The skin is a very miraculous thing. The protective shield that holds all of our insides together, the epidermis layers work very efficiently to keep us safe from the environment. Although the skin is expert at healing itself, and quickly, there are times when a cut, abrasion, or damage is too great, and it is unable to repair itself perfectly. When that happens you get what we call a “scar”. Scars can range from mild and hardly noticeable to something that can alter your appearance. The key to not having a scar is trying to prevent it before it happens at all.
What is a scar?
In short a scar is the result of damage done to the dermis. While healing, the body recruits new collagen fibers used to heal the damage done. The fibers are the cause of the appearance of what we call a “scar”. Scars can come in many different forms. They can be raised, or sunken in, dark in color, or completely white and void of pigment. They still appear after a sore or wound is completely healed. Normally they are permanent. Scars are dependent upon the damage sustained to the skin.
How to prevent a scar
The best way to get rid of a scar is to prevent if from happening altogether. When you cut yourself, especially when it is deep, you should cover it from the environment. The key to scar prevention is to keep the area moist and allow the healing process to happen without intervention. Applying topical lotions such as antibacterial creams or Vaseline, will keep the open wound soft and pliable.
Another important thing to remember is that if you have a wound you should keep it covered as long as it is healing. Once healed, you will probably still have marks. That does not mean that they will be permanent. There are times when the healing process takes a very long time.
If you have sores that have left marks, it is important always to keep them from direct sunlight. UV rays will cause the marks to become darker. When going outside make sure to either cover it completely or apply sunscreen. Only apply sunscreen if the wound is healed. If it is still open or moist, cover it with a bandaid. Depending on the severity of the scar and the timing of the healing process, there are things you can do to help make the appearance less.
During or just after the wound has healed, natural ways to make scars disappear are:
1. Topical creams
Creams applied to the skin can sometimes lessen the marks that are left by scaring. One such product is Mederma. New, but proven, it works to stimulate the skin to rejuvenate itself.
2. Vitamin E
Taking an extra dose of Vitamin E is always a good idea to aid the health of your skin. The capsules that you take can also be broken open and rubbed directly onto the site of a scar. Usually best immediately after the scar happens, it aids in the body’s ability to heal the mark more effectively.
During the healing process, it is a good idea to continue to massage the area with your fingers. When you massage the area, you may help to stimulate collagen and the growth of new skin cells. Just a couple of times a day can aid in the prevention of scar formation.
4. Olive Oil or Coconut oil
Applying a liberal amount of oil to the area while the wound is healing is a great way to keep the skin soft and encourage collagen stimulation. They both work in the same way, sometimes a combination of them both can be a really great concoction.
5. Lemon juice
Not just good for bleaching your hair, lemon has properties that will help to take out the melanin in the skin that causes the “dark” appearance. Apply lemon juice directly to the skin and massage it in while the wound is just freshly healed to help curb the dark marks.
6. Baking soda
Working just like the dermabrasion, baking soda helps to take off the top layers of skin to stimulate collagen growth, and grow new skin cells to replace the old.
If you have a scar that has been there for a while, or is well past the point of healing, it may be harder to lessen the appearance. These innovative technologies and treatments may help after the fact:
A fairly new treatment for the removal of scars, it works by reducing the formation of a raised scar. By wearing away at the build up of tissue, it lessens the appearance of a raised scar. It is not very effective in cases where the scar is sunken in, or not raised and just very dark in appearance.
8. Filler injections
Not just good for wrinkle lines, or to return the youthful look, filler injections can work by making a sunken scar “plump” up. Doing away with the sunken in look that a scar can sometimes leave, injections will push the tissue out to be equal to the surrounding tissue.
There are times when steroids injected at the site for a long period will lessen the appearance of a raised scar. It works by flattening the tissue and making the appearance less noticeable.
There are times when a scar is not just a minor inconvenience. Burn victims or other individuals who are scared badly, or have wounds that won’t heal, may have to have surgery to repair scar tissue, or to lessen the appearance of it. The problem with surgery is that there are times when the disruption of the surgery itself can make the appearance worse.
11. Laser resurfacing
Laser therapy has become very good at resurfacing the skin. Used as a way to stimulate collagen and do away with fine lines and wrinkles, it also works to help stimulate collagen in scars to heal themselves. Doing away with the top layer of the scar, it stimulates new growth to repair the skin itself.