Scars can have a serious impact on the perceived beauty of an individual. The psychological hurt can often be worse that the actual damage, as the affected person remembers how they used to look.
Scars do not only have a visual impact. The hardening and adverse tissue changes can also affect mobility and movement.
Although scars usually do not completely disappear, their impact can be reduced through careful scar care. Treatment often starts after the healing process has finished, when the fundamental skin repair has occurred. While is it recommended to start early, even older scars can be reduced with treatments.
The three basic elements of scar care are:
Patience and regular treatment are advised. Spending a little bit of time every day is the way forward, but it can take weeks for the signs of success to be visible.
Protect the scar
By protecting the skin, the scar can be left to regenerate undisturbed. The key danger is from the sun, as UV radiation can cause skin discoloration of the newly formed skin tissue.
Use sunscreen or cover the scar with clothing or surgical dressings. Avoid rubbing or pressing against any garments to prevent further damage. Hygiene is also important, so wash regularly to prevent the scar from becoming infected.
Moisture the scar
Taking time to moisturise the skin can make a big contribution to the healing of a scar. Treat the scar at least twice a day with a rich moisturizer. You can use a normal moisturiser, but some specialist scar creams and gels are also available. These contain additional ingredients such as onion extract, which should make the tissue more elastic.
It is recommended to apply any lotions in the evening before bedtime and cover with a bandage, particularly for older scars. Be careful not to cover with anything that could irritate the skin though. A special scar plaster can be very effective, especially for scars with jagged edges. Create a favourable environment for the skin in the affected area to prevent drying.
Massage the scar
Prior to applying any skin care products you should allow a few minutes to massage the scar gently. Move gently on the surface of the skin, being careful not to pull apart the scar. Pay attention t how your body feels: the massage should not hurt or irritate the skin. A fresh scar can take up to twenty four months to mature, during which time the healing can still be felt.
Another option is to undergo scar revision or scar reduction surgery. Treatments include:
Steroid treatment: A steroid is injected into the scar tissue.
Laser skin resurfacing: A laser treatment often used to treat acne scars or pitted skin. The heat from the laser reduces the top layer of skin, encouraging the growth of new, healthier looking skin.
Surgical scar excision: Carrying our surgery to reduce or alter the size of the scar.