Find the best scar gel for your skin type, skin condition, and budget, plus get all my tips on scar treatment! Overall, my top recommendation is NewGel+ Advanced Silicone Gel for Scars.
I've had scars for a long time, including chest keloids, facial hypertrophic scars, and indented scars, so I completely understand how much scars can impact us - both physically and psychologically.
In the last decade, I've tried almost every single scar product on the market: Mederma, Bio-Oil, Palmer's, ScarAway, Kelo-Cote, NewGel+, Hiruscar, Kate Somerville (D-Scar), etc.
You name it and I've tried it!
(keep reading for my incredible before/after photos!)
In this post, I'm going to share with you the scar gels that are actually worth your money based on my personal experience, medical research, and overall user feedback. Let's get started! ⭐
Here are my top recommendations:
First, I'd like to show you my before/after pictures (which I think are worth a thousand words).
Here's my facial hypertrophic scars back in May 2015 (during my university days):
And here's a collage of those same hypertrophic scars after 5 sessions of corticosteroid injections, dozens of scar products over the years, and also me taking better care of my body and skin:
Finally, here's some before/after photos of my chest keloids over the same time period:
I still have scars today but I feel the difference has been night & day between these photos.
As you can see, I used to have very painful knots of scar tissue along my jawline and neck that were caused by years of severe cystic acne (the chest keloids were caused by natural tension).
In 2018, I consulted a dermatologist and began receiving intralesional corticosteroid injections to help flatten my facial hypertrophic scars and chest keloids. I received 5 injections over 9 months.
In my opinion, this was hands down the most effective scar treatment for my raised scars.
By the time of my last injection in late March 2019, my keloids and hypertrophic scars had become significantly smaller & smoother and appeared less inflamed (red) than before:
That's because corticosteroids, such as triamcinolone acetonide, have anti-inflammatory properties that suppress collagen growth and reduce the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the scar.
Remember, raised scars like keloids are caused when your body produces too much collagen in response to a wound (source: Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology, 2018).
Now, in conjunction with corticosteroid injections, I also used silicone gels and silicone sheets to help maintain my results (primary goal) and improve my scar appearance (secondary goal).
Both my own dermatologist and the International Panel on Scar Management have confirmed that silicone products are clinically proven for scar treatment (source: Dermatologic Surgery, 2014).
Now, I'm going to share with you the scar gels that worked well for me plus the ones that didn't. ⚡
NewGel+ is currently my top pick for all types of raised scars, including hypertrophic scars, keloids, and acne scars, as this fantastic product is both effective and affordable.
The ingredients are very simple:
I began using NewGel+ after my final corticosteroid injection in late March 2019 and used it for over 6 months from May until October. I bought the 30g version from an authorized Canadian reseller, but if you live in the US, you can buy directly from both Amazon.com and NewGel+.
(Side note: I switched to NewGel+ after using Mederma for 6 months with no results.)
Once again, I have some before/after photos that showcase my progress.
Here's before NewGel+, a few days after my final corticosteroid injection:
And here's two photos during NewGel+ treatment, 2- and 4-months after my final injection:
(please note I had some new cysts on my right jawline and neck at this time which are not scars)
Finally, here's my last photo, taken after about 6-months of using NewGel+:
(here you can see my skin is a little shiny because I had just applied it onto my scars)
Overall, during my 6-month treatment period, I felt that NewGel+ worked pretty well:
The only downside to NewGel+ (and I'm being nitpicky here) is that it has a stickier texture compared to some of the other silicone gels that I've tried (ScarAway, Kelo-Cote, Hiruscar, etc.).
Finally, customer reviews have been very positive on Amazon, scoring 4 out of 5 right now. The reviews tend to fall into two buckets: i) it worked fabulously well! or ii) it didn't work at all.
My Verdict: NewGel+ is my top pick as it's both effective and affordable. I've had excellent results using NewGel+ following corticosteroid injections for my own scars (see my before/after photos). While it's not a "scar eraser" (nothing is!), it has helped me maintain my results, prevent my scars from coming back (a nightmare with keloids), and restore my normal skin color.
