A scar can be anything, a mark left after a wound or an injury on the surface of the skin after it is healed or a small tear in the skin. They are very common; almost everybody has got one on their bodies. Scars have a natural healing process and the process takes a lot of time.
Scar tissue is composed of collagen, the same protein that it replaces. The body forms new collagen fibres to mend the damage, resulting in a scar. Though, they are formed after the wound is completely healed but have a different texture and quality than the surrounding areas which make them look like an unbearable mark.
The scars differ from body to body and also from a wound to wound. Here are the types of scars that are commonly seen:
- Flat Scars: Also known as Pale Scars, the most common type of scars formed due to the body’s natural healing process. They can be either red or dark, have a raised texture and are formed after the wound has healed. But slowly and gradually, over a period of time, they become paler and flatten naturally.
- Hypertrophic Scars: These scars also have a raised texture and are red in color but are formed along with wounds and can remain in the same way for many years.
- Keloid Scars: Produced at the site of the wound, Keloid scars are caused by an excess of scar tissue that grows beyond the boundaries of the original wound even after it has been healed.
- Pitted Scars: Also known as Atrophic or Ice-Pick scars, these have a sunken appearance.
- Contracture Scars: Skin shrinking and tightening are the main causes of these scars. They are formed usually after a burn and can restrict movement.
- Acne Scars: Cystic acne and skin blemishing also leave a lasting effect resulting in acne marks or scars.
Scarring is an unpredictable phenomenon. Some areas are more prone to the risk of scarring such as the chest, back, ear lobe and shoulder.
CAUSES OF SCARS
The scar is generally caused by tissue damage and tissue damage can occur for a number of reasons.
- Accidental injuries can be the one major reason; cuts or falling from a bicycle, bike etc.
- Cuts made during surgery, for example, a cesarean section while giving birth also leads to scarring.
- Burns and scalds from hot objects like iron or liquids; spilling of hot tea is another reason for one such scar.
- Biting and scratching of animals or people can also leave a stubborn mark.
- Injections and vaccinations also leave their mark behind.
- Body piercings and tattoos are also causes of scarring.
Scars are formed when the second deepest layer of skin, the dermis, is damaged by the above-mentioned situations. When a wound occurs, our skin immediately goes into healing mode and tries to close the wound as soon as possible. A blood clot forms on the epidermis, the surface of the skin and covers the wound or is cut to form a scab.
As soon as it is closed, the dermis, the second layer gets into action and starts sending out the cells that make collagen, fibroblasts, to start the rebuilding of the damaged tissue. The skin tries to complete this process in the least possible time so that the damaged tissue can replenish and repair itself. The collagen doesn’t get laid out in the neatly organised pattern and gives a hasty approach which results in a scar.
Scarring can also be a side effect or complication of other conditions. Keloid and hypertrophic scarring can be caused due to genetics; these types of scarring may run in families which means their future generations have an increased risk of developing them.
HOME REMEDIES TO GET RID OF SCARS
Nowadays, a lot of products; creams, lotions are available in the market to fade the scars, but these products can be expensive, so, you can heal your scars naturally. Here are some home remedies to get rid of scars:
- Lemon has natural bleaching properties and thus reduces skin blemishing and scars. Drinking lemon juice twice a day for two weeks without mixing sugar can be helpful or one can also apply directly on the skin. Take a fresh lemon, cut it into half, and rub the juicy part on the affected area.
- The simplest home remedy for fading the scars is the Ice cube. Just rub an ice cube gently on the scars.
- Honey works wonders in removing scars. It can be used directly or a paste of fresh lemon juice and honey can be applied. Just mix them well in equal quantities.
- Sandalwood Powder is another good home remedy for scars. This comes to the rescue to all those people suffering from face scars. Mix sandalwood powder with rosewater or milk, rub gently on the affected area, leave it on for half an hour and then wash it off with cold water.
- Fuller’s earth can also be used with sandalwood powder, just mix both of them in the same ratio with water or rosewater to make a fine paste. Apply on the affected area, leave for 15 minutes and then wash it off with cold water.
- Applying Aloe Vera gel taken out from the leaf also helps in fading away the scars, one can also use the gels available in the market.
- Cucumber can also be applied on the scars to get rid of them. Apply the juice or rub a slice of a cucumber and then wash it off with rosewater to get away with the smell.
- Like lemon, tomato also has natural bleaching properties. Apply the slice or tomato juice on the area, massage for few minutes and then wash with rosewater.
