Scars are a natural part of the body’s healing process. They form when the dermis – the second layer of skin – is damaged and your body produces collagen fibres to repair the damage.
While the skin typically does an efficient job of healing and closing its wounds, the new collagen and repaired skin are often noticeable in the form of a scar.
In most cases, the faster a wound heals, the less collagen will be deposited and the less noticeable the scar will be.
Scars can result from accidents, diseases, skin conditions such as acne, or surgeries.
Read more: Treating common skin conditions
Scars are one of the most difficult cosmetic skin issues to treat. While it is possible to reduce some new scars, older ones are particularly hard to get rid of.
The best way to reduce scars is to properly care for wounds as they heal, limiting their formation from the beginning.
There’s no known way to make scars totally disappear, but many will become lighter over time on their own. Here are some ointments, extracts and procedures that could help speed the process up.
A number of studies over the past 20 years have confirmed that applying silicone sheeting or gel can gradually improve a scar’s appearance. It can reduce a scar’s texture, colour and height by keeping the skin hydrated and letting it breathe.
One study showed silicone gel to be just as effective as silicone sheeting when it came to healing scars.
It spreads easily, dries quickly, doesn’t irritate sensitive skin, and prevents the growth of bacteria.
Silicone scar treatment products are available in many stores without a prescription. Doctors may also prescribe this treatment after surgery or to aid in scar formation after an injury.
Silicone has a low risk of side-effects and is usually easy and painless to use.
Perhaps one of the most well-known natural remedies for scar treatment is onion extract.
Over the past decade, numerous studies have shown that onion extract applied two to three times a day for periods of three to six months significantly improves the appearance of postsurgical scars, adhesions, stretch marks, and hypertrophic scars.
Gently massaging the area once a wound has fully healed may help make the resulting scar less visible. Massage breaks up the collagen accumulating in the tissue underneath the wound.
Your doctor may recommend scar massage if you develop cords – tight strands of rope-like tissue just under the skin.
Massaging and pulling the cords can stretch and relax them, which helps improve the scar’s texture and encourages it to stay flat.
Read more: Are skin tags dangerous?
Chemical peels improve the appearance of mild scarring by using a chemical solution to remove the outer layer of old skin. The new skin that replaces it is usually smoother and less irregular in appearance.
The trauma inflicted by the chemical not only kills and removes dead skin cells at the surface, but the intentional damage caused also stimulates the body’s natural response to produce collagen, which can help fill in scars.
The new skin may be red, sore or swollen for up to a week after the procedure and the procedure isn’t right for all types of scars.
Punch excision surgery
Punch excision is a minor procedure often used to remove acne scars. A dermatologist will cut out individual scars and then close the wounds with stitches or skin grafts. Taking proper care to heal the new wound will be essential for minimising more scarring.
Laser therapy may be an option for more severe scars. Unlike a chemical peel, laser therapy can be targeted to the scar itself.
It can reduce the appearance of a scar, but it cannot get rid of it completely. When you have laser scar treatment, you’re essentially replacing one scar with another less-noticeable scar.
Most people need around five sessions of laser therapy before the scar is less noticeable, and the procedure can be expensive.
Scars can be made less noticeable through injections. For example, fillers such as collagen or fat may even out bumps and indents caused by acne.
Botox or similar injections can smooth the skin and the appearance of scars.
Microneedling uses a roller with fine needles to poke very small holes into your skin’s top layer.
During the skin-pricking process, your skin produces more collagen in an effort to heal the small wounds from the needles. The collagen, in turn, also plumps up your skin and improves the texture of scars, fine lines and wrinkles.
The area will be red afterwards, probably for a few days. And people typically need four to six microneedling session to reduce scars satisfactorily.
Do you have any scars you wish you could get rid of? Have you had any success removing scars with a home remedy? Share your findings in the comments section below.
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