Life’s little battle wounds can leave their mark on our skin and our confidence. But thanks to the latest scar-removal technology-nutrient-packed patches you wear overnight when the body is in repair mode-scars don’t have to be permanent. Read on for simple ways to get rid of scars and stretch marks without breaking the bank.
Best for raised scars:
In order to repair deeper-set cuts or severe burns, the body amps up skin-repairing collagen output. But overproduction can lead to a bumpy, raised scar. The fix? Silicone-based strips. “They create a barrier of hydration over skin that normalizes collagen levels, flattening and softening scars,” says New York City dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. In fact, one study even found silicone smoothed raised scars by 86 percent in six months. To do: Apply a silicone sheet like CVS Health Scar Strips ($19.99, CVS.com) nightly to start seeing a difference in 30 days.
Best for dark scars:
Inflammation from breakouts triggers skin’s melanin-producing cells to release pigment to the area as it heals, darkening skin long after the pimple is gone, says Dr. Zeichner. What can help: a brightening micro-dart patch. Painless, microscopic “pricks” make small openings in skin that deliver pigment-blockers like tranexamic acid and niacinamide directly into spots to diminish discoloration. To do: Stick patches, like Hero Cosmetics Micropoint for Dark Spots ($12.99, HeroCosmetics.us), onto scars three nights a week for results in one month.
Best for stretch marks:
Pregnancy and rapid weight fluctuations can cause skin’s connective tissues (made up of collagen and elastin fibers) to stretch and tear, resulting in the light striations on skin’s surface. And as it turns out, the stretch mark-reducing creams we’ve relied on can’t fully penetrate into skin to address the deep tears. But a “heated” hydrogel patch can! When applied to skin, the self-warming adhesive gel opens up pores to deposit its healing nutrients into the lower layers of skin, where the scarring actually occurs.
For better results, Dr. Zeichner suggests opting for one like Stretch Patch Stretch Mark+ for Normal Skin ($23.99, MyStretchPatch.com), which is made with hydrolyzed collagen (it increases skin’s elasticity), glycerin (it locks in moisture to plump and “fill in” lines) and vitamin E (it regenerates new, healthy tissue to speed healing). To do: Place onto stretch marks three nights a week to begin seeing smoother skin in four weeks.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.