How can I lighten flat dark scars on my upper arms and upper back from picking scabs?

I pick scabs repeatedly. The scars are dark and I would like to know how to lighten them

Doctor Answers 3

How to lighten dark marks

The most important thing for ridding yourself of dark marks is the AVOIDANCE OF PICKING, as this will just continue to create more scars and pigmentation. There are several options available to lighten the dark marks caused by picking. You can try gentle exfoliation with a cosmeceutical wash (the one I particularly like is a combination of salicylic acid and various lightening ingredients), along with a medical strength lightening cream (the one I particularly like is Blanche by Neocutis)  in the morning. In the evening, I would recommend a prescription strength Retinol combined with bleaching ingredients ( Novelle by Neocutis happens to combine both). Blanche has 4% hydroquinone as an active ingredient which targets melanocytes; these cells are responsible for pigment that you see as dark discoloration. Retinol based creams increase skin turnover and that helps to exfoliate the pigment. In addition to this home care system, the addition of medical strength chemical peels improve results even further. The current peel that I recommend is by PCA as it employs several blended acids and correctives to lighten the pigment without irritation. The most important step in the success of treatment of dark marks is using a broad spectrum sunscreen on a daily basis.

Good Luck

New York Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Melarase creams for dark scars

Our office specializes in scar revision treatments. For dark scars, we would recommend application of Melarase AM and Melarase PM creams twice daily on the skin to relieve the pigmentation. 

Raffy Karamanoukian MD FACS

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Scar therapy for dark scars

You may benefit from a topical scar formulation to help bleach and blend in your dark scar, see below. 
Not infrequently potential patients avoid surgery because fear of an unsightly scar. To remedy this, I now utilize and formulate compounded topical creams to treat, relieve and minimize scars for each of my patients:
• new scars
• old scars
• surgical scars
• keloid scars
• stretch marks
• hypertrophic scars
• hyperpigmented (dark) scars
• various acne scars, burn scars and more...
These scar removal creams contain prescription strength medications each individually known to reduce and/or reverse the scarring process but never before compounded together into one high potency formulation. These medications are added to a base of anhydrous silicone (the most common ingredient in everyday topical scar therapy) and Pracaxi oil, found in the Amazon rainforest and known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Many health insurance plans actually cover the cost of the creams and they can be delivered directly to the patients door step. In other words, no need for multiple trips to the doctor for expensive and painful laser treatments, or wasted money on minimally effective over-the-counter topical scar therapy gels or silicone sheets that are unsightly and/or fail to stay on. Instead, with just two applications a day my patients now perform scar therapy in the comfort of their own home. Glad to help.

Ryan Stanton, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.