As we age, scars begin to mark our bodies. Scars can serve as markers of the time that symbolize a life well-lived — ie the one you got when you brought another human being into the world — but they can also serve unpleasant reminders of painful experiences, like that time you took a nasty tumble off your bike as a child. While a way to make scars completely disappear has yet to be discovered, the best scar removal creams and treatments can help you come pretty close. Keep reading to learn more about scars and the five products we love for smoothing and fading them.
Types of Scars
While most of us tend to have a simple image in our minds of what a scar is, there are actually many different kinds. From small atrophic acne scars to raised surgical scars and yes, even stretch marks, we’ve broken down the four most common types.
Hypertrophic scars: If your scars are thick and raised, you have a hypertrophic scar. Formed as a result of too much collagen being produced by the skin as it heals, hypertrophic scars can turn into keloids, or excessive scar tissue that begins to form over the site of the injury, resulting in a puffy protrusion. These scars also tend to be itchy and can be tender or even painful.
Atrophic scars: Most commonly seen in people with a history of cystic acne or the chickenpox, atrophic scars are indented ones that are most commonly seen on the face, but can be found all over the body. They tend to have a sunken appearance that leaves the skin looking uneven or “pocked.”
Contracture scars: Also known as burn scars, contracture scars are often flat and shiny in appearance. Depending on the type and degree of your burn, contracture scars can cover large areas of the skin and even affect tissue below the skin.
Stretch marks: While many tend to see stretch marks as a separate skin issue, they are actually are a type of scarring. Stretch marks occur during rapid skin expansion as a result of pregnancy, weight gain, and growth spurts.
Best Scar Cream
Ready to clear up your skin? From creams that can make your scars virtually disappear overnight to oils that can make stretch marks a thing of the past, we’ve got a scar solution for you. Keep scrolling for Woman’s World’s picks for the best scar creams and treatments you need to know about.
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Best Scar Cream
Where to buy: $17.49 (Originally $24.99), Dermstore
If there’s one scar cream you’ve heard of it, it’s Mederma ($29.04, Amazon) — and for good reason. Though the original is favorite of scar sufferers everywhere, the brand has now released a nighttime version called Mederma PM that’s well on its way to superseding its predecessor. Formulated to help soften and smooth scars as you sleep — when your body’s healing ability is at its peak — this clinically-proven formula reduces the size of old and new scars by as much as 30 percent after just two weeks of treatment and 50 percent after just two months, according to a brand study. Great for atrophic scars caused by surgery, accidents, injury, burns, acne, and stretch marks, this night cream will leave your skin smoother and virtually scar-free in no time.
One Dermstore buyer raved about this cream, writing, “I have been using it for about two weeks and I see a difference on my acne scars, they look smoother and my skin is softer!”
Best Natural Scar Cream
COS Naturals Stretch Mark and Scar Cream
Where to buy: $24.95, Amazon
Looking for a natural way to fade your scars? Pick up a bottle of COS Naturals’ stretch mark and scar cream. Designed to nourish the skin and naturally promote healing, this cream uses a blend of skin-soothing ingredients, such as vitamins B, C, and E, plus hyaluronic acid (a natural hydrating assistant found within our skin) to fade the look of old scars, reduce inflammation caused by stress on the skin, and help prevent the formation of future stretch marks.
On happy buyer shared, “I only write reviews if the product absolutely blew my mind away, and this definitely did! I loved this product! [I] didn’t think I would get much of a difference … but I’ve been using it for a little over a week and I already notice a huge difference. My stretch marks are going away for sure!”
Best Scar Serum
Kate Somerville’s D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum
Where to buy: $48, Sephora
If you’re one of the 50 million Americans suffering from acne, you know that atrophic acne scarring can be a real confidence zapper. Thankfully, Kate Somerville’s D-Scar Scar Diminishing serum exists so your acne-related scars don’t have to. Designed to reduce both the appearance of scars and uneven skin texture, this serum is infused with DS-7, a micro-encapsulated peptide that’s essential to the skin’s renewal process, and botanical extracts that help promote cell turnover and healing.
One joyous customer raved, “This is actually the first product that worked for my old and new acne scars! I tried different lightening/brightening products (spend a lot of money on it) and nothing really worked. . . IT CHANGED MY LIFE!!! I’ve been using it for five weeks, I see a huge difference already and [I’m] excited about seeing improvements in my skin! I struggled with this problem for a LONG time! Just try it!”
Best Scar Gel
Where to buy: $11.93, Amazon
A drugstore staple, this clinically-supported treatment is known for its ability to flatten and soften raised scars, reduce redness, and fade discoloration of scars both old and new. Featuring a patented, transparent, self-drying silicone gel technology, ScarAway is odorless, transparent, silky smooth, non-greasy, and safe to apply on all sizes and types of scars, including hypertrophic, atrophic, contracture scars. New York City dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD elaborated on the benefits of this silicone technology to FIRST earlier this month, sharing, “It creates a barrier of hydration that normalizes collagen production, which flattens the area.”
Users are also loving this gel, with one writing, “I used this product on the scar from my knee replacement surgery. The scar was thick and raised. It looked like a dark red earthworm on my knee. After only three weeks of twice daily application, the scar is a light pink and is almost flat. I am impressed by how quickly the effect was seen.”
Best Oil for Scars
Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
Where to buy: $16.49 (Originally $21.99), ULTA
Oil has been used to heal and treat skin ailments for centuries, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find one on this list. A best-seller for decades now, Bio-Oil skincare oil is in a league of its own. It uses a blend of vitamins A and E alongside a combination of plant extracts, such as chamomile, lavender, calendula, and rosemary oils to nurture and hydrate skin. It also includes breakthrough ingredient “PurCellin Oil,” which changes the formulation’s overall consistency to make it light and non-greasy. When combined, this formula makes hypertrophic, atrophic, contracture scars, and stretch marks smoother and less visible.
One reviewer called this, “the best oil I’ve ever tried,” explaining, “I used mainly to lighten my scars on my body and the hyperpigmentation on my face. Within a few weeks, my scars were significantly lighter and flatter. I also use it after the shower and it leaves my skin feeling so soft and not sticky. It also smells amazing. I don’t plan on using another oil.”
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