Creams to Reduce Scarring

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Scars occur when the layers underneath the epidermis--the outer layer of skin--become damaged. As the skin works to repair itself, collagen fibers arrange themselves haphazardly. The result can be a thick, pink or red scar that eventually can become hardened. Because scars appear different from the skin surrounding them, treating the scar can help minimize its appearance. Scar treatment creams aim to soften and flatten the scar.


Mederma is a scar treatment cream that contains the active ingredient Cepalin, which is known as onion extract. This ingredient has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, helping to reduce the redness on the skin and reducing the overall development of a scar, if applied when the scar is new. The cream also has been shown to inhibit the overproduction of collagen that leads to scarring, according to Go Ask Alice. This treatment cream should be applied to the skin three times daily for several months in order to experience results. Mederma has been shown to reduce the size of the scar, according to This cream is recommended for a variety of scars--including acne, surgical, burn and other scars related to accidents.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids

When applied to the skin, alpha hydroxy acids are able to encourage cell exfoliation. For example, glycolic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid, when applied to the skin breaks the "glue" that holds dead skin cells to healthy skin cells. Other examples of alpha hydroxy acids include lactic, citric and malic acid, according to This releases old cells, thus improving the appearance of acne scars, according to Go Ask Alice. These creams can be purchased over the counter, or can be applied in higher concentrations as chemical peels. They also have been shown to reduce acne, which can reduce acne that causes scarring.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E cream or gel can be especially beneficial in treating scars that occur as the result of burns, according to Andrew Weil, MD, who also recommends puncturing and squeezing out vitamin E gel caps. Apply this to the healed burn two or three times daily in order to reduce scarring.


Silicone gel cream has been shown to improve the appearance of scars, according to Go Ask Alice. Applying this gel to the scar can help to flatten the scar, which may be especially helpful for treating keloid scars that are raised above the skin. The gel also is theorized to help the collagen fibers aligned over the skin, reducing the criss-crossed, hardened fibers from developing.