Choosing a Treatment for Scars

" Choosing the best treatment for scars these days is a lot easier than it used to be. While they can't be completely removed, the appearance of scars can be improved through the methods listed below. Scar appearance and treatment is based on the type, size, depth, blood supply to skin area, thickness and scar color. If you have just gotten a scar, talk to your Doctor about wound care during the healing process, as this can help.  In addition to methods such as surgery, steroid injections, laser therapy and dermabrasian (sanding), there are a number of over the counter products on the market that will improve the look of your scars in a very short time .   

Treatment for Scars by Type and Cause

To understand what treatment for scars will best work for you, you need to know or understand, what caused the scars you do have, as there are several kinds of scars. This is important, since different products are formulated for each type of scar.

The four typical types and related treatment for scars are:

  • Keloid Scars: the result of healing gone awry with the production of too much collagen.. The scar goes beyond the injury site. They are thick mounds of scar tissue that are darker than surrounding skin.  Asians and blacks are prone to these types of scars.

    Keloid Scar Treatment: Steroid Injections are used to stop the formation of collagen and to reduce inflammation.  Will also help with itch and redness.  
  • Hypertrophic Scars: Raised, red and thick scars that stay within the area that was injured. Similar to Keloid, but don’t extend beyond the injury site.  These types of scars occur in people that have a fair complexion.

    Hypertrophic Scar Treatment: Topical products such as Revitol (see below). Injected steroids can also be of help.  Surgery can aid healing or to improve the appearance of the scar area.
  • Contracture Scars: Contracture scares are usually the result of a burn or major injury (called scar contraction). Causes skin to tighten, which pulls the scar edges together. It may affect the deeper tissues, muscles and nerves, hindering the patients movement.

    Contracture Scar Treatment: Surgery is commonly used for contracture scars.  The scar is surgically removed and then replaced with a skin graft using techniques called W or Z plasty.

    Other approaches include scar resurfacing, where lasers (light) or dermabrasian (sanding) are used to improve the appearance of the scar by smoothing it out.

    Scars that are lower than than the skin surface can be improved with collagen injection.
  • Acne Scars: acne scars come in as many forms as the kind of acne you may have. May range from pitting to wavelike scars. Treatment depends on the type of acne scars you have: 
    • Rolling Acne Scars: Looks like raised waves

      acne scar
      Acne Scar Picture. Treatment for scars like these includes skin resurfacing techniques
      Source: Principles of Pediatric Dermatology
    • Boxcar Acne Scars: Pores dot the skin
    • Icepick Scars: Small scattered skin punctures

Acne Scar Treatment: To hide acne scars, several treatment methods are available including acne scar surgery (reduce size of scars so they can heal), laser skin resurfacing (deep boxcar scars who best results), acne scar fillers, chemical peels, microdermabrasian (removes outer skin layer), dermabrasian (gradual removal of outer skin layer with blade)

acne scar treatment
Picture After Acne Scar Surgery Treatment
Source: American Academy of Dermatology

Scar Symptoms


You will always have your scar(s), as they are a natural function of your body healing after an injury.  Several factors that will have an impact on the characteristics of the scar include the size of the wound, how deep it is, where it is located on your body, your age, sex and ethnicity. These factors will dictate how your scar heals.

In other words, no two people will react the same way when healing, and no two people will have the same kinds of scars or need the same kind of treatments. Scars are as unique as we are as people, despite that fact that they may all look alike.

Some scars may stretch and pull the skin, some may be almost invisible, some may be pitted and disfiguring and some may be overgrown past the injury site.

Treatment for Scars 1 Week After Surgery


This scar home remedy is to help keep scar tissue from forming.

  • Ingredients:
    • 1/4 teason turmeric
    • 1/4 teaspoon myrrh
    • Pinch of saffron
  • Directions:
    • Mix above with warm water and honey if needed for sweetness. Drink mixture 2x per day.

Treatment for Scars after They Have Formed


Scar Treatment options range from over the counter topical products, surgery, injections and more. While scars can't be eliminated, the goal is always the same, to improve skin appearance.

