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Scars are a natural part of life, baby. They’re the result of your body quickly covering up a wound to keep it safe while it heals. But while your skin is busy repairing damage deep below the surface, things can go awry up top.
If you’re ready to say so long to your scars, check out our list of the best scar creams backed by the most recent scientific studies on scar management.
The 9 best scar creams for 2021
- Best overall: Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
- Best for C-sections: ScarAway Advanced Skincare Silicone Scar Sheets for C-Sections
- Best for red and pink scars: SkinMedica Scar Recovery Gel
- Best for acne scars: Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment
- Best for scars of different shapes and sizes: Cica-Care Gel Sheet
- Best for hard to reach areas: Kelo-Cote Advanced Formula Scar Gel
- Best scar cream with sun protection: Derma E Scar Cream Sun Protectant SPF 35
- Best for stretch marks: Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
- Best for raised scars: bioCorneum Plus SPF 30 Advanced Scar Supervision
Scars, like snowflakes, are super unique. Here are our picks for the best scar creams for every skin situation.
$ = under $20
$$ = $20–$40
$$$ = over $40
1. Best overall: Mederma Advanced Scar Gel
This OG scar cream earns its crown for its positive fading effects on all types of scars. It features allantoin, a common scar cream ingredient that very gently exfoliates while it moisturizes and heals.
It also has onion bulb extract, which studies show can help heal flat, raised, and red scars, but no dice on hyperpigmentation.
2. Best for C-sections: ScarAway Advanced Skincare Silicone Scar Sheets for C-Sections
C-section scars tend to become hypertrophic, which means they’re usually raised and red. Silicone strips like these are science-backed solution, since they add a little bit of healthy pressure to the scar (to keep it flat) while wrapping it in a moisturizing, sun-free barrier for optimal healing.
The best part about these strips: they’re specially pre cut for C-section scars. Done and done.
3. Best for red and pink scars: SkinMedica Scar Recovery Gel
She’s a splurge for a reason. This derm-backed brand uses a unique trifecta of plant extracts — pennywort, Bulbine frutescens, and green olive skin — to calm redness, encourage cell renewal and help with additional healing. Lactic acid is here, too, to gently slough away surface texture and brighten up the scar.
4. Best for acne scars: Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment
To tackle acne scars both old and new, glucosamine and salicylic acid use their exfoliation powers to speed up new cell turnover and slough away scar texture while hydroxytyrosol and vitamin C lighten up dark spots. All of this is wrapped up in a nice hydrating formula that sort of “fills in” and blurs the look of scars while they’re treated.
5. Best for scars of different shapes and sizes: Cica-Care Gel Sheet
These super convenient scar-fading sheets contain medical-grade silicone, which smoothes and softens scar texture and can even calm the color of your scar.
We love that these can be cut to match the shape and size of any scar, plus you can wash and reuse them a few times. But if your scar is in an area with lots of movement (like, say, your knee), it can be tough to keep them in place. A little medical tape will do the trick.
Get Cica-Care Gel Sheet.
6. Best for hard to reach areas: Kelo-Cote Advanced Formula Scar Gel
All the benefits of a silicone scar sheet, but in a self-drying, stay-put gel.
This simple formula can be used to prevent abnormal scarring after a procedure as soon as a wound is closed, and we loved to read it’s been clinically tested for old scars, too. Good for children and sensitive skin, one tube can help with a 3- to 4-inch scar for 90 days.
7. Best scar cream with sun protection: Derma E Scar Cream Sun Protectant SPF 35
As your scar is forming and healing, that brand new baby skin is super susceptible to sun damage. UVA/UVB rays can make your scar look darker (called hyperpigmentation) or make them thicker and harder to treat.
This scar cream combines a healthy dose of SPF 35 with allantoin to encourage quicker, gentle healing while keeping your scar safe from the sun.
8. Best for stretch marks: Bio-Oil Skincare Oil
Bio-Oil has amassed a bit of a cult following — probably because you can basically use it head to toe, including in your hair. But of all the things this multi-tasking oil can do, it really shines against scars and stretch marks.
Lavender and rosemary essential oils help speed up healing, calming chamomile goes to work against redness, and vitamins E and A help keep skin hydrated and supple so it can, um, stretch. It’s safe to use as soon as your second trimester.
Get Bio-Oil Skincare Oil.
9. Best for raised scars: bioCorneum Plus SPF 30 Advanced Scar Supervision
This lil’ number features a patented silicone technology that forms what’s essentially a protective silicone shield around the scar. It also helps control excess collagen production, which is at the root of raised, bumpy scars. The addition of SPF here helps keep your scar clear of sun damage.
Scar creams are basically juiced-up moisturizers with special ingredients meant to heal, protect, and reduce the look of scars. Most scars will typically fade in time, but scar creams can help speed up the process or, if the car is very superficial, help prevent them altogether.
Scar creams work in different ways depending on the product. Some creams put mild exfoliants to work on the top layer of skin to lighten or fade, while others use hydration to plump up the skin and make indented scars appear more filled in.
Silicone sheets help apply light pressure to keep scars from getting too raised, and antioxidants help encourage healing and cell turnover.
But — you knew there was a but coming — scar creams are just part of a scar care routine. If you want to see your scars a little less, keep them out of direct sunlight and hit them with sunscreen as much as you can.
We looked for scar creams that combat these issues with proven ingredients. Silicone, onion bulb extract, vitamins E and A, and allantoin are research-backed and used widely across the scar cream market.
Seeing a scar cream with SPF was a huge plus.
We know each scar is a little bit special, so we aimed to include options for scars of all kinds — including burns, post-surgery, acne, raised, red, and stretch marks.
Even though we’re talking about scar “creams,” we looked for a range of formulas including gels, oils, and silicone sheets to accommodate different scar types, sizes, and locations.
Finding the right scar cream can make a major difference in the recovery time of your skin, Here are a few tips to help you find the one.
- Consult a pro. Preferably a dermatologist. They can consult with you on what types of treatment would be best for you scar, saving you time and money. Scar cream can get pricey, honey!
2. Reach for proven, powerful ingredients. Opt for creams and sheets with known scar-fading powerhouses near the top of the ingredient list. Look for:
3. Don’t go broke. There’s a scar cream for every budget — no need to reach for the fanciest one to see results.
4. Always shop with trusted brands and manufacturers. Scars are ultra sensitive skin. This isn’t the time to mess around with sketchy, unresearched ingredients or companies you can’t trust.
Scars are a totally natural part of healing, but they don’t need to stick around forever. Over-the-counter scar creams are an effective way to prevent and reduce the appearance of scars at home.
Just remember to consult with a doctor or dermatologist before using a new scar cream because different types of scars benefit from different ingredients.