(p.s. if you enjoyed this science-based review, consider buying NewGel+ using the "shop now" link below as this helps support me to create more high-quality skincare content for you.)Shop Now
Strataderm is currently my second top pick, mainly because I've just started using it (July 2020) so I don't have any before/after photos to show you. However, I'm very excited about this product because my dermatologist highly recommended it as she saw excellent results in her patients.
Based on my independent research, I found that Strataderm is manufactured by a Swiss company called Stratpharma and uses high-quality silicone polymers that bond very tightly to your skin (which is why Strataderm only requires 1x daily application compared to 2x for most silicone gels).
In addition, Stratpharma has a good reputation and produces many innovative scar products like:
Here's a video of Dr. Michael Gold discussing Stratpharma products, including Strataderm:
Dr. Gold is one of the leading authorities on scar management and is also the lead author of the International Advisory Panel on Scar Management's latest recommendations on scar management (source: Updated International Clinical Recommendations for Scar Management, Part 2).
In the video, Dr. Gold explains how silicone gels like Strataderm form an invisible and water-proof barrier over your scars to protect them from infections and keep them from drying out.
This creates a moist environment which is better for optimal wound healing (minimizes scars) and also helps reduce existing hypertrophic scars and keloids by suppressing collagen production (source: Advances in Wound Care, 2015).
Here's an excellent illustration that showcases how silicone works in more detail:
(image courtesy: Silagen)
Anyways, Strataderm is a bit more expensive but I decided to take the plunge and buy the 50g version to use on my chest keloids and facial hypertrophic scars for the next 6 months.
I'll update this post with before/after photos once I've completed the 6-month treatment period.
My Verdict: Strataderm is my second top pick as it's recommended by medical professionals including my own dermatologist and Dr. Michael Gold (a leading authority on scar management). It's a bit more expensive than comparable silicone gels but I'm optimistic it will deliver good results. Stay tuned for my next batch of before/after photos once I finish using Strataderm.Shop Now
ScarAway is a household name in scar treatment and you might have seen their silicone scar sheets which are another effective and affordable option for scar management.
I've tried both ScarAway Silicone Scar Gel and ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets in the past:
Unfortunately, I don't have any before/after photos to show you from this time period.
Although I had limited personal success with ScarAway (the silicone gel), I'd still recommend it as it's pretty affordable and easy to apply. It's about $25 or less on Amazon for a 20g tube.
I remember the main drawback was the product's rollerball dispenser which was supposed to help you massage your scars (Kate Somerville D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum uses the same design).
However, the rollerball dispenser tends to get clogged up if you don't use the product regularly. I didn't really use it to massage my scars as I don't think it had any effect (it's also painful on keloids).
Finally, customer reviews have been pretty positive with an overall score of 3.8 out of 5.0 right now.
The reviews fall into two buckets: i) it improved scar appearance or ii) complaints about the rollerball dispenser and/or how the price is much higher than at Wal-Mart.
My Verdict: ScarAway is a budget-friendly silicone gel that you can use on hypertrophic scars, keloids, and scars from wounds, surgeries, burns, and severe acne. Personally, it didn't work for me but I wouldn't mind trying it again for a 6-month period to give it another shot.Shop Now
Kelo-Cote is another popular brand of silicone gels. This company has changed hands a few times, having been acquired by Sinclair IS Pharma in 2011 and then later sold to Alliance Pharma in 2015 (source: Financial Times, 2011 and Alliance Pharmaceuticals, 2015).
That's why you might still see old product images on Amazon.com with "Sinclair" on them.
Anyways, I bought a two-pack of Kelo-Cote last year and used it from October 2019 to July 2020, with a 2 month interruption while I was travelling in Asia (I used Hiruscar during this period).
Overall, I used Kelo-Cote (4 tubes of 15g = 60g) for about 7 full months on my chest keloids and occasionally on my facial hypertrophic scars (I was preoccupied with clearing up breakouts).
Here's some before/after photos of my chest keloids:
In the left photo, you can see that I've applied Kelo-Cote on my scars by the shiny reflection. This scar gel has a watery consistency, dries quickly. and is barely noticeable once applied.
