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How Effective Is Aloe Vera for Scars?

By Emily Daw
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Aloe vera is a plant whose extract is well known for its ability to cool and soothe irritated skin. It is the only topical treatment — a treatment applied directly to the skin — known to reduce the appearance of scars. Repeated application of aloe vera is effective at treating scars in some circumstances, especially in the case of acne marks, due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Although aloe vera is regarded as a very safe treatment, a patient who experiences unusual side effects while using it should stop treatment and consult a medical professional.

Scars are caused when the dermis — the layer of skin underneath the surface — is damaged. The body produces a fibrous tissue called collagen to close up the wound and aid in healing. Collagen can be left behind once the damage to the dermis has been repaired, resulting in a scar.

The size, color, and texture of a scar may continue changing for one to two years after an injury as the dermis continues to re-form under the scar tissue. Using aloe vera to treat a scar is most effective during this time, as it may reduce the inflammation associated with ongoing healing. In addition to potentially improving the appearance of skin, aloe vera may reduce the itching associated with scar formation. Patients should not use this treatment on open wounds or until two weeks after the injury, however.

Though it comes in a variety of creams and lotions, the most effective form of aloe vera for scars is a pure gel with no additives. Frequent application is not known to have any adverse effects, and the more frequent the application, the more likely it is to be effective. Aloe vera is not a miracle cure, as it sometimes reduces the appearance of scars only minimally even after several months of treatment. The older the scar, the less likely it is to be effected by treatment.

While more rigorous treatments, such as laser therapy or even surgery, are available for severe cases, using aloe vera on scars from acne or everyday injuries is a far less expensive option. Other topical treatments, such as vitamin E or shea butter cream, have been proved to have no long-term effect on the appearance of scars, which makes aloe vera one of the only over-the-counter products available for scar treatment.

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Discussion Comments
By anon992454 — On Sep 09, 2015

I got a mole removed when I was 14 years old and it left a scar. I didn't use aloe vera right away. I found out about aloe vera years later, but now I apply it and it fades my scar. Nothing can heal the scar completely, but this plant works.

By amypollick — On Jun 27, 2013

@anon339806: Nothing works overnight. You could try the aloe vera on your scars, but it will take weeks or months, not days, to heal the scars. You could also try something like Mederma, which is specifically for scars, or Vitamin E oil, which also helps scarring. It doesn't heal right away, but consistent application should help.

By anon339806 — On Jun 27, 2013

I have some black burn scars from the usage of garlic on pimples. Can aloe vera help to remove the burn scars? How many days will it take to cure the burn scars completely? Please suggest a remedy.

By elizabeth23 — On Nov 01, 2011

I have a few aloe vera plants in my house partly for these purposes, so that I have it if I need to put aloe on a burn or a scar or some other injury. It's a lot less expensive than many products with less concentrated aloe in them.

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