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Although some people wear their scars like badges of honor, others want to lighten and reduce their appearance as easily as possible.

Not all scars respond well to at-home treatments, but for those that do, we combed the market to find the most effective scar creams and treatments available without a prescription.

We looked at the active ingredients in popular products and consulted what the research had to say on each. We also culled reviews from people who have used scar ointments and creams to find out what works and what doesn’t.

These products come from trusted manufacturers and contain ingredients known to reduce the appearance of scars.

Each product has been vetted by our team for business and medical standards. Read more about our process.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = $20–$40
  • $$$ = over $40

Best scar cream overall

Mederma Advanced Scar Gel

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 0.7 ounces (oz.)
  • Key ingredients: Onion extract contains anti-inflammatory compounds and phenolic antioxidants. Allantoin reduces itching, irritation, and dryness.

This scar cream is supposed to work well for any type of scar — including those from burns, cuts, surgery, or acne — whether the scar is new or old.

Reviewers tout the moisturizing, healing properties of the cream and say it’s easy to use. Those with sensitive skin also praise the product.

One thing to note: This scar cream doesn’t contain sunscreen. Since sun exposure can worsen the appearance of scars, opt for Mederma +SPF 30 Scar Cream if you’ll be spending time out in the sun with your scars exposed.

Pros

  • reduces appearance of old and new scars
  • eliminates redness
  • improves skin texture
  • only has to be applied once a day

Cons

Best scar cream for face

SkinCeuticals Phyto +

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 1 oz.
  • Key ingredients: Arbutin glycoside and kojic acid work at lightening heavily pigmented scars. Hyaluronate penetrates skin and provides moisture. Thyme oil contains thymol, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

This serum’s ingredients help with scarring and discoloration while also brightening the skin. While the arbutin and kojic acid get to work on the scars, the thyme and cucumber extracts soothe and brighten the skin.

SkinCeuticals says this serum will work well for all skin types. Reviewers say there’s no smell associated with the product. Users should apply one or two drops twice a day and follow with a moisturizer and sunscreen.

Reviewers say it works well for their hands and face.

Pros

  • has benefits for both old and new scars
  • fragrance-free
  • works well for all skin types
  • brightens the skin while reducing the appearance of scars and discoloration

Cons

  • pricey
  • recommended to apply twice a day with moisturizer and sunscreen

Best scar creams after surgery

Cica-Care Gel Sheet

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 5 inches by 6 inches
  • Key ingredient: Medical-grade silicones have been clinically proven to be one of the most effective at-home scar treatments available for a variety of scar types, including hypertrophic, keloid, acne, and burn scars, as well as surgical scars, including those from a cesarean delivery.

Reviewers say Cira-Care Silicone Gel Sheets are effective for softening and smoothing down scar tissue as well as for improving scar color and texture.

The sheets are comfortable to wear on most areas of the body. They can also be washed and reused several times, and, according to reviewers, they hold up well. Reviewers commented on the reusability even after multiple wears and washes.

To use, simply cut down the sheets to match the size of the scar area.

Pros

  • comfortable
  • reusable

Cons

  • may not stay in place as well on areas with lots of movement (like joints)
  • may need medical tape to help stay in place

Best scar creams for laser burns

Cimeosil Scar and Laser Gel

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 0.18 oz.
  • Key ingredient: Medical-grade silicone products have been clinically proven to be one of the most effective at-home scar treatments available for a variety of scar types, including hypertrophic, keloid, acne, and burn scars, as well as surgical scars, including those from a cesarean delivery.

If you need to apply gel more precisely or don’t want to also use a bandage, silicone gel may be a better fit for you than silicone patches.

Cimeosil Scar and Laser Gel is designed for use on scars caused by lasers, burns, cuts, and scrapes. Cimeosil states the product works particularly well for reducing keloid and hypertrophic scars.

The gel is meant to be applied twice a day. It’s water-resistant and can be worn under makeup.

Some users comment on the gel’s thickness and say it feels sticky. However, the directions state to simply wipe off any excess to remove the sticky feeling.

Pros

  • can be applied to a small or large area
  • doesn’t need a bandage to stay in place
  • works well for keloid and hypertrophic scars
  • water-resistant

Cons

  • may feel sticky
  • thick consistency

Best scar cream for burns

ScarAway Silicone Scar Gel

  • Price: $
  • Size: 0.35 oz.
  • Key ingredient: Medical-grade silicone products have been clinically proven to be one of the most effective at-home scar treatments available for a variety of scar types, including hypertrophic, keloid, acne, and burn scars, as well as surgical scars, including those from a cesarean delivery.

ScarAway Silicone Scar Gel may work well for scars from surgery, mole removal, acne treatment, and burns.

The gel should be applied twice daily.

