Now that we’re all up to snuff on dealing with types of scars
And if you’re not, click here.
It’s high time to learn how to treat them.
As an esthetician, I spend much of my time helping clients treat their skin after scarring burns and facial scars.
So, let’s look at how you can treat and minimise your scars.
Each year around 1 million people scar their skin, as this study (1) found, that was undertaken by surgeons specialising in plastic surgery.
This indicates that many of us have experienced some form of scarring, whether from an injury, surgery, a burn, or a pimple that has gone awry at some point in our life.
Interestingly, the British Skin Foundation (2) found that fourteen per cent of people tend to get uncomfortable when they see scarring on someone. Yet, seven in ten people reported having an apparent skin condition or visible scar.
This shows how much facial scarring has the potential to affect us not only on a physiological level but also mentally.
Can I Minimise My Facial Scars?
Absolutely you can.
It is important to remember that a wound does not become a scar until your skin has completely healed. This is why it is imperative that, until this point, you treat it quickly and look after your scar.
Your body forms scars; when you injure your skin, it produces collagen to reconnect the tissues broken apart by injury.
Treating the injured area of your skin early will speed up the wound-healing process and improve the chances of your skin not scarring.
If you have a new wound, the best advice I can give is to apply an occlusive dressing within the first 48 hours of your injury and keep your wound moist, clean and protected from infection.
This will help to maintain the correct tissue humidity and boost your skin cell healing quickly and in an orderly form.
What Treatments Will Help Heal My Scars?
Now we’ve established that scarring burns and your facial scars are aesthetically undesirable, let’s look at the topical treatments you can use to help minimise the appearance and sensation of your scars.
- Moisturisers: Applying an occlusive moisturiser twice daily will help to improve flexibility and strengthen the area around your scar.
- Balms: These are ideal for treating scars. Apply them after your wound closes and continue to use them for several months, which will help you reduce the size of your scar, its hardness, and any associated itching or stiffness. In some cases, they can also prevent a scar from becoming raised. Our Nectar treatment balm we specifically created for skin healing, and when layered over bio lipid oil, our anti-scar oil, it makes the perfect treatment.
- Laser treatment: We recommend fractional ablative lasers rather than non-ablative lasers for treating your burns and scarring. Fractional lasers pierce tiny holes in your scar tissue, breaking it up and releasing tightness around the area. Ablative lasers work deep into the dermis, stimulating collagen production, and as your skin heals, collagen production increases to the point where the depression made by your scar is lifted. Often several laser treatments are necessary to ensure the laser targets all of your scar area.
- Punch excision: Dermatologists can perform punch excision on scars. A tool that looks like a pen is used, and the scar is cut out and then sewn up with a tiny stitch. This treatment is often performed on acne scarring, especially ice-pick scars.
- Hyaluronic injectables: These are really helpful at filling in atrophic scars (indented scars that heal below the normal layer of your skin’s tissue). Juvederm, Restalyne, or Radiesse is the ingredient that is often used in injectables.
- Pressure dressing: Compression is considered the first line of therapy for helping to reduce collagen synthesis; it can also help relieve the pain and itching that is often associated with hypertrophic burn scarring; this it does by facilitating the delivery of blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the scarred area. This treatment is generally only suitable for your body or non-flexion areas.
- Silicone Pads or Sheets: Silicone gel sheets and pads are over-the-counter treatments that I find really effective for treating scarring especially new and active scars. They should be applied daily and used continuously for the best results over several months.
- Polyurethane dressing: These are moist and flexible dressings that, when used regularly, will also help to heal and reduce the size of your scar.
- Dermabrasion: With this treatment, a local anaesthetic is usually required, and your dermatologist will use a tool to remove the surface of your scar. It is important to note that whilst this treatment will not entirely remove all of your scar, it will help to improve the colour and texture so that it blends in with the surrounding skin.
- In this study (3), one trial used dermabrasion to treat just one side of fifteen scars on participants, and they used the untreated side as the control study. During the six months, it was found that the treated side had a far superior appearance than that of the untreated side in 80% of the patients.
- Massage: If you have scarring burns it may surprise you to find that massage is a good remedy, especially if you catch them early enough. This treatment is often used in rehabilitation centres for scars and burns as it helps reduce sensitivity and pruritus while helping smooth the scar’s surface.
- Corticosteroid or bleomycin injections: Injection of corticosteroid directly into hypertrophic and keloid scars is a treatment that dermatologists often recommend to help reduce the size and severity of a scar. The injections break up the collagen fibre bonds, thus reducing the size of the area and easing itchiness and pain; multiple treatments are often required to get good results.
- Cryosurgery: This scar treatment involves the use of liquid nitrogen, which freezes the superficial layers of the scar area, destroying the scar tissue and helping to reduce size, itchiness, thickness and discolouration.
- Scar surgery: Whilst this treatment may seem a bit drastic, surgery is sometimes used to reduce the size of a keloid or increase the mobility of the area if the scar limits it.
- Radiation: Radiation therapy is sometimes used to reduce the size of raised scars and also to help ease some of the discomforts that scars can cause.
To Conclude. The naked truth
A question I am often asked is can I completely get rid of my scars? This all depends on the scar’s size, severity, and age.
The good news is if you treat your wound early enough, several treatments can help minimise your scar.
For your skin to heal correctly, a clean, warm, moist environment should be maintained, and movement should be restricted, so no tension is placed on the wound.
If your scar begins to show signs of healing, dont get complacent; this is when it requires real attention, so use the polyurethane dressings and silicone pads and sheets as outlined above.
It’s best to keep your scar protected and always use an SPF on the surrounding area, especially in the sun, to prevent the skin around your scar from darkening.
Dont be tempted to pick at your skin as it heals; this can cause post-inflammatory pigmentation (PIH) and dark spots, which will permanently mark your skin.
On a final note, having consulted thousands of clients over the years, it’s safe to say that the treatment of your scar very much depends on the type of scar, size and severity.
If you are concerned about physical scarring, talk to your doctor or dermatologist about the best treatment for your scars.