Although scars often will not put your life in danger, they can be embarrassing for a lot of people, especially if they appear on places where everyone else can see them. They can also be painful, itchy and may restrict movement.
Scars are not easy to get rid of and in fact, you cannot get rid of them completely. You can only fade scars and improve their appearance overtime. A lot of scar treatment products claim to offer miracle results but do not be fooled. Do not waste your money on these products instead learn more about proper scar treatment.
The Healing Process: Why Scars Happen
Did you know that scarring is part of your skin’s natural healing process? When a cut, wound or burn damages or injures your skin tissue your body will release collagen to repair your skin. Collagen is a protein fiber responsible for reattaching the damaged skin tissue.
Overtime, collagen can build up on the damaged area leading to scar formation. If there is an overproduction of collagen, it can lead to the formation of dark and raised scars. Scars can appear anywhere in the body. They can be flat or raised and pale or dark depending on the type of scar you have. The different types of scar include:
- Atrophic Scars: These scars have a sunken or crater-like appearance. An example of theatrophic scar is acne scars.
- Flat and Pale Scars: These are the most common type of scar. Initially, they appear reddish and slightly raised, but they become pale and flat over time.
- Contracture Scars: These scars can make your skin look contracted and may affect your movements.This is due to the loss of a larger part of the skin. Contracture scars appear when your skin suffers from burns.
- Hypertrophic Scars: These scars are red and raised and form within the borders of a wound.
- Keloid Scars: These scars are raised and can be pale or red. Keloids are smooth and shiny. They can keep expanding even after your wound has completely healed. Hypertrophic and keloid scars are due to the excessive production of collagen.
The appearance of scars depends on the size and depth of the wound. Your age, genes and ethnicity may also have to do with it. For example, fair-skinned people are prone to having hypertrophic scars while dark-skinned people are prone to forming keloids. Keloid scars can run in the family. If one or both of your parents have keloids, most likely you will develop a keloid too.
Scars are permanent. Do not fall for false advertising on products that can completely remove scars. Scars will naturally fade away over time, and you can undergo scar treatment to further improve their appearance and make them less visible.
Scar Treatment: Explore Your Options
People often choose to have their scars treated for cosmetic reasons especially if the scars appear on places visible to other people. People can also choose to have their scars removed if their scars can affect movement and if it is starting to them psychologically.
Although scars are permanent, there are several scar treatments that can help fade and improve their appearance.
1. Scar Treatment Home Remedies
Some stuff you can find at home, particularly in your kitchen, can help improve the appearance of minor scars. Here are some of the top home remedies to improve scars:
- Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer to help keep your skin healthy. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to promote faster healing of your wound. The longer your wound heals, the higher the chance of forming a dark-colored
- Vitamin E Oil: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that can help in the repair of your damaged skin tissues. It can also help moisturize your skin to improve the appearance of your scar.
- Lemon: Lemon works in many ways to improve the appearance of your scars. It can help repair damaged It can help exfoliate your skin to remove the dead skin cells, and it can lighten your scar.
- Honey: Honey is a natural moisturizer. It has anti-bacterial It helps get rid of dead skin cells, and it can help in the regeneration of skin tissues.
- Cocoa Butter: Cocoa butter is a popular home remedy for scars. It penetrates your skin easily and can keep your skin moisturized for a longer time. It has vitamin E that can help repair damaged skin tissue.
These natural scar treatment remedies are less costly, accessible and safe to use. They are best used when the scar is still fresh or when the scab starts forming over the wound.
2. Scar Concealer Make-up
Nowadays, there is make-up specifically designed to conceal unsightly scars that are not too large and extended. You can use it on your face, arms and legs. This type of make-up is waterproof and can stay on your skin for two days.
The challenge in using make-up to conceal scars is finding the right colors that best camouflage your scar with the color of your skin. Ask help from an expert when choosing a make-up color.
3. Corticosteroids for Raised Scars
Corticosteroids or cortisone are drugs that can help reduce inflammation. Skin experts usually recommend them for the treatment of hypertrophic and keloid scars. You can use corticosteroids topically or through intralesional steroid injections; however, experts agree that intralesional corticosteroid injections are more effective than cortisone scar treatment creams in reducing hypertrophic and keloid scars.
Intralesional corticosteroid injections involve injecting the drug directly into the scar to flatten it. Depending on the appearance of your scar, you may need multiple injections to get the best result. Initially, treatment will start with three injections with intervals of four to six weeks in between. If the scar responds positively to the corticosteroid injections, your doctor may advise you to continue the treatment for several months.
4. Silicone Gel to Flatten Scars
You can use silicone sheets to prevent hypertrophic and keloid scars from rising. These sheets can create pressure and inhibit the growth of scars while facilitating healing of the wound underneath. You can use silicone sheets on healing wounds but not open wounds.
Silicone gel is an alternative to silicone sheets because it is easier to use and will stay on your skin 24 hours even without adhesives used in silicone sheets so it can stay attached to your skin. Silicone gel will easily dry on your skin, and other people will not see it because of its transparent color.
Once the silicone gel dries on your skin, it works by reducing the production of collagen; it helps moisturize the skin; it protects your wound from infection, and it can help relieve itching. In one study, silicone gel is effective in reducing 86 percent of the scar’s texture, 84 percent of its color and 68 percent of the car’s height.
