Topical Agents for Scar Management: Are They Effective?

J Drugs Dermatol. 2018 Apr 1;17(4):421-425.


Scar formation is the body's natural healing response to reestablish dermal integrity following an injury. Excessive scarring, however, can cause significant cosmetic, functional, and psychological problems. A wide variety of topical creams, lotions, and oils are available for scar treatment or wound healing. Sieving through the options and selecting the best option for their patients can be challenging for clinicians, especially given that clinical evidence for many of the active agents in commonly used topical treatments is lacking. The goal of this review is to provide an overview of topical treatments utilized for scar management, including their mechanism of action and evidence of efficacy. As knowledge of the wound healing process is critical to understanding the effects of topical treatments, the pathophysiology of wound healing is also reviewed. <p><em>J Drugs Dermatol. 2018;17(4):421-425.</em></p>.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Animals
  • Cicatrix / drug therapy*
  • Cicatrix / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hyaluronic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Ointments / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Preparations / administration & dosage
  • Silicone Gels / administration & dosage
  • Skin Cream / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin E / administration & dosage
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Wound Healing / physiology


  • Ointments
  • Plant Preparations
  • Silicone Gels
  • Vitamin E
  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases