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Best Scar Creams: 10 Effective Options for Smoother Skin

Scar Cream
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Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.

Updated March 10, 2024

Scars are a fact of life—some of us have big ones, and some of them have small ones, but almost everyone has a physical reminder of a tumble, acne, or surgery. I've had a large scar on my upper lip since I was in a car accident in my teens. A dermatologist initially helped me, but I've been searching for the perfect scar cream for ages. I've curated a list of the top performers based on proven results, quality ingredients, and scientific backing to help you fade scars and have smoother, healthier skin.

What to look for in a scar cream

Types of scars

There are different kinds of scars and the recommended treatment for each varies. Identifying the type of scar you have is the first step to treating it effectively. If you’re unsure what type of scar you have, a dermatologist can help you determine that and which ingredients are most effective to help fade the scar.

Ingredients

Scar creams have similar ingredients to moisturizing formulas like night creams, creams for eczema, and eye creams. However, like stretch mark creams for pregnancy, there are specialized ingredients included to help address scars:

  • Silicone: A common ingredient in scar creams that is proven to reduce the appearance of scars.
  • Vitamin E: Aids in skin regeneration and healing.
  • Onion extract: May improve scar texture and reduce inflammation

Sunscreen

A scar cream with SPF will help prevent the UV rays from causing further discoloration of your scar. For extra protection, make sure you’re wearing an additional SPF, whether it’s a mineral sunscreen, tinted sunscreen, or sport sunblock.

Brand reputation

There are a lot of products on the market that claim to reduce scars, and while you can discover great formulas from brands you haven’t heard of, remain skeptical of claims. A cream can reduce the appearance of scars, but there is a limit on what over-the-counter ingredients can do. If a product seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re having a hard time finding information on the product, proceed with caution.

Our top picks for the best scar creams

Best scar cream for the face: Derma E Scar Cream Sun Protectant SPF 35

Best scar cream for the face
DERMA E Scar Cream Sun Protectant SPF 35

DERMA E Scar Cream Sun Protectant SPF 35

We love that the Derma E scar cream has zinc oxide, a powerful ingredient that protects skin from the sun's rays while not clogging your pores. With an SPF of 35, this cream can serve as an everyday primer while diminishing your scars—a win-win. Its active ingredients for scars are allantoin, a hydrating ingredient that also has exfoliating properties and is generally considered non-irritating for all skin types, and panthenol, an emollient ingredient that aids healing. Shopping tip: Derma E also made our list of the best face washes for oily skin.

Specifications:

  • Type: Cream
  • Size: 1.5 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), allantoin, zinc oxide
  • Price on publish: $21

The bottom line:

An excellent scar cream for spending time in the sun.

Get it here: Derma E Scar Cream Sun Protectant SPF 35


Best scar cream after surgery: CICA-CARE Silicone Gel Sheet

Best scar cream after surgery
CICA-CARE Silicone Gel Sheet

CICA-CARE Silicone Gel Sheet

After surgery, it’s better to opt for a medical-grade product instead of a standard cream. CICA-CARE Silicone Gel Sheet is a medical-grade silicone sheet designed to manage scars, particularly hypertrophic and keloid scars. Rest easy knowing these sheets are the go-to option for many hospitals, dermatologists, and surgeons. The sheets are made from soft, breathable, durable silicone material that adheres comfortably to the skin.

Specifications:

  • Type: Sheet
  • Size: 5 inches x 6 inches
  • Key ingredients: Silicone
  • Price on publish: $17

The bottom line:

A trustworthy scar sheet ideal for hypertrophic and keloid scars—but not on joints.

Get it here: CICA-CARE Silicone Gel Sheet


Best acne scar cream: Topicals Faded Serum For Dark Spots and Discolorations

Best acne scar cream
Topicals Faded Serum for Dark Spots & Discoloration 1.7 oz/ 50 mL

Topicals Faded Serum for Dark Spots & Discoloration 1.7 oz/ 50 mL

I love that Topicals’ Faded Serum comes in trendy packaging because it never leaves my bathroom counter! This serum has been proven to reduce hyperpigmentation across various skin types and concerns. One word of caution: Reviewers recommend easing into this to avoid skin purging—a term that refers to an increase in breakouts, including white heads and black heads, as a skin response to a product that has ingredients designed to speed up your skin’s cycle of shedding cells.

Specifications:

  • Type: Cream
  • Size: 1.7 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Tranexamic acid, niacinamide, azelaic acid
  • Price on publish: $38

The bottom line:

A potent and inclusive solution for tackling dark spots and discoloration.