Silicone gel is advisable to use on sensitive skin and is child-friendly. For best results, you should use silicone gel when your scar is still fresh.
5. Pressure Dressings to Stunt Scar Growth
Pressure dressings are a nonsurgical option to reduce the growth or flatten abnormal scars. Pressure dressings work by increasing collagen breakdown and decreasing tissue metabolism.
Pressure dressings can be elastic bandages or wraps, Isotoner-type gloves for the hand and elastic stockings for the feet. You need to wear the pressure dressing for 24 hours every day for up to six to 12 months before your wound matures.
6. Laser Scar Treatment
Different laser therapies can effectively help improve the appearance of scars. Laser therapy is a non-invasive procedure that requires less recovery period, which is why it is a popular procedure. Here are some types of laser therapies used to treat scars:
- Laser Resurfacing: This procedure uses high-powered laser light to remove the damaged outer layer of the skin and to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layer of the skin. Laser resurfacing can take place in your doctor’s clinic or office up to two hours. You will receive a local anesthetic, and you will be sedated. Laser resurfacing is quite expensive.
- Fractional Laser Resurfacing: Unlike the conventional laser resurfacing, fractional laser resurfacing only targets some parts of the damaged area. The procedure can create tiny holes, thereby causing fractional damage, on the damaged area. The microscopic holes created by the laser light can help get rid of damaged skin cells, stimulate collagen production and the growth of new healthy skin cells. The advantage of this procedure is a speedy recovery period.
- Non-ablative Laser Resurfacing: This procedure uses infrared laser light to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin while keeping the outer layer untouched. It works by stimulating collagen production and helping in the regeneration healthy skin cells. Non-ablative laser resurfacing does not require a recovery period, but it can take a long time to notice positive changes on your skin.
Laser therapies require several sessions before changes can take place. The cost can add up to each session.
7. Dermal Fillers to Fill Sunken Scars
These synthetic or naturally- derived materials injected into the skin to make it look plump. Dermal fillers are popular in the cosmetic world. Doctors use them to fight off the sign of aging, to enhance looks and to even out sunken scars.
Depending on the type of dermal filler used, it can last for up to two to five years. Since dermal fillers do not last long, you may need to undergo repeat treatments to maintain the appearance of your scar.
8. Dermabrasion for Treating Acne Scars
Dermabrasion is a procedure that involves surgically scraping off the top layers of your skin with the use of a rotating brush. It helps remove the damaged skin cells so new healthy cells can replace, which in turn, will reveal a smoother and healthier looking skin.
Dermabrasion is effective in improving acne scars or pox scars. The face affected area may be reddish at the start, but it can return to its normal color in 6 to 12 weeks.
9. Surgery Scar Treatment
Removing a scar through surgery is an option if your scar restricts movement and if it is affecting your emotional health, particularly if the scar won’t respond to other scar removal treatment options. Since you need to cut the skin and remove the damaged skin tissue during surgery, there is a high chance a new scar tissue will form over the removed scar tissue.
When you choose to remove surgically hypertrophic or keloid scars, there is a high chance the newly formed scar may be worse in appearance than the previous scar to prevent this from happening; doctors need to use special techniques during the surgery to prevent the formation of larger scar tissues. Right after the surgery, you doctor will inject corticosteroid on the site to reduce inflammation and regulate collagen production.
They will also use additional treatments, such as oral antibiotics and radiation therapy, to lessen the risk of keloid formation.Nevertheless, your doctor’s skill and expertise and the advanced treatments used do not guarantee that the procedure will be successful.
Radiotherapy or radiation scar therapy is a procedure that involves using high-energy radiation to eliminate damaged cells of hypertrophic and keloid scars. Radiotherapy is effective in improving the appearance of raised scars 70 percent of the time, and it is even more effective when used after surgery. However, this is the last option your doctor would recommend when all else fails because of the risk of a long-term side-effect of exposure to the radiation, such as stunted growth on the affected area.
During the procedure, you may need to wear protective gear on parts of the body not being treated. Moreover, children should be spared from this procedure as much as possible.
Remember that these scar treatments will not completely remove your scar so manage your expectations. You can also read these scar treatment reviews to help you gain a more realistic expectation when undergoing scar treatments.
Scar Removal: Why Prevention is Better Than Any Cure
As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Scars are inevitable if you are prone to it. There is nothing you can do to prevent it from appearing. Aside from the above mentioned scar treatments, there are many things you can do to prevent your scars from becoming unsightly, such as:
- Avoid getting a wound. If you are prone to keloids, avoid unnecessary wounds on your skin, such as piercings.
- Keep your wounds clean. If you have a wound or a cut, keep it clean because infection may slow down healing and can be a factor in the formation of adark-colored
- Leave scabs alone. Avoid peeling the scab off because it can delay the healing process, which in turn, will increase your risk of developing a darker scar.
- Watch out for the sun. Avoid exposing your healing wound from the sun because the UV rays can stimulate pigmentation leading to the formation of darker scars.
- Use a moisturizer. Keep the wound area moisturized to facilitate healing.
- Try a scar product. Use scar ointments when the scar has not matured yet. Scars that existed for more than two years are less likely to respond to drug treatments.
Whenever you suffer from a wound or cut, keep these tips in mind so you can avoid costly scar treatment procedures in the future. Scars are for life but with these scar removal treatments, you can fade your scars and make it less unsightly.