Reviewers comment on the lack of odor and easy-to-apply nature.

ScarAway says its roll-on scar gel works well for children as well as people with sensitive skin. However, some users say the roll-on application is tedious for large scars or slightly painful for more sensitive scars.

For larger scars, using this product wouldn’t be as cost-efficient in the long term, according to some reviewers.

Pros

  • inexpensive
  • water-resistant
  • good for active lifestyles
  • can be worn under makeup

Cons

  • some reviewers dislike the roller ball applicator
  • may not be cost efficient for larger areas

Best scar cream for acne

Tosowoong Green Tea Natural Pure Essence

Most reviewers of Tosowoong’s Green Tea Natural Pure Essence brightening treatment say they use it for their acne-prone skin. People say it works well for sensitive skin by not causing flares or breakouts. Additionally, it has a thick consistency, which some reviews say helps moisturize their skin.

One thing to note is that the formulation includes witch hazel extract, which can be irritating for sensitive skin.

Pros

  • brightens skin
  • absorbs easily
  • no smell or sticky residue

Cons

  • contains witch hazel
  • may be irritating to sensitive skin

Best scar cream for body

Honeydew Blemish Cream

  • Price: $
  • Size: 4 oz.
  • Key ingredient: Vitamin E helps to lighten the look of old and new scars.

This affordable scar cream doubles as a moisturizer. It’s infused with pure, hydrating ingredients, like vitamin E, rosehip oil, and avocado oil. After continued use, you’ll begin to notice the fading of both old and new scars.

This cream also helps out with stretch mark concealment.

Bonus: There are no parabens or silicones used in this product.

Pros

  • infused with natural ingredients, like vitamin E, rosehip oil, and avocado oil
  • reduces the appearance of wrinkles
  • unscented

Cons

  • takes a few months of use to see noticeable differences

Best scar cream for kids

Mederma for Kids

  • Price: $
  • Size:.7 oz
  • Key ingredient: Allantoin works to reduce itching, irritation, and dryness.

Medical scars from scrapes, stitches, burns, and insect bites don’t stand a chance against this safe and gentle scar cream formulated for kids. Use this cream three times daily for 8 weeks on newer scars and 3 to 6 months on older scars.

This cream goes on purple and rubs in clear — guaranteed to get the kids excited.

Pros

  • safe for kids to use
  • helps speed up collagen production and cell renewal
  • kid-friendly scent

Cons

  • takes a few months of use to notice a difference
  • cannot be used on broken skin

Best scar cream for superficial scars

Derma E Scar Gel

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 2 oz.
  • Key ingredients: Allicin helps reduce the appearance of scars. Allantoin conditions the skin to reduce the appearance of scars.

Combat superficial scarring, like sunburns and stretch marks, with this easy-to-apply gel. Allicin and allantoin work in conjunction to soften and smooth scars for healthy-looking skin.

If you’re looking to stick to all-natural ingredients (or if you’re allergic to silicone) this gel is a great option. It uses antioxidants and vitamin B5 to keep the skin supple and hydrated.

Apply two to three times daily for 8 weeks, or for old scars apply twice a day for 3 to 6 months.

Pros

  • cruelty-free
  • vegan

Cons

  • takes a longer time to see results when compared with medical-grade silicone-based gels

PriceSizeKey ingredients
Mederma Advanced Scar Gel$$.7 oz– allantoin
– onion bulb extract
SkinCeuticals Phyto +$$$1 oz– arbutin glycoside
– kojic acid
– thyme oil
– hyaluronate
Cica-Care Gel Sheet$$5 inches by 6 inchesmedical-grade silicone
Cimeosil Scar and Laser Gel$$.18 ozmedical-grade silicone
ScarAway Silicone Scar Gel$.35 ozmedical-grade silicone
Tosowoong Green Tea Natural Pure Essence$2 ozgreen tea leaf extract
Honeydew Scar Cream$4 oz.vitamin E
Mederma for Kids$.7 ozallantoin
Derma E Scar Gel$$2 oz– allantoin
– allicin

  • Ask a doctor. It’s best to talk with a doctor, like a dermatologist, about the best type of treatment for your scar. This can save you time and money in the long run. They can also offer suggestions and tips and answer any questions or concerns.
  • Look for effective ingredients. Consider products with ingredients that have been shown to be effective at reducing the appearance of scars. These include:
  • Read the full ingredients list. Double-check the full list of ingredients, including inactive ingredients, to make sure the scar cream doesn’t contain anything you’re sensitive or allergic to.
  • Know the manufacturer. Look for information on the manufacturer. If it’s difficult to find information about the company or the product beyond third-party retail sites, this can be a red flag. Always buy from a trusted manufacturer. If a product’s claims seem too good to be true, they probably are.
  • Be price smart. There are effective scar creams across all price points, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that the most expensive is the best.

