Children love to play hard, and as a result, they often get scars. As a kid, a scar may be a symbol of strength and bravery. But what about as you get older? Maybe you’ve received scars from surgery, an accident or even acne. Although scars are a natural result of the body’s healing process, you may wish they would disappear.
Fortunately, there are ways to help minimize the appearance of scars you can do at home such as keeping the wound clean, applying petroleum jelly and keeping a fresh bandage over the wound as it heals. Keep reading to learn more about scars and how to effectively treat them.
What is a scar and why do we get them?
Scars are the natural result of the skin and tissue trying to repair a wound. A scar can form from almost any kind of cut, scratch, burn, disease, skin condition or surgery. Only very minor incidents will not cause scarring.
If the dermis, or deep layer of skin, has been damaged, new collagen fibers will begin to form. Think of it as the skin stitching itself back together. This stitching, or mending, of the skin will leave a visible mark once it is completely healed. These visible marks, or scars, let you know that your body has done its job at helping to restore your skin as best as it can.
What are the different types of scars?
Every wound heals a little bit differently. Therefore, there are different types of scars due to the amount of collagen that the body produces to heal the wound. Many scars will appear flat but paler than the natural tone of your skin. When the body creates too much collagen at the time of mending the wound, the scar will be raised. This kind of scar is called hypertrophic or keloid. Other scars appear to be sunken into the skin or pitted. These usually result from acne and are known as acne scars. Contracture scars occur when you have been burned. This type of scar is tightened skin and can be quite deep, affecting your muscles and nerves.
How can you minimize scars on a healing wound?
There are several ways to approach treating scars. Most importantly, you should know how to treat the wound as it is healing, and as the scar is forming. Keeping it clean and moisturized will help aid in the healing process, and potentially lessen the appearance of the scar.
If you need stitches, pay attention to the instructions that the doctor gives you for caring for the wound. After the wound has healed, try using sunscreen to minimize discoloration and help the scar fade quicker. However, once the scar has formed, you can still try to apply ointments such as cocoa butter cream, vitamin E and other skincare products that can be found in your local pharmacy. Other treatments include steroid injections, which can help to flatten scars.
Microdermabrasion treatment will take away the skin’s surface where scarring is visible and can help to take away any irregularities. Filler injections can be used for sunken or pitted scars to raise the skin. In some cases, surgery may be considered, depending on the severity of the scarring. This will not remove the scar altogether, but it can help to alter the appearance.
How can you get rid of old scars?
If you have had a scar that has not faded over time and you’ve lost hope on it ever fading, don’t give up yet! There are treatments that you can try to help fade old scars, many that can be done in the comfort of your own home.
Silicone sheeting or gel has proven to be an effective treatment that can help alter the appearance of hypertrophic and keloid scars. Onion extract has been another effective remedy that can soften the scar and help improve the texture and discoloration.
Chemical exfoliators are helpful in the fact that they can remove outer layers of dead skin, which can help to smooth the appearance of scars. Any of these treatments can help reduce the appearance of old scars but may not get rid of them completely. If you wish to ensure that your scars are entirely gone, you may consider speaking to a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon.
When to see a dermatologist
Scars are as unique as people. They heal differently and appear different from others. No one solution will remove or reduce scars. If you are concerned or continually embarrassed by your scarring, it is best to make an appointment with your dermatologist.
Columbia Skin Clinic treats patients at three conveniently located Midland’s locations. Contact us to make an appointment today.