Whether it was caused by surgery, a clumsy fall, or horseplay when you were younger, most of us have encountered our fair share of scars in our lifetime thus far.
How are Scars Formed
Scars are formed when the skin is cut or injured and new tissue, called fibrosis, replaces our normal skin after the injury. It’s a natural part of the healing process and usually happens with more serious and deep injuries or wounds. Typically, you don’t get a scar from things like a paper cut, or minor cuts and scrapes. The reason the new scar tissue looks different than our original tissue (the reason you are able to see scars), is because the new tissue that grows to heal our wounds is made up of a different composition than our natural, original tissue.
Types of Scarring
There are different types of scarring – some scars are sunken in, while others are raised slightly above the skin’s surface. There is also something called keloid scarring, which is usually what serious injuries cause. This is when the scar is raised more above the skin’s surface, and usually stiff. Stretch marks can also be considered a form of a scar, and can be just as difficult to fade the appearance of.
Decreasing the Appearance of Scars
Scars definitely build character and attached to memories of our past, but sometimes there are scars you don’t want to remember, or have just become a burden to try and cover up or hide. Things such as lasers, fillers, or dermabrasion, can help lessen the appearance of scars, but there are also some less risky ways you can try to reduce the appearance of scars.
Cocoa butter is a common and inexpensive ingredient often used to help get rid of scars and stretch marks (a lot of women apply cocoa butter during their pregnancy, to help avoid stretch marks). Creams with high percentages of Vitamin E can also help with the appearance of scars, and speed up the process of the skin healing.
Alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids are known to help with scarring as well. Besides looking for over the counter products that contain these ingredients, you can also check with your dermatologist for a prescription product that contains a high percentage of these. Silicone and retinol are also common ingredients in lotions and creams. They help to repair skin and smooth the skin’s surface to help with the appearance of skin imperfections. (*Note that when using these products, you should also stay out of the sun, or use and SPF product. Please check with your dermatologist to get more information about how to approach going in the sun, when using products with these ingredients.)
Other at-home options include:
Onion extract – This is an anti-inflammatory ingredient that can help with scarring over a period of months.
Rosehip seed oil – Helps to regenerate skin, reduce wrinkles, has anti-aging properties, and is often used in products that help fade scars, skin damage, and other skin imperfections.
Lemon juice is part of the Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) group, so it helps to get rid of dead skin cells, and help regenerate new healthy skin.
Check out these products by gloTherapeutics which include some of these great ingredients in their eco-conscious skin care products: