As skin heals from a wound, it can produce too much collagen and a scar forms. The tendency to scar is genetic, so there’s not much you can do to prevent scars, though you can minimize the effects. Hypertrophic scars, the most common kind, are raised but don’t extend past the borders of the original wound. Keloids are raised but grow beyond the wound’s edges; people of African descent most often suffer from them. Depressed scars, like those from acne, are exactly that―indented.
- Silicone products: A sheet of silicone placed over a hypertrophic or keloid scar (after the wound has healed) or a cream, such as Scar Fade, rubbed in daily “can make scars stop overproducing collagen and become permanently flatter,” says Foad Nahai, president of the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Sold over the counter, silicone products, which must be used consistently for several months, work on new and old scars.
Cost: About $20 for sheets; about $10 for Scar Fade.
- Fraxel laser: Best for depressed scars, this laser targets pinpoint-wide areas of skin, resurfacing the top and boosting collagen production underneath. After several sessions, indented scars should be leveled off.
Cost: $500 and up per treatment.
What Doesn’t Work
Rubbing in vitamin-E oil.
Dab on a creamy, pigment-rich concealer that matches your skin and pat it into the scar to blend the edges. Brush on a bit of translucent powder to set the concealer, says makeup artist Lusine. (A very big keloid, however, will still be visible, even with concealer.)