Health Library

Categories > Skin and Scalp Care > Treating skin problems

Scarred for life?

When a scar makes you feel self-conscious, you’ll likely try almost anything to make it less noticeable. Although you can’t make a scar disappear completely, you can help improve its appearance. All you need is a little patience (many scars appear less noticeable in 6 to 18 months), and the following:

  • Makeup. Use cover-up or foundation to help blend facial scars into your skin.
  • Silicone. Ointments and creams containing silicone may help shrink raised tissue. Contrary to popular belief, vitamin E oil doesn’t improve the look of scars.
  • Chemical peels. Your doctor can apply a chemical to remove the top layer of your skin to even out your coloring and smooth indentations.
  • Dermabrasion. Using a special electrical machine, your doctor will remove the skin’s outer layers to make an uneven scar look smoother. For deep scars, several dermabrasion treatments may be needed.
  • Lasers. Your dermatologist can use lasers to flatten raised scars, smooth or resurface indented scars and reduce redness.
  • Injections. It’s possible to inject collagen, fat or other fillers beneath an indented scar to enhance its appearance. The results aren’t permanent, though, and you may need repeat injections.
  • Pressure bandages. For some raised scars, wearing a tight pressure bandage for several months can help flatten the area.
  • Surgery. A plastic surgeon may be able to cut out scar tissue to make your scar thinner or shorter.