How to Get Rid of Scars—For Good

Alle Connell

how to get rid of scars

No matter how co-ordinated you are, accidents happen and scars are inevitable. But scars don’t have to be forever—you just have to know to treat them. We’ve rounded up the very best treatments for every kind of scar; here’s how to get rid of scars for good.

Pre-emptive measures:

Picture this: you have a fresh, but closed, cut and you want to lessen the scar that you know is on its way. Try aloe vera gel. Aloe is a natural anti-inflammatory, and when applied multiple times a day, can help promote smooth healing of scars. Tissue will be smoother and less red as it heals, resulting in a scar far smaller and less obtrustive than it would be otherwise.

To use: Make sure you use a gel or lotion with a high concentration of aloe; 70% or higher is ideal. Apply it to the closed cut at least four times a day to keep the cut moist, and keep it covered with a bandaid or bandage. And, of course, do NOT put it on open wounds—it can really sting!

On small, hyperpigmentation scars:

These small red or brown spots that follow stubborn breakouts can be really, really annoying—but you can deal with them. Fade them by getting really into alpa-hydroxy acids (commonly abbreviated to AHAs). These acids usually found in fruits can speed up cell turnover (hello, exfoliation!) and slightly lighten dark patches on the skin, so they’re the obvious choice for scars like this.

To use: Pick a product like Murad AHA/BHA Cleanser ($36) and, depending on how sensitive your skin is, use it several times a week. If you like to go natural, soak a cotton pad in lemon juice and wipe it over the affected area every other evening after washing your face. A word of caution: AHAs will make your skin more sensitive to light, so make sure you wash the lemon juice off your face in the morning and wear sunscreen! You don’t want to burn, or have patches on your face discolor further!

On deeper, “icepick” acne scars:

If you’ve had cystic acne, you probably still have the marks to prove it. Unfortunately, most over-the-counter remedies don’t do very much to lessen these kind of scars—so it’s time to head to the doctor.

Dermabrasion or laser treatment is still an option to get rid of scars like this, but the world of injectables might be more your speed. Bellafill is the new, exciting procedure for getting rid of deep acne scars; it’s injected under the scars to help lift up the indentations, giving awesome results with zero downtime. You may need multiple treatments; your doctor will be able to advise you on the best

On raised scars:

If you’ve ever been clawed by a cat or dog, you’re no doubt familiar with the jagged, raised, white scars that result. Not super cute. Though many lotions and potions promise to reduce these, the only thing we’ve ever tried that works are silicone pads. Though it’s not fully understood how it works, silicone pads help flatten out raised scars and lessen redness and discoloration. We love Syprex Silicon Sheets ($10-90, depending on size); they have really saved us from some ugly scar situations.

To use: Wash the scar throughly and make sure the silicon pad is clean. Cover the scar with the pad (if it’s not self-adhesive) and tape to your skin using sterile tape. Some people say to leave it on for up to 24 hours, but this doesn’t work for everyone. Consult your doctor.

On surgical scars:

Whether you had your appendix out or a mole removed, at this point we basically ALL have scars from going under the knife. If you have a really egregious surgical scar, medical intervention is going to be your best bet. We know: doctors gave you the scar, why would you trust them to fix it? But since scars like this often go through multiple layers of skin, over-the-counter remedies are not going to cut it.

Your doctor will be able to tell you which method of scar removal or reduction will work best for you, but options include surgical scar revision (where the scar is remade or hidden), laser treatment (to flatten raised scars) and dermabrasion (to flatten very raised scars). These all sound scary, but modern medicine is a miracle, and downtime is really limited.

On burns:

If you have a scar from a gnarly sunburn or hot tool accident, treat with aloe vera once the mark no longer stings and cover it with silicon sheets. Simple and effective; we are living proof that it works.

The scars that result from serious burns are called contracture scars, and they can be really difficult to reduce or get rid of. This is because they also affect the muscle and tendons under the skin. Talk to your doctor about procedures like cortisone shots (to flatten raised ridges) and even skin grafts. Again: these all sound very scary, but medicine is pretty awesome, and you doctor will be able to advise you best about downtime and aftercare.

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