Scars are a very common problem and one that I frequently see in my work. Except for very superficial injuries, any skin cut can cause permanent scarring, whether that is through surgery, an accident, self-harm, or as a result of the skin being broken i.e. acne, psoriasis, eczema and rosacea.
Scars can have a detrimental affect on our confidence and self esteem. Not only do they leave a lasting mark on our appearance, they can also act as physical reminders for past trauma and suffering. And as the weather gets warmer and our minds steer towards summer holidays, weddings and more revealing clothing, having to unveil a scar can be extremely anxiety provoking.
So what are scars? Scarring occurs when the body creates excess collagen, which in turn changes the texture and appearance of the tissue. If your body over produces melanin, then your scar will be dark (hyperpigmentation) or if it is under-produced, your scar will be void of color/white (hypopigmentation). Topical treatments along with firm massage can help to improve a scar’s appearance and feel. But scars can take up to 2 years to look their best; which can be an extremely anxious and disconcerting time.
For most people, scars will continue to soften, flatten, and fade throughout that time. However, some scars are more problematic due to age, skin type, genetics and location. Skin Camouflage (which is still relatively unknown), can be a very helpful, economically effective remedy. Skin Camouflage is extremely long lasting, up to 12 hours on the face and 2-3 days on the body. It’s waterproof and smudge proof too, which means you can shower and engage in sports like swimming, without the fear of the camouflage washing off. It’s the ideal solution for that special occasion, holiday or one off event. But for those living with a scar that intrudes on their day-to-day life, Skin Camouflage can provide an essential lifeline and alleviate the need to hide behind clothes or hair.
But what more can we do to help scars heal? After all, Skin Camouflage and cosmetics will only be as good as the skin underneath. For many, the best option is to utilize a variety of natural and medical options:
The gelatinous extract (from the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant) delivers vital relief during the initial stages of scar healing. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that heal wounded skin, soothe irritation and help to increase moisture. Although it doesn’t fade the scar, it helps to soften the scar, keep it moisturized and improve its appearance.
Vitamin C is one of the best ways to fade scars. Healthy collagen production is necessary to reduce the size and overall appearance of scarring. Vitamin C is required to formulate healthy connective tissue in a wound, and help it to heal more quickly. Experts say that wound healing requires more Vitamin C than daily food intake normally provides, so additional supplements should be taken.
Silicone is one of the best ways to treat old scars. Commonly found in a lot of cosmetic products, such as Palmers Skin Therapy Oil, it relieves scar redness, pain and itching, improves scar elasticity and can treat and prevent difficult scars like hypertrophic scars. A lot of surgeons use dimethicone or silicone dressings on burn victims to help the scars heal more evenly.
When it comes to scar healing, one of the most important things that you can do is maintain a healthy diet – one that is filled with a variety of nutrient-rich foods that can boost your immune system and its ability to heal. Namely, protein (meat, fish, dairy, pulses and nuts) to break down amino-acids, create collagen and fight bacterial infection; Vitamin C (citrus fruits, peppers, and dark leafy greens) for proper collagen production; Vitamin B (whole grains, nuts, mushrooms, marmite and pulses) to increase cell renewal and prevent inflammation; Vitamin A (dark leafy greens, carrots and sweet potatoes) to promotes tissue synthesis and resistance to infection; zinc (seafood, meat, nuts, seeds and spinach) to reduce inflammation and bacterial growth; and copper (kale, mushrooms and avocado) to minimize the formation of scar tissue and soften the skin. Good nutrition helps to speed up the healing process, replenish cells and prevent bacteria from forming. Also staying well hydrated ensures your tissues retain moisture, which is crucial for healing.
Scars often create a lack of moisture in the skin. The area can become dry, itchy, inflamed and red. Honey helps to provide that moisture, by supplying the tissues with alkaline-rich properties and skin enhancing anti-oxidants. This revitalizes the hydration process and reduces scarring. Raw honey (not pasteurized) should be used.
Avoid the sun
Your first instinct in concealing a scar may be to sit in the sun to “even out” its colour, or try to “camouflage it” with a tan. Ironically, sun exposure is the last thing your scar needs. Why? Scar tissue is different to normal skin. It is inferior in appearance, function and feel. Scars are less resistant to ultraviolet rays and much more prone to sunburn, especially if they are fresh. Prolonged sun exposure can also permanently darken a scar, especially in people with darker skin complexions. Scars should be protected from prolonged, direct sun exposure all year round, not just during the warmer summer months. Use sun block over any exposed scar. The higher the SPF the better.
More Invasive Options:
If topical scar treatments don’t help, there are some more invasive options you might like to consider. Dermabrasion is the process of carefully removing layers of skin. It utilizes a series of rotating brushes, which spin quickly across raised tissue to reduce its thickness and rigidity. It’s used most often for facial scars, such as ones left by acne or surgery.
Tissue fillers are when dermatologist inject the skin with hyaluronic acid or calcium hydroxyapatite. These mimic the effects of collagen and help to redefine the skin’s natural contours. This reduces the appearance of scars, as well as improving their overall textures.
Surgical scar revision can also be a very good option for some problem scars, especially scars that healed poorly or unevenly. This of course creates a new scar, but replaces the problem scar with a scar that heals better, and more predictably.
Scar treatment can often be a very long and arduous task of having to try a variety of different options before hitting on the right one. Skin Camouflage can be a way to help minimize the ordeal. The results can be extremely effective and the renewed sense of life Skin Camouflage can give a person, cannot be underestimated. Contact me to find out how Skin Camouflage can help you. Don’t suffer in silence or hide yourself away. There is a solution.
Please note before embarking on any form of natural or medical treatment, always consult a specialist first, and be aware that no treatment is guaranteed and results will vary depending on a patient’s specific scar type, skin type, healing rate, and genetic profile.