Val Monroe
Photo: Jonathan Skow
Q: What can I do about a nasty scar on my leg?

A: If you've just now slammed into the open dishwasher door (ouch!), you should clean the wound immediately and use an emollient, like Aquaphor, to prevent the formation of a scab. This can reduce the severity of a scar, says Brooke Jackson, MD, medical director of the Skin Wellness Center of Chicago. But since you already have the scar, there are a few things you can do. (By the way, did you know that because circulation decreases after age 30, wounds on the lower half of your body will heal less well than those on the upper half? Good news if you scratch your face.) On a new, raised, red scar, use over-the-counter Curad Scar Therapy to provide moisture and protection; on an old, flat, dark scar, try a prescription fading cream (like Tri-Luma or EpiQuin Micro, which have 4 percent hydroquinone) and/or microdermabrasion. Some raised, red scars can be improved with one to three treatments of a pulsed dye laser. If a wound doesn't heal in two to three weeks, be sure to see a dermatologist to rule out conditions such as skin cancer, says Jackson.

Bottom line: There's no way to completely remove a scar, but you can minimize its appearance.