There are several topical treatments you can find in your own home to help scars heal and make them less noticeable.

It’s likely you have one or two: a mark on your body after the skin tries to heal itself — a scar. Scars are the result of the biological process to repair skin after a wound appears. Whether by accident or surgery, the body works to create collagen and fill in the tissues of the damaged skin.

Initially, cleanse and rinse away any debris, then cover the wound. This is important in order for the body’s natural healing to take its course. Consult a doctor if concerns arise; medical attention may be needed if the wound becomes infected, or is oozing, tender or red.

Try these easy home remedies to help reduce the appearance and formation of a scar.

PETROLEUM JELLY

Petroleum jelly helps coat the wound and can help prevent severe scarring. The moisturizing behavior inhibits the formation of thick scars. This trick will work to minimize the presence of new scars but may not work as well on the appearance of old scars.

HONEY

This common household item is loaded with antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Honey can help kill bacteria and fungi and has been effective in reducing acne scarring.

MOISTURIZER

Moisturizing is key during all stages, be sure to continue moisturizing even after the scar heals.

VITAMIN E

This can be applied after healing is complete. It will help the scar remain hydrated. Simply break open a vitamin E pill and rub the liquid on the scar.

CUCUMBER PASTE

It’s no surprise that cucumbers are composed primarily of water, which in turn helps hydration. Cucumber paste can be used as a cooling property and may help promote a less visible scar.

ONION EXTRACT

This is an active ingredient in many topical products to improve scar appearance. Onion extract can be used to hydrate scars, but it may irritate the skin. Use caution with this natural product.

A common treatment to avoid is lemon juice. It may cause irritation and kill the healthy skin cells. Think twice before using this option.

Over time, scars tend to fade gradually and a change in color is normal. Expect the scar to remain red in color for one year. You can also find some helpful products in the health and beauty aisle. Remember: Early intervention is key and can keep problems from happening down the road. Take care of your scar for three months after the injury.

To learn more about the process of wounds and scars check out the Scarring 411 article in the March/April issue.

Diane C. Madfes, M.D., P.C., is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in dermatology and dermatologic surgery. She is a solo practitioner in uptown Manhattan and Greenwich, CT. After receiving her medical degree in 1992, Dr. Madfes completed an internship at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She then began a three- year residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She is an attending physician at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York and a member of numerous professional societies, including the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.