In addition to being unsightly, some scars remain itchy or painful long after a wound has healed. While over-the-counter creams are a convenient and inexpensive way to reduce the discomfort and improve the appearance of scars, they're not a guaranteed solution to this problem.


Painful, raised scars that extend beyond the borders of the initial wound are classified as either hypertrophic scars or keloids. These scars are more difficult to treat than ordinary scars and may return even after surgical removal. Topical creams and ointments are often used in the hopes of improving the look and feel of hard, painful scars. Some users experience positive results, but individual responses vary, and no remedy is guaranteed to work. Creams are more likely to be effective on new scars than on old wounds.


Both prescription and over-the-counter creams and gels are available to treat scars. A doctor may prescribe corticosteroid creams or silicone-based formulas to reduce the appearance of scars. In addition, numerous scar-reduction remedies may be purchased at drugstores. The components of these creams vary widely and may include silicone, hydrogel, cortisone, vitamins and botanical ingredients such as onion extract or green tea.


Some users report an improvement in the look and feel of unsightly, painful scars after using topical remedies. Scar reduction creams are easy to apply and are often quite inexpensive, making them an economical alternative to clinical or surgical treatment.


The topical application of Vitamin E, a popular remedy for treating scars, has been demonstrated to be ineffective in clinical trials. According to a study conducted by the University of Miami, Vitamin E can delay healing and trigger allergic reactions.


Silicone patches, which are placed over a raised scar and worn for several hours a day over the course of several weeks, may be an effective alternative to creams for reducing the appearance of scars. Scar reduction patches are sold in drugstores alongside scar reduction creams.


Seek prompt and appropriate medical care for all injuries to prevent scars from forming. Clean and disinfect wounds with an antibacterial ointment and keep them covered to stave off infection.

About the Author

Morgan Richter

Morgan Richter has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in screenwriting from the University of Southern California's School of Cinema-Television. Since 1999, she's written reviews and essays on pop culture topics for her personal website, "Preppies of the Apocalypse." Her novel, "Charlotte Dent", was a 2008 Semifinalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.