Gaining a few scars on life’s journey is pretty normal. Most of us are going to acquire a few scars along the way, whether it be from accidents, surgery or skin conditions such as acne.
While it can be difficult to get rid of scars altogether, fortunately there are some methods that can be used to reduce their visibility or diminish them to a great degree.
The success one will have in reducing the effect of a scar, or removing it, will also depend upon the severity of the injury or illness that was the cause of the scar. The more serious the incident that caused the scar, the more difficult it will be to mitigate the effects.
How Scars Are Formed
Scars are the result of the natural healing process of the skin when it is injured, cut or has suffered from a scarring disease. Scars form when the dermis, which is the deep, thick layer of the skin is damaged, and consequently the body forms new collagen fibers. Collagen is the major protein that lies under the upper layer of skin and is the basic building block of the skin. It is also the most abundant protein in the body and it basically holds the entire body together.
Another way to describe the collagen is to describe it as a platform, or a scaffold that lies just under the upper layers of skin. It is what gives our skin its smooth surface and texture. When the collagen is affected by the cut or wound from the upper layers, it sends new amounts of protein to repair the breach, and a scar is the result.
Our skin is the largest organ of our body and is the first major defense system we have against invaders such as bacteria, viruses, chemicals and other harmful elements. When a wound begins to heal there is a lot going on, and one of the main occurrences is the collagen forming to fill the open area, and a scar is the result.
Types of Scars
Most scars end up being a slightly different color than the skin, and are pale and flat. In some situations, there is an abundance of collagen produced and the scar is raised a bit higher than the surrounding area. These scars are called keloid scars or hypertrophic scars. Darker skinned and younger people commonly have these kinds of scars.
Other scars can be pitted or sunken in appearance. This happens when underlying structures such as fatty tissue or muscle is lost. This is a common occurrence when surgery is performed, or when the person has had acne.
Medical Treatment For Scars
Many scars cannot be removed completely, except with plastic surgery procedures. This is called scar revision surgery and it is possible to eliminate the scar using skin flaps and skin grafts. This type of treatment is only used when the scarring is so bad that it is disfiguring and debilitating.
Another medical technique is called dermabrasion or laser resurfacing where the upper layers of the scar is removed by using a laser light or an abrading tool. These methods are approved medical procedures and require the consultation and treatment of a qualified medical doctor.
Plastic surgery is usually used for serious scars such as large areas of the skin that have been burned, or areas that were the result of an accident. Many of these procedures involve complex planning and surgical procedures that can take a great deal of skill and time, and perhaps many procedures.
Scar Lightening Creams
There are many different skin lightening creams on the market. If you have a scar that you would like to lighten… it is a good idea to choose a cream that has been specifically designed to lighten scars, rather than an all purpose lightening cream. This way, you will be assured of the best possible results. Also, be sure to stick with products from reputable companies, who only use safe and natural ingredients. Steer clear of companies that still use potentially dangerous ingredients such as mercury and hydroquinone in their products.
Home Remedies for Scars
There are some things that you can do yourself if you have a scar that is relatively minor in scope, yet one which you would like to be less prominent on your skin. One technique that you can use is to apply lemon juice to the scar. Cut a lemon in half, and hold the lemon over the scar, slightly squeezing some of the juice. Gently rub the lemon juice onto the scar area once a day.
Placing onion extract onto the affected area can help, as it is an anti-inflammatory agent, which helps to prohibit the production of collagen in the scar. It will tend to make the scar less noticeable.
Raw honey placed directly onto the skin will help to fade the scar. It is very effective in wound treatment and it is also a natural moisturizer for the skin. It also stimulates the regeneration of tissue.
The use of Aloe Vera gel placed directly on the scar area will help a lot. This is a longer process, but Aloe Vera is a wonderful skin rejuvenator. It helps to remove the dead skin from the area, and it can also reduce swelling, which sometimes occurs with scars. It also helps to fortify new skin cells that are produced as well as assisting in the repair of skin cells that are damaged.
Tea Tree Oil is a great and very powerful treatment for scars. It is anti-bacterial and with small, daily treatments over a period of time, will gradually remove scars, which includes acne and surgical scars. It is a very strong substance so it is wise to dilute it with water before using it, and be sure to never ingest it.
Rub roughly one tablespoon of olive oil on a regular basis over the top of the scar for about 5 minutes a day. Olive oil is extremely rich in vitamin E and vitamin K, which are wonderful vitamins for the skin. Using Virgin Olive Oil is particularly good because it is very high in anti-oxidants, and its level of acidity is high as well, which helps to remove scars.
These methods are just a few of the successful methods of reducing the effects of scars that people have found to be effective. You can experiment with them and find out for yourself what works the best for you. Most of the methods work on a cumulative basis, meaning that they are most effective when you use them continually over a period of time.
Top photo by linspiration01