to soften and hydrate the skin, vitamin A which encourages healthy skin cell production, and allicin which helps prevent scar tissue from forming.
As for deeper scars, she recommends using silicone sheets because they "normalize collagen synthesis and reduce irritation and redness that is usually associated with scars." As Dr. Jaliman explains, "The end result is a smoother, flatter scar. Plus, they keep bacteria away from the scar."
Ready to give one of these innovative treatments a try? With these dermatologist guidelines in mind, we found nine scar creams and sheets that shoppers say greatly improved the appearance of their scars. Keep reading to learn more about them all and shop one for yourself.
Best Overall: Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
In addition to being Amazon’s best-selling scar reducing treatment, this Mederma cream has also racked up more than 7,500 five-star ratings from customers raving about how quickly and effectively it lessened the appearance of their scars. According to the brand, it has been clinically proven to “improve the overall appearance, color, and texture” of both old and new scars. Plus, shoppers love that it only needs to be applied once a day, as it saves them time and money. “Going into six months using Mederma on my scars from open heart surgery, and it is an AMAZING improvement,” wrote one reviewer. “I noticed a change in the first few weeks, but after two months, the color of the scars was considerably lighter and the skin texture was smoother. Now, one scar you can’t see anymore, and my major scar has improved so much even my doctors are amazed. It did wonders for my self esteem.”