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Raised. Sunken. Bumpy. Stretched. Sore. While scars are a natural part of healing, they aren’t always pretty. And sometimes they even hurt.

You may wish they’d just fade away. You’ve tried creams and lotions with no luck. You’re starting to think you need something more than do-it-yourself treatments to get rid of them.

Cleveland Clinic’s dermatology providers are here to help. Our experts know what it takes to treat all kinds of scars. Whether you have old acne scars, a new surgical scar or one from a childhood injury, we’ll work with you to reduce their appearance and help you feel (and look) more like yourself.

Why Choose Cleveland Clinic for Scar Treatment?

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Comprehensive treatment:

Most scars improve with nonsurgical treatments, like chemical peels or laser resurfacing. But thick, painful or itchy scars, like keloids, may need scar revision. Our scar experts offer all of these treatments under one roof. Meet our team.

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Personalized care:

No scars are the same, and neither are the people we treat. That’s why we make sure the treatment you get is highly personalized. From expert care for acne scars or burns to the unique needs of people of color, Cleveland Clinic focuses on you.

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Specialized knowledge:

Large, deep scars — like those from burns — can cause tight areas of skin called contractures. Contractures can be painful and make it hard to move. Our plastic surgeons specialize in skin grafting, tissue expanders and other advanced techniques for complex scar revision.

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National recognition:

U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland Clinic a top hospital in the nation. Newsweek has also named us a top hospital in the world.

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Virtual visits:

We make it easy for you to get the care you need, when and where you need it. Many of our healthcare providers offer virtual visits and follow-ups. You’ll receive attentive, one-on-one care from your provider, from the comfort and convenience of home.

Evaluating Scars at Cleveland Clinic

During your first visit, your providers will ask how you got your scar and take a closer look at it so they can be sure the treatment plan they build is the right one. They consider these important factors:

  • Age of scar: Old scars and new scars respond differently to treatment. Your provider may suggest waiting until a scar matures (finishes producing collagen and heals fully, or remodels) before treating it. For many scars, this can take a few months, but for others it can take years. Some scars, like stretch marks, respond best to treatment soon after they show up. 
  • Cause of scar: Knowing if your scar is from acne, a piercing, a burn, mole removal, an incision (cut) from surgery, an illness like chickenpox or is something you were born with (birthmark), can help your provider choose the right treatment.
  • Location of scar: Scars in highly visible areas like your face or hands may need special cosmetic treatments. 
  • Type of scar: Keloids, hypertrophic scars (raised scars), atrophic scars (indented scars), stretch marks and contractures (shrunken scar tissue) all require different treatments.  

Your provider may do more testing for large scars or scars that may be hard to treat. Imaging scans can help them check scar depth and blood supply. The results of these scans help providers decide the best treatment. 

Meet Our Scar Care Team

When you come to Cleveland Clinic for scar treatment, you’ll work with a skilled team of providers, including:

This team works together — and with you — to create a personalized treatment plan that matches your specific needs. 


Our healthcare providers see patients at convenient locations throughout Northeast Ohio and Florida.

Treating Scars at Cleveland Clinic

At Cleveland Clinic, we offer a wide range of scar treatments. And we’ll personalize these treatments to meet your unique needs. From cosmetic treatments that won’t require surgery to complex revision surgeries that change your scar’s appearance, we have the expertise to give you the best results. 

Cosmetic scar treatment 

Many scars improve with cosmetic treatments that are quick, painless and don’t require surgery. While these treatments won’t get rid of a scar entirely, they can make it less noticeable. These include: 

  • Topical treatments: You’ll apply topical creams or ointments directly to your skin. Products with alpha hydroxy acid, hydrocortisone or retinoic acid fade scars. Silicone gel or silicone sheets can also improve the look of raised scars. 
  • Chemical peels: We’ll apply a chemical solution to remove the top layers of your skin around the scar. Chemical peels are a good choice to make acne scars less visible. In most cases, you’ll likely need a few treatments. 
  • Corticosteroid injections: Steroid injections break up collagen and also may soften and shrink hypertrophic and keloid scars. 
  • Dermabrasion: We’ll sand or scrape away the top layers of your skin to reveal smoother skin. Dermabrasion is a good acne scar treatment and may lighten dark or red scars. 
  • Dermal fillers: Atrophic scars that are pitted, such as acne scars, may improve with dermal fillers. We’ll inject collagen, fat or hyaluronic acid into the indented area.  
  • Laser skin resurfacing: There are many types of laser therapy that use energy from heat or light to treat the skin. Laser skin resurfacing can improve acne scars and stretch marks, lighten dark scars and soften hard or textured scars. 

Scar revision surgery

Scar revision surgery can help scars blend into your surrounding skin. It can help if you have large, long or deep scars that cause skin stiffness or ones that are very noticeable. We typically only recommend scar revision surgery if other treatments haven’t worked. Your surgeon may: 

  • Remodel your scar: If you have a large burn scar or contracture that has caused your skin to be very tight, your surgeon may replace the damaged skin with new skin. Or they may cut the tight skin and add skin to create more movement using tissue expanders or skin grafts. A tissue expander is a balloon-like device that goes under your skin to stretch it gradually. A graft is a piece of skin that’s moved from one part of your body to another.
  • Remove your scar: Hypertrophic or keloid scars may improve if the extra scar tissue is cut away. Your surgeon makes a new incision, removes the scar tissue and closes the incision in a way that minimizes new scarring. 
  • Reposition your scar: Your surgeon makes a new incision in a less visible area and pulls or shifts the skin flap that contains the old scar into that space. For example, a surgeon may move a scar on your cheek so that it’s hidden along your hairline. 

Taking the Next Step

You don’t have to live with a scar that bothers you. If it makes you feel self-conscious or uncomfortable — or if your scar hurts — it’s OK to want to do something about it. Our expert healthcare providers will look at your scar, answer your questions and talk about your concerns. Then, together, we’ll craft a personalized plan to treat it in a way that’s best for you. 

Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic dermatology experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.


Getting an appointment with Cleveland Clinic dermatology experts is easy. We’re here to help you get the care you need.

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