- The use of raw potato or potato juice can also fade away the scars. Apply in the same way as tomato or cucumber.
- Yogurt mix is a simple solution for a scar caused due to burning. Mix barley, yoghurt and turmeric in equal proportions and apply it on the affected area.
- Fenugreek can be used in numerous ways for reducing scars. Take fenugreek seeds, soak them overnight in water, and make a paste and store it in a cool place; apply directly on the scars. You can also grind the seeds to make a powder and then mix 10 drops of rosewater in it to make a fine paste, apply on the affected area, leave for 15 minutes and then wash it off with cold water. Fenugreek leaves can also be used to make a paste.
- Coco butter, not only helps in getting rid of the scars but also gives a glow to the skin by moisturising it and making it soft, supple and smooth. Just apply cocoa butter directly at night, before going to bed, to see the results.
- Apple Cider Vinegar fades away the scars from both body and face. For the body, just dab a cotton ball in ACV and apply on the affected area whereas for the face, mix ACV and water in a 1:2 ratio respectively, use this solution to wash your face. Make sure to clean your face before using this and do apply a moisturiser afterwards.
- Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply this on the scars and let it dry. To make a fine paste take 5 tbsp. of baking soda, 1 tbsp. of water and mix well.
- Salt and Papaya Scrub can make the scars almost invisible. Extract Papaya juice and add 1 tbsp. of salt, rub gently until the juice is absorbed by the skin. Leave for 5 to 10 minutes and then remove using rosewater to get rid of the smell. Salt will exfoliate the skin and remove the dead cells while papaya will add a new shine to the skin.
- Aspirin heals and fades away the acne scars, just crush 2 aspirins, add few drops of water, apply and leave it overnight. You can also make honey and aspirin paste, mix 2 crushed aspirins with 1 tablespoon honey, apply on the affected area, leave for 30 minutes and then rinse with water.
- The antibiotic properties of garlic make it an effective natural remedy for treating scars. Using your fingers, rub few drops of garlic oil, let the oil stay for 15 minutes and then wash it off with rosewater.
- Cod Liver Oil has been used in maintaining healthy skin for decades, apply this oil directly on the skin to heal the local burns as it doesn’t allow any burn marks or scars to stay.
- Apply a little bit of coconut oil whenever you get a scar, slowly and gradually it will help in getting rid of the scars by making it invisible.
- The antioxidants, mono-saturated fatty acids and vitamins like A, C, D, E in Olive Oil speed up fading of the acne scars and lighten the skin scars. Massage the area with few drops on daily basis to see the results.
- The anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties of tea tree oil work as a charm when it comes to getting rid of scars. Just make sure to dilute the oil by mixing it with coconut oil, or mix it with the skin lotion and apply on the affected area.
Scarring can be avoided easily by using the right procedures. Some easy tips to prevent and avoid scarring:
- Cleaning and taking care of wounds reduces the chances of infection and will probably prevent the formation of scars.
- Clear your wound with sterile solutions in order to remove any dirt or any other foreign particles. In case of large wounds, seeking medical care is the best option.
- Use mild soap and water for cleaning your wound and also to prevent infections. After cleaning make sure to apply antibiotic creams or lotions. Antibiotic creams or lotions not only prevent infections but also speed up healing.
- Infected wounds are more prone to scarring. In case of surgical wounds, follow the instructions given by the surgeon and take care of the incision.
- Moisturising keeps the skin flexible, increases the overall healing, and allows the wound to heal up 50 per cent faster. It not only heals but minimizes the risk of scarring as well.
- A moist surrounding near the wound makes sure that cells are moving, which is required for the formation of hair follicles, these hair follicles make most of the skin’s collagen fibres which in turn repairs the damaged skin.
- Protection is another key step to reduce the chances of scars. Exposed wounds may suffer any sort of friction, trauma and get reinjured. To avoid this try keeping the wounds covered as this will protect the wound from the other dirt particles causing scars.
- Massage gently with your skin lotion to stimulate the flow of blood towards the injured area. The increased blood flow will help you in getting rid of the old scar tissues and will enhance the formation of new and healthy tissues.
- Massaging should only be done when the area is completely healed as massaging the mark while it’s still healing can disrupt the healing process.
- The new tissues forming on the site of the wound must be covered with sunblock when going out as the scorching ultraviolet rays of the sun can darken them, leading to hyperpigmentation which in turn can worsen the appearance of the scar.
- The harmful UV rays trigger the formation of Melanocytes, the type of skin cells which are responsible for the formation of pigmentation.