The most popular options that are used for treatment for scars are described below: 

Scar Creams and Coverups


Creams and over the counter scar treatments are primarily used for scars caused by an injury, surgery or a skin trauma or wound.

  • Over-the-counter or prescription creams, ointments or gels can help to reduce the appearance of scars. Popular products, such as Revitol use all-natural ingredients to fortify the skin with proteins and vitamins in order to reduce the appearance of scars caused by acne and burns.  
  • Mederma is the #1 Doctor and pharmacist recommended choice for making scars less noticeable through softening and smoothing.. It is used to reduce the appearance of acne scars, burn scars, surgical scars, and scars from accidents.
  • Calendula Gel or Cream: this product is made from flowers that can reduce inflammation and promote wound healing..

Scar itch Treatment


  • Antihistamine creams for scars that itch
  • Homeopathic natural itch products such as Itch Dr

Scar Surgical Options (called scar revision)


When a scar is more visible, such as a deep scar or burn, then surgical procedures are often the best treatment for scars choice.  Surgery works best on scars that are long or wide.  Surgery is often used together with steroid injection.

  • Laser surgery
  • Surgical removal or excision: this approach is not often used, as it can result in a larger scar forming when the surgical removal heals. Microdermabrasion is a similar procedure where crystals are "blasted" against the skin to shape the surface. 
  •  Skin grafts: skin is moved from another area of the body to the scar area, such as when a person's skin is burned.
  • Dermabrasion (skin planing): in this type of procedure the skin is frozen and then sanded down.

Scar Injections


If a scar goes beyond the boundaries of a wound, it is referred to as a Keloid scar or Hypertrophic scar.  For these types of scars, a Doctor might recommend treatment for scars that use steroid injections.  This type of therapy helps to reduce scar redness, flattens the scar and helps with symptoms such as itch.

  • Steroid injections such as gluccorticoids can help to reduce scar sensitivity and size.
  • Cryotherapy: the scar is frozen using nitrogen and then injected with triamcinolone.
  • Collagen injections: 
  • Other “filler” injections

Other Helpful Treatment for Scars Options


  • Silicone gel sheeting is a method where a thin plastic sheet is used to seal moisture into the scar. These covers are available over the counter in products such as  ScarAway.  The sheets help to reduce itch, redness and thickness.  
  • Massage: A massage therapist or yourself can use a technique called "rolling" to break off scar tissue from scars that have healed. The therapist will start at one end of the scar and using a pinch between forefinger and thumb, move up the length of the scar, rolling the scar between the fingers.  Do this for 1 to 2 minutes for new scars and 3 to 4 minutes when treating older scars. Apply vitamin E oil after each rolling treatment.   Do not continue if the scar area worsens in terms of soreness or redness.
  • Aromatherapy: Among the natural treatment for scars is this scar aromatherapy suggestion. Rose hip seed oil can be helpful in treating scars such as chickenpox scars and keloids (large elevated scars).

    Ingredients:
    • 1 ounce of rose hip seed oil
    • 1 drop of rose oil
    • 2 drops everlast oil (also called immortelle or helichrysum

      Store oil mixture in a dark glass bottle.   Apply to scar after shower or bath.  

      Important: Note that oils can cause skin irritation in people with fair or freckled skin, so be sure to test a bit on an out of the way skin area using a cotton ball before regular use.  Apply to the inside of your wrist or inner elbow covered with a band aid for 24 hours.  If no irritation occurs, then you are not sensitive to essential oils.
  • Vitamin E: This vitamin can be purchased in an oil or vitamin and is rubbed directly on a scar.
  • Cocoa butter: Cocoa Butter such as Palmers can help to smooth and blend the appearance of Scars into surrounding skin areas..

If you have had surgery, be sure to consult with your Doctor regarding treatment for scars options.  If you see your scar changing in appearance or bleeding, be sure to consult a Doctor.

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Treatment for Scars References:

New Choices in Natural Healing

WebMD

MedicineNet

AAFPRS

Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine; Swain, Liz; Longe, Jacqueline L.

American Academy of Dermatology

 




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