Now, it might be hard to notice in these photos, but I think Kelo-Cote did help smooth out my scars and fade away the upper half of my chest keloids. The bottom three scars, unfortunately, did not react well and need another shot of corticosteroid injections to flatten them completely.
Here's some before/after photos of my facial hypertrophic scars during this treatment period (again, I only used Kelo-Cote intermittently on these scars):
You can see from these photos that there was some improvement in scar appearance, but I don't think it was due to Kelo-Cote since I didn't use it consistently on my facial scars.
I think it was more likely a combination of weekly glycolic acid peels (which I highly recommend) and keeping my skin moisturized with face creams like La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5.
All in all, I liked using Kelo-Cote as it was very affordable, easy to use, and provided good results. However, I think NewGel+ performed a bit better in terms of flattening and softening my scars.
Finally, customer reviews have been very positive (but are more limited), scoring 4.6 out of 5.0.
My Verdict: Kelo-Cote is another popular scar gel that I've used with pretty good results. If you have larger scars, consider picking up the 60g format which should last you about 4-6 months.Shop Now
The SkinMedica Scar Recovery Gel is another product from its professional portfolio that helps reduce the appearance of red or pink scars following medical or cosmetic procedures.
Personally, I have not tried this product because: i) I haven't had surgery and ii) it's pretty expensive.
This scar gel is marketed towards patients undergoing aesthetic procedures like plastic surgery, breast enlargement/reduction, and laser resurfacing; as well as medical operations like C-section.
Unlike my previous recommendations, the Scar Recovery Gel does not use silicone, but relies on a proprietary blend with Centelline®, a complex of three key ingredients:
Finally, customer reviews have been very positive, with an overall score of 4.5 out of 5.0 right now. The high rating is one of the reasons that this product stood out to me during my research.
My Verdict: If you're planning to undergo medical or cosmetic surgery, Scar Recovery Gel can help reduce the appearance of subsequent scarring and promote better recovery results.Shop Now
Kate Somerville is one of my favorite brands and I used EradiKate™ Acne Treatment with 10% sulfur many years ago to treat my cystic acne (it's really powerful but will also dry out your skin).
I was excited to try the D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum as I hoped it'd be the solution to my scars.
Unfortunately, at the time, I did not understand my scars as much I do today. It turns out I was using this product on the wrong type of scars (my chest keloids and facial hypertrophic scars).
In a nutshell, there are two types of scars:
So the problem was that I tried to use D-Scar on my raised scars but this product is designed more for treating atrophic scars like rolling, boxcar, or ice pick scars. These types of scars are common after dealing with severe acne where inflammation has destroyed healthy skin tissue.
The main ingredient in D-Scar is a polypeptide, DS-7™, which is a synthetic human growth hormone produced by fermentation in E. coli bacteria (INCI name: sh-Polypeptide-7). Studies have shown that this polypeptide increases both collagen and elastin synthesis in human dermal fibroblasts (source: High Performing Bio Ingredients for Cosmetics by DTS MG Co. Ltd.).
In other words, DS-7™ helps your skin repair itself after it's been damaged.
This is very helpful if you have atrophic scars that need a "collagen boost" to restore smoother skin. You can also use D-Scar as a recovery serum following microneedling to boost overall results.
This is what I plan to do with the rest of my D-Scar tube on the indented scars near my temples.
However, if you have hypertrophic scars or keloids, D-Scar will not be as effective (although there is some silicone in the ingredient list). I recommend using a silicone gel like NewGel+ in that case.
My Verdict: Kate Somerville D-Scar Scar Diminishing Serum is an excellent scar gel for atrophic scars as it helps promote collagen and elastin synthesis with DS-7™ to improve scar appearance.Shop Now
SkinCeuticals is a brand that I always recommend to my readers because of the company's commitment to science-based skincare and history of product innovation (for example, they almost single-handedly created the "vitamin C serum" category with their award-winning and patent-protected vitamin C serum, the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic).
The company's Phyto Corrective Gel is designed to reduce visual redness and discoloration from scars and soothe sensitive skin after aesthetic procedures like fractional laser resurfacing.
This botanical serum includes the following key ingredients:
All in all, this is a very useful product for combating skin redness, whether from old scars, sensitivity, irritation, environmental pollution, or other skin concerns like eczema and rosacea.