Get it here: Topicals Faded Serum For Dark Spots and Discolorations


Best scar cream kit: Sunnie ScarSmooth™ Medical Grade Scar Reducing Kit

Best scar cream kit
SUNNIE ScarSmooth™ Pro Scar Reducing Kit - Incl. Advanced Scar Gel 30ML, Medical Grade Silicone Scar Tape (1.6" x 60") & 24K Gold Vibrating Beauty Bar for Fading Post-Surgery, C-Section and Burn Scars

SUNNIE ScarSmooth™ Pro Scar Reducing Kit - Incl. Advanced Scar Gel 30ML, Medical Grade Silicone Scar Tape (1.6" x 60") & 24K Gold Vibrating Beauty Bar for Fading Post-Surgery, C-Section and Burn Scars

If you're looking for an all-in-one scar-reducing solution, try Sunnie ScarSmooth™. This kit includes medical grade silicone scar tape, ScarSmooth™ Medical Grade Scar Gel 30 ml, and a 24K Gold Vibrating Beauty Bar. This kit has proven results for C-sections, keloids, and surgery scars.

Specifications:

  • Type: Gel and tape
  • Size: 30 milliliters and 1.6” x 60”
  • Key ingredients: Silicone, panthenol, Collaxyl, allantoin, rosehip seed oil
  • Price on publish: $70.99

The bottom line:

An all-in-one solution for treating the most difficult scars.

Get it here: Sunnie ScarSmooth™ Medical Grade Scar Reducing Kit


Best scar cream for stretch marks: Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy

Best scar cream for stretch marks
Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy

Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy

Mederma's Stretch Marks Therapy aims to minimize the visibility of stretch marks caused by pregnancy, growth spurts, or other factors. The unique blend of botanical extracts and hyaluronic acid improves skin elasticity and hydration to help diminish the appearance of stretch marks over time.

Specifications:

  • Type: Cream
  • Size: 5.29 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Dimethicone, Centella asiatica extract, Cepalin® botanical extract, hyaluronic acid
  • Price on publish: $23.15

The bottom line:

A trusted stretch mark cream that also improves skin’s texture and hydration.

Get it here: Mederma Stretch Marks Therapy


Best scar cream for kids: Mederma for Kids

Best scar cream for kids
Mederma for Kids

This gentle formula is designed to minimize common childhood scars from cuts, scrapes, and more. Mederma for Kids is easy to apply and has a kid-friendly smell and texture, which makes it a hassle-free experience for kids and adults alike.

Specifications:

  • Type: Cream
  • Size: 0.7 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Ceramide, Cepalin® botanical extract, allantoin
  • Price on publish: $22.35

The bottom line:

A dermatologist-trusted scar cream with a fun twist to making treating scars fun.

Get it here: Mederma for Kids


Best scar cream for burns: Biafine Act Emulsion Cream

Best scar cream for burns
Biafine Act Emulsion Cream 139.5g

Biafine Act Emulsion Cream 139.5g

Biafine Act Emulsion is an excellent choice for treating scars from burns. With the first application, you’ll experience a cooling sensation, and the formula has a semi-occlusive effect to protect the burn from contaminations, help prevent infection, and get you on the path to scar-free healing.

Specifications:

  • Type: Cream
  • Size: 12.31 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Emollients, trolamine
  • Price on publish: $14.49

The bottom line:

An excellent burn cream to ease the discomfort of healing burns while diminishing the appearance of scars.

Get it here: Biafine Act Emulsion Cream


Best scar cream for keloid scars: AWD Medical Silicone Scar Tape

Best scar cream for keloid scars
AWD Silicone Scar Sheets for Surgical Scars - Medical Grade Silicone Scar Tape for C Section, Tummy Tuck Tape, Keloid Treatment - Silicone Skin Patches After Surgery Must Haves (1.6" x 60" Roll)

AWD Silicone Scar Sheets for Surgical Scars - Medical Grade Silicone Scar Tape for C Section, Tummy Tuck Tape, Keloid Treatment - Silicone Skin Patches After Surgery Must Haves (1.6" x 60" Roll)

While AWD Medical Silicone Scar Tape isn't technically a cream, it deserves a mention for its impressive scar-reducing abilities. This medical-grade silicone tape mimics the skin's barrier, keeping it hydrated and protected which reduces discomfort and itching while flattening and softening scars over time. Plus, it's reusable, painless to remove, and discreet enough to wear under clothing.

Specifications:

  • Type: Tape
  • Size: 1.6 inch x 60 inch roll
  • Key ingredients: Silicone
  • Price on publish: $17.99

The bottom line:

A scar tape that hydrates and protects your scars while offering comfortable, all-day wear.

Get it here: AWD Medical Silicone Scar Tape


Best scar prevention cream: HealFast Silicone Scar Gel

Best scar prevention cream
HealFast Silicone Scar Gel

HealFast Silicone Scar Gel

HealFast Silicone Scar Gel is physician-formulated and made with 100% medical-grade silicone, proven to minimize both new and old scars effectively. This odorless, colorless gel hydrates and protects the scar, promoting a flatter, smoother appearance in as little as four weeks, although many reviewers mention seeing results sooner.

Specifications:

  • Type: Gel
  • Size: 1.06 ounces
  • Key ingredients: Medical-grade silicone
  • Price on publish: $24.99

The bottom line:

A medically-backed scar gel that is an excellent fit for users with sensitive skin.

