Dr. Amy's 5 Ways to Shrink Scars

Dr. Amy's 5 Ways to Shrink Scars

1. Massage. Believe it or not, if you gently massage the healing area a couple of times per day about a month after the stitches are out, it will help remodel collagen, breaking it up and reducing scarring. Don't bother massaging gel caps of vitamin E oil into a scar to make it fade; it won't. Two treatments that do help are Curad Scar Therapy and Scarguard.

2. Pressure. You can buy and apply pressure bandages with sheets of silicone gel that help keep a scar from growing too big.

3. Lasers. Bumpy scars can sometimes be smoothed out with a laser. Size counts—the smaller, the better.

4. Steroids. Scars that heal badly, becoming large and lumpy, can be treated with a laser to reduce their redness and then injected monthly with a steroid for 2 to 6 months.

5. Do-overs. Misshapen scars can sometimes be improved with a do-over if they're not too big and not in a busy location. Scars on the back, for instance, generally aren't good candidates, because they tend to stretch and widen as you move around.

Note: Keloid scars, which are more common in dark skin, are raised and have spread into the surrounding normal skin. They require special treatment and the help of a dermatologist to shrink. You can't just cut them out, because they can regrow.

If you are prone to keloids, be more cautious with piercings, tattoos, surgeries and injuries to your skin.

Medically reviewed in June 2019.

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