Everyone is susceptible to scars whether it’s accidental or caused by injury, and depending on the severity of the wound, it can leave you with an unpleasant mark as a reminder. Scars are the body’s natural way of healing a wound by reconnecting the damaged tissue with collagen, a tough fiber that strengthens the skin and gives it flexibility. While there are many types and causes, fortunately, there are ways to naturally fade scars.
The Different Types of Scars
Acne is different to your everyday blemish or a pimple, it causes inflamed lesions such as cysts or papules which penetrates deep under the skin’s surface causing a break in the follicle wall. The ruptured cyst causes the infection to spill out in the dermis which damages healthy skin tissue. The body then repairs the damage caused by the inflammation with collagen which results in deep pits or wave-like scars.
Keloids are a firm, uneven scar that is raised and often larger than the wound was. These are a result of an aggressive form of healing by the body. Keloids are formed when fibroblasts produce an excess of collagen causing fibrous nodules to appear (1). There are numerous factors that cause keloids such as age, race, depth, size, and location of the injury.
Hypertrophic scars, similar to keloids, are caused by an imbalance of collagen when there is a lot of tension around a wound that is healing. The difference in hypertrophic scars is that it does not extend beyond the wounds boundaries and over time the scar becomes flatter and paler.
Contracture scars are usually the result of a burn injury on the skin. When a second or third-degree burn occurs, the surrounding skin begins to tighten and pull together resulting in a Contracture. These types of scars can penetrate deep into the nerves and muscles which can possibly limit movement in that area.
Take Home Note:
Scars are caused by many factors such as injury, surgery, and burns, they are a result of the bodies natural healing process. There are different kinds of scars that form depending on the type and severity of the injury as well as your genetics.
Wound Care For Reducing Scars
Proper wound care can help to reduce the appearance of scars before the scab has fallen off. While it may be difficult to avoid scars from forming on your joints such as knees and elbows, scratches and cuts can become less noticeable depending on how well your wound heals.
- Always keep your wound clean by washing it with warm soapy water to prevent infection and remove debris.
- Moisturize the wound with petroleum jelly to prevent it from drying out and forming a scab. Wounds with scabs usually take a longer period to heal.
- If a scab does form, do not pick it or remove it until it falls off naturally.
- If you have stitches, always follow instructions given to you by your doctor.
Take Home Note:
A scar’s appearance often depends on how well you care for the wound. Take special precautions to keep your wounds cleaned and moisturized to avoid scabs from forming. Follow your doctor’s instructions vigilantly if you have stitches.
Aftercare – Fade Scars Naturally
Scars caused by some surgery and injury on the joints such as your elbows and knees are difficult to avoid, even with the proper wound care. There are natural ways in which you can naturally fade a scar’s appearance, texture, and color.
Aloe vera is readily available in most shops and gardens. The benefits of this plant are vast, especially for the skin (2). The gel inside the plant’s leaves contains two hormones called auxin and gibberellins which reduces inflammation and aids in healing wounds. Gibberellins regulate growth in new cells helping to regenerate damaged tissues which remove scarring.
Jojoba oil is an antibacterial agent that soothes inflamed skin. Its composition is similar to sebum produced by the skin. It’s ability to soothe, moisturize and naturally restore the skin’s pH level makes jojoba oil very effective for removing scars.
This oil is derived from the hind fat of the Australian Emu. This might sound strange but it has a variety of benefits such as treating dry skin, eczema, and rashes. This oil acts as an anti-inflammatory and is rich in omega fatty acids which moisturize and nourish the skin minimizing the appearance of scars by enhancing the skin’s natural healing process.
Onion Bulb Extract
Onion bulb extract contains antibacterial and anti-histamine properties and helps to reduce inflammation when applied topically to the skin (3). It also helps to regenerate damaged skin. It is important to note that onion bulb extract needs to be formulated correctly in order to get results. Always look for reputable brands when purchasing this extract.
Take Home Note:
Aftercare is important if you want to effectively fade a scar. Natural products such as Aloe Vera, Jojoba Oil, Onion bulb extract, and Emu Oil can help reduce the appearance, texture, and color of scars.
What To Look For In Scar Removal Products
It is very easy to fall into the trap of clever captions used by most products. “Get rid of scars in just one week!” “Eliminate your acne scars today!” does this sound familiar? The truth is that not all products have the correct combination of ingredients to help remove scars. The most important ingredient to look out for is medical grade silicone (4). It helps to lock in moisture and facilitates the regulation of fibroblast production which reduces the production of collagen making the scars appearance flatter and smoother. Onion Bulb Extract and medical grade silicone work hand in hand by enhancing the regeneration process of damaged tissue.
Take Home Note:
Look for ingredients such as medical grade silicone combined with Onion Bulb Extract in scar removal products to ensure you get visible results.
While these tips may help fade or remove some scars, it is important to note that some scars are very difficult to get rid of and may just become a part of you. Some may be smaller and others may be bigger, leaving you feeling a bit more self-conscious. It is crucial that you do not allow these external scars to become internal, scars are just roadmaps on our skin that remind us of where we have been.