Some say scars are a sign of strength.
That may be true, but scars can be difficult or embarrassing to live with, affecting your courage, confidence, and self-esteem at every turn.
For many people, scars require strategic dressing or time-intensive makeup to cover or lessen their appearance. The good news is that thanks to recent advancements in treatment, there are products on the market today that can actually lessen not only the severity of a scar’s appearance but also the embarrassment that often accompanies it!
Let’s get started on finding the best scar removal cream for you…
Table of Contents
Below we’ve compiled a list of the top creams for use on unsightly scars, rating them on effectiveness, customer satisfaction, safe ingredients, and ease of use. No doubt, the best scar removal cream for you will be found in the list below!
What are scars and how do they occur?
Even though skin is the body’s largest living organ, your skin is delicate and as fragile as silk. Once the dermis and/or epidermis layer of the skin has been broken (either externally from a cut, or internally as seen in stretch marks), areas of fibrous tissue grow in the damaged area.
A scar, while often unsightly, is a positive sign of the health of your body’s biological process of wound repair. Basically, a scar means healing has taken place. Even though scar tissue is composed of the exact same material of the skin it replaced (using protein known as collagen), the way the new material “stitches” together is different, hence the unusual appearance of the new skin (scar).
Factors such as the depth, size, and location on the body can affect the appearance of a scar. Other influences can change the way a scar looks as well. For instance, even if two people received the exact same cut in the exact same place, the two scars could look different, depending on the age, sex, ethnicity, and genetic make-up of each individual.
Types of Scars
There are several diagnosed types of scars found, each having a telltale appearance and attributed cause.
Keloid scars – Keloids are the result of an overly-aggressive healing process, often growing beyond the area of the injury itself. Some keloids can also grow into large, benign, tumors “welts” (also called neoplasms). While this type of scar can occur on almost anyone, keloids are most common in individuals with darker skin. Causes of keloid scars include accidents, surgery, acne, body piercing, and some even seem to form unexpectedly.
Contracture scars – These occur where skin has been burned. Contracture scars can actually tighten and can go deeper into the layers of skin below (effecting muscles and nerves), both of which can make movement difficult.
Atrophic scars – These are found to be the most common type of scar. Atrophic scars appear as a sunken area or divot in the skin, occurring when critical supporting structures (such as fat and muscle) are removed or lost. Common atrophic scars include acne, marks associated with chickenpox and other diseases, as well as surgical and accident scars.
Hypertrophic scars – “Hypertrophic” basically means “highly pigmented skin,” so these scars are reddish, usually raised (similar to keloid scars). However, unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars do not extend beyond the area of the injury.
Stretch marks – Yes, stretch marks (also known as striae) are actually scars. They can occur when the skin is stretched too rapidly (during pregnancy, growth spurts, weigh/muscle gain, and/or weight loss). Stretch marks can often fade over years, but seldom disappear completely.
Types of treatments
Here’s where we get to the good part: what can be done about those nasty scars? There are several means of scar removal and treatment available to lessen their appearance, or remove them completely.
Surgery – There are several forms of surgery used to help with scars, all successful to varying degrees, depending on the size and severity of the original scar. These forms include scar revision, skin smoothing surgery, and plastic surgery. Do keep in mind though that surgery often involves cutting the skin… so while you may get rid of the original scar, you may be left with a smaller one. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons before going under the knife.
Chemical peels – The process of chemical peels, as with the surgical cutting of the skin, can sometimes seem counterproductive. In a chemical peel, you are literally using chemicals to burn the topmost layers of damaged skin, thereby forcing the body to undergo the healing process to regrow new, hopefully smoother, skin in its place. Again the severity of the scar and its location will dictate the level of chemical peel used, and some peels may actually cause keloid scar formation or infections, so be sure to get all the facts from your doctor or dermatologist before proceeding.
Steroid injections – This method is sometimes used to flatten and soften the appearance of keloid or hypertrophic scars. Since topical steroids will not work on scars, a steroid is injected into the scar itself, repeatedly, over a period of several weeks.
Scar cream – This is the least invasive, least expensive, and a surprisingly effective means to treat scars. The best and most effective creams function by providing non-chemical hydration to the scar area, while speeding up cell turnover. This turnover brings old, damaged, scarred tissue to the surface, so it can be sloughed off. The process should leave new, healthier skin, with little to no sign of the previous scar.
What to look for in the best creams
First of all, you have to understand that just as the scar has taken time to fully develop (it can take up to two years before a scar is finished forming), the scar-removal process is no “overnight” thing. Anyone or any cream or treatment product that promises otherwise is lying.
That being said, the most effective creams will work with your body’s own skin-production cycle (28 days) to speed cell turnover, balance the production and use of collagen in the scar area, reduce itching, and rely on natural and/or proven-safe ingredients. Vitamins and minerals usually found to be most helpful in scar healing include ProVitamin B5, Pentavitin (found in plants), Bilberry, Niacinamide, and Soy.