My Verdict: SkinCeuticals Phyto Corrective Gel is an exceptional product for reducing redness associated with old scars, sensitive skin, environmental pollution, and skin conditions like eczema and rosacea. This botanical serum can help you achieve clearer and more even skin.Shop Now
The new Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment is aimed at people with acne and acne scars as it may help: i) prevent acne scars or reduce scar severity from recently healed blemishes, and ii) reduce the appearance of existing scars by promoting wound healing with centella asiatica.
The key ingredients include:
Overall, all of these ingredients contribute towards scar treatment and prevention.
I also like that the ingredient list is nice and short (only 20 in total).
Finally, customer reviews have been relatively good, scoring 4.1 on Amazon. The feedback was a mix of: i) I didn't see any noticeable results or ii) this product is a holy grail!
Once again, it's important to understand that scar treatments require lots of patience (I'm still working on mine after 5+ years of different treatments) and sufficient knowledge of how scars work.
My Verdict: Murad InvisiScar Resurfacing Treatment is a new scar treatment & prevention product aimed at improving the appearance of old acne scars and promoting a scar-free recovery after you've finished dealing with recent blemishes.Shop Now
Post-acne marks (also called dark spots) tend to accompany acne scars following severe acne, especially widespread inflammatory acne, such as cystic or nodular acne.
Unlike acne scars, which are rooted in differences in skin texture (over- and under-production of collagen can result in hypertrophic and atrophic scars, respectively), acne marks are caused by an excess of melanin pigments which "stain" your skin cells to appear darker than normal.
This happens when melanocytes (special cells that produce melanin) become hyperactive due to a cascade of inflammatory signals that are produced, ironically, to fight acne in the first place (source: Facial Hyperpigmentation: Causes and Treatment, 2013).
While acne marks tend to fade on their own (as melanin production normalizes), the mismatch in skin color is undesirable and known as hyperpigmentation, discoloration, or uneven skin tone.
The Murad Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel seeks to address this issue using 2% hydroquinone, a powerful skin lightening agent that reduces melanin production via tyrosinase inhibition.
While hydroquinone has received some criticism in recent decades over safety concerns, the US Food & Drug Administration permits 2% hydroquinone to be sold without a prescription as the data is still inconclusive. Hydroquinone has been used since the 1950s with relatively few side effects (source: The Safety of Hydroquinone: A Dermatologist's Response to the 2006 Federal Register).
In addition to hydroquinone, Spot Lightening Gel also includes Glycolic Acid and Willow Bark Extract (a natural source of Salicylic Acid) for exfoliation and cell turnover benefits. Murad states these ingredients help increase the penetration of hydroquinone into your skin.
Finally, tea tree oil rounds out the formula for additional anti-acne and anti-inflammatory benefits.
With hydroquinone products, it's important to "cycle on, cycle off" by using it for about 3 months, then switching to an alternative product like arbutin, kojic acid, or vitamin C for 1-3 months.
My Verdict: For acne marks and dark spots, Murad Post-Acne Spot Lightening Gel is a powerful solution with 2% hydroquinone and AHA/BHAs for clearing up uneven skin tone.Shop Now
Last but not least, if you have scars on exposed areas of your body (face, hands, arms, lower legs), I recommend using a silicone gel that includes SPF sun protection to prevent hyperpigmentation.
That's because scar tissue has less natural defense against sun damage compared to healthy skin due to the lower levels of melanocytes and melanin production.
BioCorneum is an excellent scar product that combines both medical-grade silicone gel and SPF 30 to protect your exposed scars from further discoloration while out in the Sun.
It also helps flatten hypertrophic scars using patented Silishield® cross-linking silicone technology (source: BioCorneum Website).
Finally, customers reviews have been good, scoring 4.5 out of 5.0 on Amazon right now. Be careful which reseller you order from as BioCorneum is supposed to be distributed by physicians only.
My Verdict: BioCorneum is a premium silicone gel with Silishield® technology and SPF 30 to reduce the appearance of hypertrophic scars and keloids, while protecting them from sun damage.Shop Now