Scars are usually forever, but you do have options when it comes to minimizing their appearance. Scars occur when damage is done to the dermis, which lies beneath the top layer of skin, the epidermis. Damage done only to the epidermis will usually heal without a scar.
Available treatments for scar minimization include:
- surgical revision
- laser treatments
- chemical peels
- topical creams.
Scar prevention and minimization starts with proper wound treatment. Or in the case of acne, treating it as soon as it starts and of course not picking and popping. Let’s start with some tips for treating wounds to help minimize scarring.
Wound Care Tips to Minimize Scarring:
- Allow it to “breathe” as much as possible. Make sure that bandage is not too tight so that it will allow air to flow in between.
- Don’t soak or get wet for extended periods because it will break down the scab and impair the formation of new skin underneath.
- After a day or two, apply a thin layer of a light gel moisturizer or serum containing skin healing ingredients.
- Stay out of the sun as much as possible because it makes scarring worse.
- Don’t pick or scratch the scab. If it’s itchy, apply a thin layer of a lightweight moisturizer.
- Don’t use hydrogen peroxide to clean wound as it can destroy new skin cells.
Once the wound has healed, there are several ingredients you can find at home that will help to reduce scarring. These include:
- Olive Oil: Rich in antioxidants and a natural moisturizer, massage onto area once a day
- Coconut Oil: Contains lauric, caprylic, and capric acid which helps scars to fade as well as minimizes scar formation
- Baking Soda: To be used as microdermabrasion to encourage the growth of new skin cells. Mix 1 teaspoon with 2 teaspoons of purified water and rub over area for 1 minute and rinse
- Lemon Juice: Mix the juice of 1 lemon with 1 cup of water and apply to scarred area for 3-4 minutes, rinse and apply moisturizer if using on face.
- Rosehip Oil: Rich in vitamins and antioxidants, it helps heal the skin and reduce scarring. Massage the oil onto the affected area once or twice a day.
Over the counter topical creams are also available, but buyer beware. A study done in 2009 by the University of Pennsylvania and published in the American Academy of Dermatology, found that “there’s little evidence that they work any better than inexpensive petroleum jelly”. Dr. Joseph Sobanko, a dermatological surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania Health System says, “The only thing really shown to help the healing process and minimize scarring, is keeping a wound moist and covered’.
Dr. Audrey Kunin, board certified dermatologist and “Dr. Oz” expert suggests using vitamin A creams or rejuvenating creams packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. Specific to acne, injectable fillers may be used to reduce the visibility of saucer shaped depressions or “pock marks”. The effects can last anywhere between 3 to 12 months.
Fortunately, you have many different options when dealing with scars. There is no one size fits all remedy, so be patient and willing to try different options. Remember, prevention and proper care is best whether treating a wound or dealing with acne.