Scars are permanent changes in the dermal appearance due to damage inflicted on the skin. They are associated with the natural process of healing of the affected area, which replaces the damaged and/or lost skin with new tissue.
Accidents, burns, cuts, surgeries, and certain diseases are among the most common causes of scarring.
Types of Scars
These are the most common ones since they are usually caused by acne or smallpox. They are small holes or depressions, always below the level of the surrounding skin, created when not enough collagen is generated to form new connective tissue fibers on the wound.
Atrophic scars are classified into three categories: Boxcar scars are round and wider at the surface, usually compared to craters. Ice Pick scars are narrow, deep, and look like open pores. Rolling scars are wide and usually create shadowing on the skin’s surface.
These are raised scars that usually don’t go beyond the injured area.
When excessive collagen is formed in the area near the wound, thick tissue elevations that exceed the surface of the skin appear. Their color is usually purple or deep red.
A hypertrophic scar is usually formed when the wound has not followed a proper healing process (for example because it is an area that is in constant motion, such as a knee or an elbow).
Similar to a hypertrophic scar but even bulkier, with a firm, rubbery and shiny texture. They can vary from red, dark brown, or pink colors. These scars extend beyond the wound area and are produced by an excess of collagen. Keloid scarring is common among young women and people with dark skin.
These are left in the wounds caused by burns or scalds. These wounds heal with tissue constriction, which causes a deformation in the affected area. Depending on the severity of the injury these scars can go deep into the skin, affecting nerves and muscles.
Every injury is unique, so it is always best to get professional medical advice when treating scars. However, if the scar is small, several remedies can be used.
Silicone Gel Sheets
These are clear, sticky pads that cover a cut and make healing faster. They are usually inexpensive and are also used for the treatment of hypertrophic and keloid scars. Researchers still don’t understand or agree about exactly how these gel sheets react with the skin, but the main point is that they have shown to be able to reduce excessive collagen production.
Butters and Oils
Coconut oil and shea butter are used to keep injured areas moist while they heal, which might help prevent a scar or keep it from getting too deep or large. They also reduce the itchiness of the skin. This is caused by the omega-3 fatty acids that inhibit keloid scar tissue. (1)
Aloe Vera has dozens of uses, and one of them is treating scars. It soothes the skin and helps regenerate damaged tissue (2). Having an Aloe Vera plant in your house would be ideal since you can use the leaves to obtain the fresh gel, but you can also find pure Aloe Vera creams at your local pharmacy.
Onion Extract Gels
Onion extract gels contain ingredients such as quercetin, bioflavonoids, cepalin or kaempferol. Studies have proved that onion extract gels can significantly improve scar appearance (3). You can easily get these gels at most pharmacies or buy them online, with Mederma being the most recognized brand.
If the scar is too large, or if it causes pain or discomfort, it is always a good idea to consult a professional. There are many cosmetic medical treatments that can help you improve the appearance of almost any scar.
Each case is unique, and your doctor will guide you and explain to you the best path to follow.