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  • Read the label. When using a scar cream, follow the package directions. Some scar creams are meant to be used once a day. If so, using them more often won’t make your scar heal any faster.
  • Start with a clean area. Wash and dry your skin where the cream or silicone sheet will be applied.
  • Use in combination. Talk with a doctor about supplementary treatments, which may make the use of scar cream more effective. These include skin massage and wearing compression garments.
  • Don’t use too soon. Remember that wounds don’t heal overnight. Scars, whether old or new, don’t change overnight. Trying to reduce a scar before your skin has fully healed can make it worse.
  • Have patience and be persistent. Use the product as directed for the amount of time indicated. It may take 2 to 6 months before you begin to see significant results.

Scars vary in type and severity. Mild scars tend to lighten and fade on their own over time, becoming almost invisible.

However, severe or deep scars may only be faded with medical treatments such as:

For scars that fall somewhere in between mild and severe, at-home treatments, including scar creams, may have benefits.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends talking with a doctor before using over-the-counter (OTC) scar cream. They can determine if it’ll be beneficial for the type of scar you have.

In some instances, your doctor may recommend waiting up to 1 year for the scar to completely heal and mature before any treatment is attempted. In other instances, immediate treatment will be recommended.

Q&A with Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN

Can scar creams work?

Scar creams can definitely affect many types of scars. The type and age of your scar as well as your age will often determine how effective a scar cream will be.

What are the limitations of scar creams when it comes to scar reduction?

A limitation of scar cream is the fact that no treatment is universally successful for every type of scar. Scars may require a combination of treatments that will often include scar creams.

The severity of the scar will often determine the success of treatment or whether a scar cream alone will be helpful.

You should be aware that many types of treatments have a limited success rate. Keep in mind that when using scar creams, it may take several months before results are seen.

Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Scarring is a common part of healing

Scarring can be caused by cuts, burns, surgery, acne, and a host of other issues that affect skin. When you have a wound, your skin attempts to close itself in an effort to shield your body from germs and bacteria. This closure becomes a scar.

For some people, scars, including surgery scars, reduce or fade on their own if left alone and without any special attention.

Scars need different kinds of attention

Scar tissue doesn’t contain sweat glands, but it may contain blood vessels. It may appear to be thicker than your regular skin but it is, in fact, weaker.

Scar tissue in a wound is formed quickly by parallel collagen fibers. If too much collagen is produced, the scar may become raised, forming a hypertrophic scar.

If a significant amount of excess collagen is produced, a keloid scar may form. This type of scar grows larger than the original wound and is best checked out by a doctor.

You can’t control every part of scarring

The susceptibility of skin to form certain types of scars, such as keloids, may have a genetic link. Your age may also affect the severity of the scars you get.

Some scars do well with scar creams

Scar creams aren’t right for everyone or for every scar. Many scars do, however, respond well to OTC products such as the ones mentioned in this article.

Silicone is the most commonly found ingredient in scar creams, and while some people may experience slight irritation, very few people are allergic to silicone.

Read the ingredients list before purchasing a scar cream to make sure you aren’t allergic to any of the ingredients.

As always, consult a dermatologist if you have any concerns or want something more intense than an OTC cream or gel.

How does scar cream work?

Generally speaking, scar creams work by:

  • moisturizing the upper layer of skin
  • trapping in moisture by providing a protective barrier
  • helping cells in the connective tissue below the scar regenerate

This may be achieved and supported by various ingredients, including medical-grade silicone. Some scar creams also contain ingredients that help brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of discoloration.

How long does it take for scar cream to work?

This depends on the type of scar, age of the scar, and age of the person.

Scar creams will have directions to follow that will also state the length of recommended use, which can range from a few weeks to several months.

What’s the best way to heal a scar?

It’s best to talk with a doctor about the best way to heal your particular scar. This is because there are so many factors at play, including the type of scar, whether it’s new or old, and your age.

Oftentimes, if medical treatment isn’t an option, OTC scar creams can be used with other remedies, such as compression garments, skin massages, and moisturizing the skin.

What else can I do for scars?

You can look into surgical removal if your scar is deep and isn’t responding well to scar creams after months of usage. You can also look into lasers or injectables to lighten or reduce the appearance.

How do I avoid scarring?

It’s important to clean a new wound as soon as possible. From there, you need to keep the area moist and covered to avoid any bacteria. Minimize movement of that area and make sure not to touch the scab.

What are the negative effects of scar cream?

Some users may experience burning, irritation, itchiness, and redness after application.

Scar creams can be an effective choice for certain types of scars.

The ingredients in OTC scar reduction products that have been clinically found to be the most effective include silicone and onion extract.