As part of the natural process of healing, scars occur with even minor wounds. A scar forms if the deep layer of the skin is damaged. The body forms new collagen fibers to fix the damage, which results in a scar.
Appearance of Scars
Generally, a scar is flat but if the body overproduces collagen the scar may appear raised. Occasionally, a scar may have a sunken or pitted appearance; this occurs if the supporting structures for the skin, fat, or muscle for instance are compromised. This may be the case in surgical scars or acne scars. In pregnancy or other cases where the skin is stretched rapidly the scars may appear as stretch marks.
Types of Scars
A keloid scar is the result of overly aggressive healing that extends beyond the original injury. After a time, this type of scar may impede mobility.
Contracture scars are a common result of burning, which tightens the skin and may go deeper to affect muscles and nerves.
Hypertrophic scars are raised and red and while they look like keloid scars, they do not go beyond the boundaries of the wound.
Acne scars range from pitting to angular or wavelike scarring.
Medical Options for Treatment of Scars
If the scar is impairing the quality of movement or damaging appearance medical treatment may offer relief. There are several standard procedures for medically treating scars.
Surgery can alter the shape or appearance of the scar, but will not eliminate it. Surgery is not recommended for Hypertrophic or Keloid scarring as the scarring may return or new scarring from the treatment may occur.
Steroid injections may be used to flatten scars or to soften the appearance of Keloid or Hypertrophic scars.
Dermabrasion is the removal of the surface skin with specialized equipment. If the scar is raised above the surface, Dermabrasion may be useful. Microdermabrasion can be useful for very superficial scarring.
Laser resurfacing uses lasers to remove the top surface layers of skin. New technology in laser resurfacing may be able to remove collagen without destroying the upper layers of skin.
Collagen and Fat Injections are both useful for raising sunken scars, the results however may only be temporary.
Home Remedies for the Treatment of Scars
The use of the natural healing power of the plant aloe vera in a gel form on fresh wounds can prevent the formation of scar tissue.
Lemon juice acts as a natural bleaching agent, so it can be useful for superficial scarring and lightening the skin.
A tonic made from fenugreek seeds boiled in a liter of water for a few minutes can be applied to the face after cooling as a natural remedy for acne scars.
Adding honey to the scarred area several times a day will aid in the treatment of the scar.
Topical application of Vitamin E is thought to be an effective home remedy for the treatment of scarring.
Rubbing ice cubes on the skin will shrink pores and reduce the appearance of scarring from acne.
Massage almond oil into the scar several times a day to reduce its appearance. Other essential oils such as lavender, olive, cod liver, coconut, or tea tree oil are also useful in reducing the appearance of scars.
Nutritional Treatments for Scarring
Natural healing is often enhanced with the proper diet and nutritional supplements. A diet rich in lean protein will help rebuild skin cells. Adding dark green leafy vegetables as well as fibrous vegetables can promote natural skincare.
Getting enough zinc in your diet is beneficial for repairing scarred skin. Adding chromium, vitamins A, B, and E through diet or supplements can aid in skin repair as well.
Getting enough water to drink helps to hydrate the skin, remove dead skin cells and promote the growth of healthy skin tissue.
Processed foods, milk products, and hydrogenated oils are all recommended as foods to avoid natural acne scar healing.
Using masks and topical exfoliants to remove dead skin cells, and promote healthy regrowth of skin can work for some types of scars.
A massage technique called rolling can aid in the healing of scars, by breaking down stiff scar tissue. This can be done only when the scar is fully healed. It is important to stop if there is discomfort or tenderness.