Scar Treatment

How do I heal an old scar?

Date Reviewed: 01.11.2022
5 min read

It is nearly impossible to get through life without damaging your skin along the way. While some skin injuries may leave minor scars and marks that don’t bother you, in other instances, you might want to improve their appearance. Keep reading if you want to learn more about removing, caring and treating old scars.

  • Old scars can be cared for with positive results
  • There is a range of scar care products available
  • It may take weeks before you start to see results

In this article:

  • What causes a scar?
  • What are the different types of scars and how do you prevent them?
  • What if I have older scars?
  • Things to remember
  • References

What causes a scar?

When your skin is injured, whether it is the result of a cut, surgery, burn or acne, a scar is often formed as a natural consequence of the skin healing process. Scar tissue forms due to excessive collagen production at the site of injury[1].

There are a number of different types of scars that occur for different reasons. Factors influencing the type of scars that develop, include family history, skin type and genetics [5].

These include:

  • Hypertrophic and keloid scars are a common result of cuts or incisions to the skin through surgery [7]
  • Atrophic and contracture scars are usually the result of acne and burns respectively [2,3,4].

The best remedy for scars is prevention – in that respect, taking good care of your injured skin  is the best way to prevent scars from becoming too visible. A fine scar resulting from a well-healed wound is likely to improve in appearance by itself whereas a wide scar resulting from a wound that has not healed properly will take more time to heal and fade.

Important to the wound healing process, is keeping your wound clean, moist and protected from the sun. Doing this will minimise scar formation. It’s also a good idea to maintain a well-balanced diet and to avoid smoking.

What if I have older scars?

In many cases the longer you wait before caring for your scar, the more time and effort you’ll need to help reduce its appearance.

Hypertrophic scars (thickened, wide, often raised) usually appear several weeks after wounding and may fade on their own to some extent.

Keloid scars appear later on and might grow indefinitely [6]. These two types of scars are the results of an abnormal response during healing [7]. Contracture scars also develop over time especially when the injury, typically a burn, occurred on or close to a joint [3].

The same products can be used for young and old scars but it is likely that the longer you wait before caring for your scar, the more effort and time will be needed in order to obtain visible results [8].

There are a range of invasive solutions available, but these might only be available through a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. However, you can find a range of scar care products to purchase from pharmacies, drug stores and online. Some of these include aloe vera, green tea or onion extract, the last of which is used in Mederma® scar care products.

Caring for an old scar does not differ much from how you look after a new scar. The notable difference will be the duration of care.

The recommended period of use for any of the Mederma® scar care products is from 8 weeks for new scars and up to 6 months for old scars. During application, don’t hesitate to massage your scar as you would do for a new one.  Scars may feel stiffer, so massaging them can relieve some of the tension and help them restore suppleness [6].

Mederma® Advanced Scar Gel

  • Improves the appearance of scars from 14 days*
  • Unique formula with triple benefits
  • Use just once a day

Buy today

Things to remember

To reduce the appearance of scars can be a long process, even more so for older scars. Patience and perseverance are key, but it is likely that the look and feel of your scars will improve along the way.

Remember to:

  • Take good care of injured skin.
  • Keep your scar moist.
  • Relieve tension with massages and regular application of products


Did you like this article? Please let us know if you found this article useful.
Back to Top