What are the Treatments for Scar Tissue?

A scar forms when the skin incurs an injury, cut or burn that affects the skin. As a result, tough cells, called fibroblasts, form in the place of the skin that was formerly there. The scar tissue is not as uniformly arranged, is harder and rougher than healthy skin and tends to be a different color than the skin surrounding it. While scars are not a health concern, they can be a cosmetic concern. Although difficult to fully remove, scar treatment options range from at-home remedies to surgical removal.

Scar Treatment Cream/Gel

Scar treatment creams typically contain some derivative of onion extract, according to Go Ask Alice, Columbia University’s health Q&A Internet service. Onion extract is best used to treat newer scars because of its ability to inhibit excess production of fibroblasts. One example of a cream containing onion extract is Mederma. You need to apply these creams several times a day to achieve the desired effect. According to the Mayo Clinic, results vary in terms of these creams’ applications and they may need to be combined with other treatment options.

Silicone Gel Sheeting

Silicone gel sheeting appears much like a bandage that you apply over the scar. This is sometimes used to treat keloid scars, which are the uncontrolled development of scar tissue that protrudes over the skin. Silicone gel sheeting can flatten a scar or make it appear lighter in color. Although researchers do not have a definitive explanation as to why a scar responds to silicone gel sheeting, some hypotheses include static electricity aligning collagen fibers or that the sheeting traps moisture in, making the scar softer.

Collagen/Steroid Injections

According to the Mayo Clinic, collagen or steroid injections may help to improve damaged skin’s appearance. Collagen injections can increase the volume of the scar, making it useful for the treatment of scars that are lower than the skin. Steroid injections applied to the skin can soften or reduce hardened scars, according to the University of Virginia Health System.


Dermabrasion is an invasive treatment where a physician uses a specialized wand that removes the top layer of skin, revealing fresher, less-damaged skin underneath. This makes dermabrasion effective in treating surgical, acne or small scars, according to the University of Virginia Health System.

Laser Scar Resurfacing

Laser treatments remove damaged portions of skin. When the laser is applied, it can burn away scar tissue, revealing fresher, younger skin underneath. This treatment is considered more invasive and requires application of numbing cream and recovery over the course of several days.

Scar Surgery

According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, surgical removal of scars involves removing the scar tissue, then lifting healthy surrounding tissue and placing it over the scar to improve its appearance. Results depend upon the type of scar.