Whether caused by injury, acne, surgery, or disease, scars can serve as unwanted reminders of past trauma. Fortunately, most scars do fade over time, even if they never entirely go away. Some scars, however, are more stubborn, and while they don’t cause pain or health problems, they can contribute to significant emotional stress depending on their location (i.e. one’s face). If your self-esteem has taken a hit thanks to your scars, you’re probably looking for ways to make them disappear. Let’s go over four tips and tricks for minimizing the appearance of scars.
1. Act Early After an Injury
It isn’t always possible to tell if and when an injury or surgery will lead to scarring after it has healed. That said, the earlier you act and the better you treat a wound, the less likely you’ll be to experience severe scarring. Dermatologists recommend that you keep the recent wound clean (with mild soap and water) and hydrated (petroleum jelly can help here), cover it with an adhesive bandage to maintain cleanliness and moisture, change the bandage and clean the wound at least once a day, and protect it from direct sunlight. Following these steps won’t just protect the wound from infection -- it will also aid in the body’s natural healing process, thereby minimizing scar tissue.
2. Stay Cautious in the Sun
Some people infer that getting some additional color from the sun would actually help their scars blend in and/or fade away. On the contrary, too much sun exposure can actually cause further discoloration in scars, and scar tissue is more susceptible to sun damage than the rest of your skin. For these reasons, it is paramount to protect your scars (and all of your skin) from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The best ways to do this include staying out of the sun for prolonged periods of time, applying SPF 30+ sunscreen to your skin (especially your scars) when spending time outdoors, seeking shade, and wearing protective clothing.
3. Apply Topical Treatments
While existing scars cannot be waved away via magic wand, you can speed up the fading process by regularly applying certain topical creams, lotions, and gels to them. Some common ingredients in these scar treatments include aloe vera, cocoa butter, Vitamin E, honey, and other hydrating materials. Vaseline (petroleum jelly) and Aquaphor can also help soothe and reduce the appearance of scars.
4. Consider Cosmetic Dermatology
If you’re struggling to minimize your scars even after keeping them out of the sun and applying topical treatments, seek advice from a cosmetic dermatologist. Your doctor can tell you about treatments and therapies that promote collagen production, reduce discoloration, resolve uneven skin texture/tone, and more. They might recommend a chemical peel, which sloughs off old, dead skin cells and encourages newer skin cells to take their place; dermaplaning, a manual exfoliation technique that can improve skin texture, reduce acne scars, and more; laser resurfacing, which targets specific areas of the skin and speeds up the skin’s healing processes; the list goes on. While none of these procedures will completely eliminate scar tissue, they can greatly minimize the appearance of scars while also benefiting your skin’s appearance in other ways.
Are your scars hampering your self-esteem? The cosmetic dermatology experts at Vanguard Dermatology can help you find the right scar-reduction solutions for your skin. To learn more about our providers and services, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or book an appointment online.