- A minimum of SPF 30 should be used in order to block the UV rays of the sun.
Avoid using Hydrogen Peroxide or Vitamin E
- The usage of hydrogen peroxide or vitamin E is an old circulating myth. The bubbles formed after the application of hydrogen peroxide on the wound site give us the feeling that something effective is happening but the truth is it immediately destroys the growth of newly formed skin cells.
- Applying vitamin E to the wounds can impair wound healing; it can also act as a skin irritant and may cause dermatitis or even make the appearance of the scars worse in some cases.
Scar Reduction Cream
- Scar reduction creams are a blend of active ingredients, antioxidants, moisturizers that can minimize the formation of scarring. A gentle scar reduction creams if applied once a day can prevent deep scars and will also keep your skin flawless and beautiful.
- It is rightly said, healing comes from the outside as well as inside. When your skin tissues are healing, they need extra support which is provided to them by a Multivitamin and Vitamin C. Adding 1000mg of Vitamin C to your daily diet can help the tissue to repair faster.
- Along with Vitamin C, Vitamin B and Zinc also support early tissue repair and also prevent scarring. These nutritional supplements stimulate the healing process of the body as well as boosts immunity.
Keep Calm and Be Patient
- Keep your calm and have patience, you cannot expect a wound to heal overnight. Just follow the right steps and appropriate tips wisely and take care of your wound site. Taking proper care will increase the probability of scar prevention immensely.
MYTHS AND FACTS
Myth: Plastic surgery doesn’t leave behind Scars
Fact: Plastic surgeries involve scarring as there is still cutting of tissues, the only difference is that the cutting and scarring is in a hidden or concealed place in our skin or body, like hidden along the hairline, inside the nose, back of the ears etc. Some different techniques and finer needles are used for minimal scarring.
Myth: All Acne scars should be treated by a dermatologist
Fact: Not all acne scars but deep or severe infections present need the attention of dermatologists as they can form a permanent scar. Mild acne scars can be treated at home with some natural remedies mentioned above.
Myth: A red scar is an indication of a permanent scar
Fact: A red scar formed on a wound after a cosmetic or surgical procedure is the result of new blood vessels formed at the site of the skin injury to form new cells. The redness is nothing but a normal indication of healing. If there is any form of inflammation or heat around the area then that can be due to an infection which can result in more than temporary scarring.
Myth: Picking and Pricking up of scabs can minimize scarring
Fact: Scabs formed over a wound may tempt you to pick or prick them but avoid doing that as it leads to the increased risk of scarring and can also pull away from the healthy tissues with the scabs.
Myth: Scars are permanent
Fact: A scar takes 12 to 18 months to form completely but takes around 24 months to disappear. If scars do not go away, it’s better to take help from dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons.
Myth: Keeping the wound open speeds up the healing process and reduces the chances of scars
Fact: The best way to protect the wound and also encouraging a fast healing time is to cover it with a bandage or any anti-bacterial ointment. This keeps the wound moist as well as moderately protects the wound from the environment and eventually lessens the chances of scar formation.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How many times a day, week, and month do these methods need to be followed to get rid of scars?
A: The remedies mentioned above can be followed daily until the visible results are seen. Applying them at night before going to bed really helps a lot.
Q: Can these methods work on very old scars?
A: Generally, older scars are more difficult to remove than the newer ones but Vitamin E works wonders on the older scars and must be avoided on the newer ones. It will take time but, they can also be removed.
Q: Will they work on pimple scars on the face? If no, please suggest alternative methods.
A: Most of these remedies work fine, you can start with lemon and honey or Aloe Vera but in case of sensitive skin it is advisable to visit a dermatologist first.
Q: Why are some scars itchy?
A: The itching may be due to the healing process of the wound or maybe because of the dryness and inflammation in the skin around the scar. To avoid itching try to keep your skin moisturised and hydrated.
Q: Do natural remedies help in getting rid of scars from cutting?
A: Natural remedies help, but it depends on the deepness of the cut. Some scars take a longer time than others but don’t give up on them but after few days if you don’t see any improvement on the scar then try an OTC or prescription scar remover.
Q: Can lemon and honey be combined and used? How long will it take?
A: Yes, they can be combined and used, both lemon and honey almost have the same properties that are easily compatible and heal the scar faster. Honey locks the moisture in the skin cells which maintains the hydration of the skin whereas the antioxidants present in lemon kill the bacteria that causes acne breakouts. The time duration depends on the size of the scar and the complexion of the skin, it can take from few days to few months.