Did you know that we will all develop at least one scar in our lifetime? That’s a fact, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. While some might feel one scar is no big deal, many of us may experience increased distress and negative social impacts due to more visible scars. This psychological effect on one’s self-esteem can have an impact on multiple areas of our lives and seeking a treatment that actually reduces the appearance of scars can become all-consuming. Here, we share our top tips on effectively reducing the appearance of unwanted scars faster and safer than alternative treatment methods.
While natural scar reduction remedies may be cost-effective and tout a positive anecdotal track record, there is no scientific evidence that proves these remedies work. This is because they often tend to only have an effect on the skin’s surface, while scars are rooted deeper in the dermis. When your skin is injured, it naturally reacts by launching into repair mode. For deeper injuries, skin kickstarts its natural production cycle of collagen, a protein that serves as one of the basic building blocks for healthy skin, to pull the dermis back together. But sometimes, skin can overcompensate for the damage and produce too much collagen. The result is thicker, less flexible skin—or a scar. While it’s possible scars may fade over time, there’s no guarantee. To repair skin faster and much more effectively than natural remedies, try these top tips.
Often prescribed post-surgery to aid in the proper healing of skin and to avoid potential scarring, silicone sheets and gels protect vulnerable skin, increasing hydration and leveling out the expression of growth factors to better balance collagen production and prevent scarring. Best used on fresh scars, the effects of silicone therapy are well documented in authoritative studies and journals and is considered the first line of treatment for scarring.
In another study, glycolic acid peels were proven to reduce the appearance of acne scars, particularly atrophic, or pitted, acne scars. Acne scarring occurs when inflammation damages collagen long-term, resulting in textural changes to the affected skin. A chemical peel made with glycolic acid is applied to clean skin and left on for a few minutes before being neutralized and washed off. The treatment creates mild superficial injuries to skin’s surface or the dermis of the skin, depending on concentration level, which spurs skin’s natural healing cycle. Peels with stronger concentrations (up to 70%), or “deep peels,” completed by a certified treatment professional are much more likely to offer quicker, more visible results and skin care benefits as compared to lower-strength (8-15% concentration) drugstore peels, but will likely come with more downtime and possibly even blistering, particularly for sensitive skin. The overall result is smoother, more even-toned skin and reduced acne scarring. However, skin will be extra sensitive following treatment, particularly to UV light, so avoid sunlight immediately post-treatment and remember your SPF moving forward.
Dermabrasion is an effective treatment for scars that concern uneven skin texture, particularly raised scars. Differing from microdermabrasion, which exfoliates skin and removes dead skin cells, dermabrasion is performed with a motorized brush that wears down scar tissue by removing several layers of skin cells in a controlled manner for quick and effective results. The procedure also encourages healthy skin cell renewal in the treatment area to promote smoother, healthier skin following the conclusion of your treatment plan. It should be noted that dermabrasion may be effective, but it could impact your schedule for up to eight weeks as your skin recovers.
Another option for reducing the appearance of scars or stretch marks, radio frequency-based skin resurfacing treatments utilize tiny pins attached to an applicator that create micro-dermal wounds in the skin’s surface, through which heat, via radio frequency energy, is delivered deep into the dermis. The result is an increase in collagen and elastin production and faster, more noticeable results in scar reduction via an improvement in skin texture and tone. Because the wounds are so small, downtime is very minimal—you can resume your regular skin care and makeup routine after only 24 hours.
If you’re ready to start working toward gaining faster, more effective results in reducing the appearance of unwanted scars, it’s important to know the facts about skin resurfacing treatments before making a commitment. For the most accurate information and a customized recommendation based on your aesthetic goals, skin type and tone, and scar type, locate a certified treatment provider near you using the search field below.