Roshini Raj, MD, Health’s medical editor and coauthor of What the Yuck?!, fields your most personal and provocative questions.
Q: I have a scar on my face, and I really hate it. How do I get rid of it?
A: You may not be able to completely (sorry!), but there are ways to make it nearly disappear. First, know that while lightening creams may fade dark spots, like those that linger after a zit, they don’t work as well on the raised scars you get from a cut. Scar-targeting products such as Mederma and silicone sheets can lessen the appearance of both types.
If those don’t work, turn to the big guns: a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. They can try laser resurfacing, in which pulsating beams of light remove thin layers of skin to even out appearance, or dermabrasion, which uses a rough-surfaced brush or wheel to remove the top layers of skin and stimulate new growth. In the meantime, apply sunscreen over the scar daily to keep it from darkening. The good news is most scars soften and lighten on their own with time.
Got an embarrassing question? Send it to Dr. Raj at email@example.com.