We all have skin issues at some point, or another and scars can be one of the most embarrassing and hard-to-treat problems you might face. Injuries develop from burns, surgeries, and acne conditions and they can cause noticeable changes in the look of your skin.
If scar tissue develops on your face or other apparent areas, you might experience anxiety about your appearance and feel self-conscious because of it.
Even if you don’t have problems now, it might surprise you to learn that scars darken over time from sunlight and exposure. Luckily, there are products on the market to address either of these problems.
Before you start looking for a scar cream, it will help if you learn the types of scar tissue that can form and how much improvement you can expect for the type of scar you’re dealing with:
‘Line’ type – scars that heal as a red or pink line and usually fades as time passes (think paper cuts or a cat scratch)
Keloid & hypertrophic – thick due to overproduction of collagen; keloid are bigger and can grow to interfere with movement while hypertrophic will fade and thin slightly over time (usually a result of major abrasions and injuries)
Atrophic – typically appears as a pit or sunken tissue because of lost collagen (these are the infamous ‘ice pick’ acne scars and stretch marks we all recognize!)
Contraction – less common overall and formed from tightening of the skin after burn healing
Keep in mind that staying hydrated is vitally important during wound healing and scar formation. In fact, some of the most promising treatments rely on keeping your skin moist to promote the best chance for healing. So whether you’re dealing with a new scar or an old one, drink up because the moisture content of your skin can affect your results!
While most people see results with these over the counter scar products, other factors like sensitive skin and dermatological conditions could influence which products will or won’t work best for you. If you’re just beginning to treat the scar, you’ll need to make sure your wound is completely healed and that the cream you choose can easily be incorporated into your existing skin regimen.
Navigating your options when it comes to scar care might be confusing and overwhelming. If you’re tired of stressing about your appearance and sick of hiding blemishes with makeup or clothing, our in-depth guide will help you narrow down your options and find the scar cream that will work best for you
Best Scar Removal Creams
Kelo-Cote Advanced Formula Scar Gel
The gel is made of silicon dioxide and long-chain polymers, which is just a confusing way to describe silicon molecules that are connected in a chain. Now, you might be wondering what silicone has to do with skincare, but it’s a proven treatment for healing wounds, and it makes sense that the same properties could work on scars.
When Kelo-Cote is applied to the skin, those polymers and the silicone dioxide work together, forming an ideal mat that sits on the injury to soften and heal it for up to 24 hours. If you’re dealing with abnormal or heavy scars (like keloids or hypertrophic), silicone gels may offer the best chance for long-term improvement.
There will inevitably be times you’ll need to apply makeup, sunscreen, or clothing over your scar cream and Kelo-Cote dries nicely into a thin, invisible layer that’s safe to use first but won’t interfere with other products you put over it.
If you suffer from skin allergies or sensitivity, you might want to try Kelo-Cote because of the super short ingredients list that contains no irritants, additives, or fragrance. Silicone gels are a new, but promising scar treatment technology and Kelo-Cote is a product to consider, especially if you have thick scars or your skin isn’t showing improvement from other methods. (The Efficacy of Silicone Gel for the Treatment of Hypertrophic Scars and Keloids)
How to Use:
After cleaning and thoroughly drying the skin area, apply Kelo-Cote thinly to the scar tissue and allow to dry before applying other products. Repeat for a total of two applications per day.
Pros and Cons
- no fragrances, oils, or additives
- available in a variety of sizes between 10 grams and 2 ounces, making it easy to treat larger areas if needed
- lightweight and comfortable to wear under makeup or sunscreen
- effective for keloid and hypertrophic scarring
- If you’re managing a larger area of the body, the gel may take some extra time to dry before you get dressed
- Skin complications are rare but could be more likely if you have a history of skin allergies or live in a warmer weather climate
Mederma PM Intensive Overnight Scar Cream
The major players on the ingredients list here are the emollient known as dimethicone and onion extract. Now, your instinct (and mine!) might be to avoid putting onion anywhere near your face, but evidence indicates that the extract of allium cepae, or onion, is useful in fading dark or irregular scar spots and Mederma uses it across their product line. (The prophylactic use of a topical scar gel containing extract of Allium cepae)
Unlike other Mederma daytime treatments, the PM Intensive Overnight Cream goes on at night and shouldn’t need to be applied under makeup, sunscreen, or other moisturizers. If you have sensitive or distressed skin, late applications might be ideal because your skin won’t be trying to heal while undergoing more damage from the environment.
Even better, this cream delivers a powerful boost of vitamins and amino acids that nourish your skin while you sleep. The active ingredient, Dimethicone, sounds complicated but is just a safe, efficient skin moisturizer and protectant. After all, you’re going to want to ‘seal in’ all those nourishing ingredients and let them work while avoiding any more damage.
How to Use:
At bedtime, apply a thin, even layer of Mederma PM Intensive Overnight Cream to clean skin of the affected scar area and massage gently into the skin until absorbed. Repeat nightly.
Pros and Cons
- natural onion extract for fading dark spots
- meant for use at bedtime so you can apply makeup and other products during the day
- lots of nourishing goodies like aloe, vitamin E, amino acids and peptides
- contains fragrance that could irritate the susceptible skin
- older scars may take 3-6 months to show improvement with nightly application
Selevax by Service Intensive Scar Cream
If you’re dealing with dull skin and scars, Selevax might be worth considering because it combines components known to improve scars (like silicone and dimethicone) with a whole list of vitamins, antioxidants, and essential oils that boost and revitalize your skin while it heals.
You can apply Selevax to all types of scars with noticeable results possible within 30-60 days. This is excellent news because Service offers a 90-day money-back guarantee and return period.
Plus, their creams are manufactured in an FDA approved facility in the United States so you’ll never have to worry about a compromised product. Service also donates a portion of all sales to the Save the Children Foundation, so you can know you’re giving back to a good cause every time you order it!
How to Use:
Apply to clean skin twice per day and repeat daily until you achieve desired results
Pros and Cons
- Suitable for all over the body
- Fragrance free
- Cream nourishes skin and treats scars
- Money-back guarantee
- Purchase goes toward charitable donation
- Users with sensitive skin may want to avoid the essential oils and vitamins in this cream
- Contains retinyl palmitate, an ingredient that the Environmental Watch Group believes may cause your skin to be more easily damaged by sun exposure (Retinyl Palmitate)
Evanesce Advanced Scar & Blemish Treatment
Evanesce, made by Natura Science Labs, designed for use on all types of scars, old and new. It’s one of the few scar creams on the market to offer something called Epidermal Growth Factor, a promising treatment for scars that’s been proven effective in wound care.
(Epidermal Growth Factor) When you apply Evanesce, Epidermal Growth Factor will work to stimulate cell production and proper tissue growth while your skin benefits from an extra boost of Vitamin C and collagen at the same time!
Evanesce is an all-natural product with an easy-to-read ingredients list. It applies quickly and easily under makeup or sunscreen, which makes it great for using every day. If you’re worried about taking a chance on a new product that might not work for you, Natura Labs lets you try Evanesce risk-free. They’re so confident you’ll love this cream that they’ll make you return it for a full refund if you’re not completely satisfied.
How to Use:
Apply twice every day to clean skin and allow to dry. Apply your preferred sunscreen to the dry area.
Pros and Cons
- Contains epidermal growth factor, a clinically proven healing agent in wound care
- Nourishes skin with all natural vitamins & extracts
- Fragrance free
- Available in one size only; you might need multiple containers for more massive scars
- Sensitive skin sufferers could have issues with some of the ingredients
DermaSafe Stretch Mark & Scar Defense Therapy
You probably know how great Aloe Vera is for your skin and that it’s been used as a moisturizer and healing agent for thousands of years.
(Aloe Vera: A Short Review) DermaSafe knows this too, and that’s why organic Aloe is the primary ingredient in their Stretch Mark & Scar Defense Therapy.
Other elements to note in this cream are dimethicone (that skin protectant we mentioned earlier) and the addition of peptides, which are just amino acid chains that exist naturally in your body already. Peptides are an exciting area of study in cosmetics and skincare, and DermaSafe Defense Therapy includes peptides that promote collagen production and reduce inflammation. (Topical Peptide Treatments with Effective Anti-Aging Results)
Now, keep in mind that DermaSafe is designed for skin defense and to prevent and minimize skin scarring. If you’re dealing with ancient, thick, or discolored areas, you might first want to consider other products that are more targeted toward breaking down and minimizing scar tissue. However, if you’re concerned with new scarring or your skin is still actively undergoing damage, this is the go-to cream to consider.
Since it’s marketed explicitly for stretch marks, DermaSafe gives you a more significant product quantity than many retailers so you can apply it generously to large areas of your body. And if you’re the type that worries about how products are manufactured and tested, you’ll feel better knowing that DermaSafe guarantees their products are made in the United States and never tested on animals.
How to Use:
Apply twice daily to the area of concern.
Pros and Cons
- Contains nourishing Aloe Vera & regenerative peptides
- Large product quantity ideal for large scars and stretch marks
- Designed for prevention and defense
- Not tested on animals
- Might not be ideal for older or massive scarring
- Not fragrance-free
- Contains uncommon extracts like green bean and wood mallow that sensitive skin or severe allergy sufferers might want to avoid
As we’ve discussed, there are a lot of factors that go into choosing a scar treatment product. No matter what you decide, keep the following ideas in mind to help you formulate the best plan of attack for your type of scarring:
Stay hydrated by drinking enough water. All scar treatments have one thing in common: maintaining moisture on the skin. The more you can hydrate from the inside-out, the better chance you have to heal old scars and prevent new ones from forming.
Always use sunscreen with your scar treatment. Sun exposure is known to exaggerate the appearance and color of scar tissue, so the less UV damage, the better. Since many scars won’t tan, going without sunscreen means you’re more likely to develop uneven skin color, especially in the summer months.
Scars are permanent. Regardless of the treatment or how long it’s used, most scars will remain visible at least a little bit. Make sure you understand the type of injury and tissue damage that you’re trying to treat. Having realistic expectations will help you track your progress better and avoid frustration or disappointment.
Scar treatments take time. You might see noticeable results as soon as a few weeks, but you may have to use the product consistently for several months to see significant improvements. Take pictures along the way so you can track your progress!