Get it here: HealFast Silicone Scar Gel


Best scar cream for most scar types: Mederma PM Intensive Overnight Scar Cream

Best scar cream for most scar types
Mederma PM Intensive Overnight Scar Cream

Mederma PM Intensive Overnight Scar Cream

Mederma’s PM Intensive Overnight Scar Cream is a good overall cream if you’re unsure what to get. It addresses scars from surgery, injuries, and acne. Some improvement can be seen in as little as 14 days but results can take three to six months for old scars. If you’re dissatisfied, they have a money-back guarantee.

Specifications:

  • Type: Cream
  • Size: 1.7 ounce
  • Key ingredients: TriPeptol™, Cepalin®, dimethicone, panthenol
  • Price on publish: $19.37

The bottom line:

A great overall scar cream for people who prefer to practice their skincare routine at night.

Get it here: Mederma PM Intensive Overnight Scar Cream


How did we select the best scar creams?

When choosing the best scar creams, I searched for the top-reviewed products that are medically backed and have proven results. The most important feature in my search was finding options from reputable skincare companies that are trustworthy, thoroughly tested, and vetted by scientists to ensure safety.

I prioritized cost, as scar creams require application over an extended period and may need to be purchased multiple times to see peak results. I also looked for options that had silicone and hyaluronic acid, as both are reliable ingredients for reducing the appearance of scars. I leveraged reviews, ratings, and studies to ensure I recommended the best scar creams the market offers.

What are the different types of scars?

Atrophic scars

One of the most common causes of these scars are acne, chickenpox, or other conditions. These flat, indented scars form from a loss of underlying tissue.

Hypertrophic scars

More common in people with darker skin tones, these scars are raised, red, and remain within the boundaries of the original wound.

Keloid scars

These can be some of the most challenging scars to treat. They are raised and itchy and grow beyond the boundaries of the original injury. They are more common in people with darker skin tones.

Contracture scars

Often caused by burns or deep wounds, contracture scars tighten and contract the skin, limiting movement.

Stretch marks

These scars occur when the skin stretches rapidly, such as during pregnancy or puberty. They are usually pink or red initially but eventually fade to a silvery shade.

How to use scar cream

Using scar cream effectively requires consistency and patience. Here's a general guide:

Prep

Clean the scar area with mild soap and warm water. Pat it dry completely.

Apply

Follow the specific instructions on your chosen cream. Most recommend a thin layer massaged gently onto the scar and surrounding skin. Avoid open wounds or irritated areas.

Absorption

Leave the cream to fully absorb, which might take minutes, depending on the formula. Some require drying before covering them with clothing.

Frequency

Apply as directed, typically once or twice daily. Long-term use, often months, is usually required for best results.

Maintenance

Protect the scar from sun exposure with sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, to prevent darkening. Moisturizing the surrounding skin can also aid healing.

How does scar cream work?

Hydration

Many scar creams contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid or glycerin that attract and retain moisture in the scar tissue. This helps to keep the scar soft and supple, making it less noticeable.

Collagen management

Scars form due to an overproduction of collagen fibers during the healing process. Some scar creams contain ingredients like silicone or Centella asiatica extract to regulate collagen production, leading to a flatter and smoother scar.

Protection

Scar creams often create a physical barrier on the skin, shielding the scar from further irritation or sun damage. This can help prevent the scar from becoming darker or more raised.

Anti-inflammatory properties

Some scar creams contain ingredients like aloe vera or vitamin E that have anti-inflammatory properties. This can help to reduce redness and itching associated with new scars.

Potential allergic reactions and drug interactions

As with any topical product, scar creams can trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. Professionals recommend testing a new product on a small patch of skin and waiting 24 to 48 hours to determine if there are any reactions. The most common irritants in scar creams are fragrances, preservatives, botanical extracts, sunscreen ingredients, and silicone.

When to see a doctor about scarring

Early intervention is crucial to successfully reducing the appearance of scars, so don't hesitate to visit a doctor to determine the proper treatment path. However, it's essential to seek medical attention immediately if you notice signs of infection, excessive bleeding, rapid growth, discoloration, new pain, or a suspected allergic reaction. If you are feeling significant pain or discomfort, a limited range of motion, or concerns about the appearance of your scar, consider seeing a doctor. Consider seeing a doctor for keloid and contracture scars, as they typically require a specialized approach.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Should I use a gel, cream, or sheet?

The general rule of thumb is that gels and creams are great for new, flat scars, while sheets are more effective for raised scars, but people with active lifestyles may struggle to maintain them.

How well do scar creams work?

The efficacy of scar creams depends on how they’re used and the type of scar. Scar creams are an essential part of scar management, but they are just one element of treatment and should be used alongside proper wound care, sun protection, and potentially professional treatments. Setting realistic expectations and seeking expert advice to lay out the correct treatment plan for you is important.

How long does it take for scar cream to work?

Results vary depending on the type of scar and the scar cream selected, but many people see minimal improvement in hydration, texture, or discomfort within a few weeks and visible scar reduction within three to six months of consistent use.

When is the best time to use scar cream?

You will want to begin your scar management regimen once the wound is completely healed. Treating new scars is much easier than treating older scars. Many people find applying scar cream alongside their evening skincare routine the most effective way to allow the cream to absorb into your skin fully.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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