- How to Get Rid of Old Scars: Top 10 Remedies
- How to Get Rid of Scars for Good
- Alternative Treatment for Scars
- Vitamin E: Can it help improve the appearance of scars?
- Don’t waste money on unproven remedies
- Scarring treatment explained
- Dealing with acne scars
- Some people scar worse than others
- This Is How You Really Get Rid Of Acne Scars
- How To Fade Marks And Scars On Your Legs
- Use a skin brightening soap.
- Exfoliate twice or thrice a week with a loofah.
- Moisturize and moisturize!
- Of course, don’t forget to apply sunscreen.
- Don’t scratch or pick at a scar. Ever.
- The 11 Best Ways To Heal Pregnancy Stretch Marks After Giving Birth
- A Brief Overview Of Pregnancy Stretch Marks
- Tips For Healing Your Pregnancy Stretch Marks
- 1) Massage With Oil
- 2) Apply A Specialized Cream
- 3) Stay Hydrated To Treat Pregnancy Stretch Marks
- 4) Keep Your Skin Moisturized
- 5) Exercise To Improve Skin & Muscle Tone
- 6) Rejuvenate Skin With Home Remedies
- 7) Ice Stretch Marks To Reduce Inflammation
- 8) Exfoliate Once Per Week
- 9) Eat Well
- 10) Relax To Help Your Skin Heal
- 11) Give It Time!
- Reduce Pregnancy Stretch Marks And Restore Smooth Skin
- Proper wound care: How to minimize a scar
- What is a scar?
- How can a scar be minimized?
- What are the different types of scars and treatment?
- Recovery from scar revision surgery
How to Get Rid of Old Scars: Top 10 Remedies
There’s no known way to make scars totally disappear, but many will become lighter over time on their own.
That being said, advocates of natural healing believe that there are remedies that can speed up the lightening process and make a scar less noticeable. Here are some of the remedies that have been effective for some people.
- Remove the dark green “skin” from the flatter side of an aloe vera leaf.
- Scoop out the almost clear light green gel.
- Apply the gel directly to your scar using circular motions.
- After half an hour, wash the gel off with fresh, cool water.
- Repeat twice each day.
- Cut open a vitamin E capsule over the scar and squeeze the oil onto the scar (you might need more than just one capsule to get enough liquid for full coverage).
- For about 10 minutes, massage the oil on and around the scar.
- After about 20 minutes wash off the oil with warm water.
- Repeat this process a minimum of 3 times per day.
Buy vitamin oil now.
- Before going to bed, cover your scar with a layer of honey.
- Wrap the honey-covered scar with a bandage.
- Leave it on for one full night.
- In the morning, remove the bandage and wash off the honey with warm water.
- Make this part of your routine every night.
Buy honey now.
- Heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil, just enough to liquefy it.
- Massage the oil into the scar for about 10 minutes.
- Let the skin absorb the oil for a minimum of one hour.
- Repeat two to four times every day.
Buy coconut oil now.
Apple cider vinegar
- Combine 4 tablespoons of distilled water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Dip a cotton ball into the water-cider mixture and generously dab your scar.
- Let it dry.
- Do this every night before you go to bed, washing the area in the morning.
Buy apple cider vinegar now.
Lavender and olive oil
- Mix three drops of lavender essential oil into three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Massage the mixture into the scarred area for about 5 minutes.
- Leave the oil in place for about 30 minutes.
- Rinse the area with warm water.
- Repeat this process a minimum of three times a day.
Shop for lavender essential oil.
- Cut a wedge from a fresh lemon.
- Gently rub the juicy side of the lemon on the scar while you squeeze the juice onto the scar.
- Relax for about 10 minutes before rinsing off the area with cool water.
- Do this every day at approximately the same time.
- Slice a potato into medium thick rounds.
- Using a circular motion, rub the potato slice on your scar.
- Once the potato slice starts to dry out, discard it and continue rubbing with another slice.
- Continue rubbing and replacing for about 20 minutes and then let the scar air-dry for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse the area with cool water.
- Repeat this process at least one time each day
Rosehip and frankincense
- Mix equal parts rosehip essential oil and frankincense essential oil.
- Massage the rosehip-frankincense mixture onto the scar.
- Wait for 45 minutes before gently rinsing the area with warm water.
- Follow this procedure three times a day.
- Mix distilled water — a little at time — into two tablespoons of baking soda until it forms a paste.
- Wet your scar with distilled water and then apply the paste to the wet scar.
- Hold the paste in place with a warm compress for 15 minutes.
- Rinse the area and repeat daily.
Before trying any of the remedies above, thoroughly wash and dry the scar and the area around it. Also, only use these remedies on scars — not open wounds. Should any of these remedies cause any irritation, stop use immediately.
If there’s one universal skin trait that many can relate to, it has to be scars. Also, how to remove and fade scars. Because whether you’ve burned your face with a curling iron like I have (ouch, I know), have had surgery incisions, or acne indentations, most people, in some form or another, have a narrative etched right onto their skin in the form of a scar. “Scars can be kind of fun,” Dr. Nava Greenfield of Schweiger Dermatology says, “because sometimes there are funny stories to remember, and sometimes not, but there’s always a story behind them.”
Whether we want that story to stay with us for good, however, is anyone’s personal choice — it’s just as cool to embrace scars as it is to want to remove and fade scars. But in order to know how and whether to treat your scar, you need to know how deep the scar is, says Dr. Greenfield.
What causes scarring?
A little background: Scars form when trauma damages the collagen-clad dermis, the layer of skin directly underneath the top layer, as well as the epidermis, in which then “your skin then goes through different stages of repair,” Dr. Greenfield says, “and what happens is your collagen begins to remodel itself as it heals.” There are all kinds of scars, too. For example, during this remodeling process, your collagen may increasingly thicken itself, and if it stays within the boundary of the scar, it is called a hypertrophic scar, or a raised scar. But if the collagen exceeds the borders of the scar — a less common occurence — it’s called a keloid. Turns out, there are many variables that go into what makes you scar a certain way, “different skin types scar differently, so it really depends on your specific skin type and genetic background,” she notes.
What are the different types?
Acne scars, on the other hand, are known to be pitted and indented, and this is because of constant touching or picking at them while breakouts are not yet healed. Acne also may cause hyperpigmentation, another form of scarring, where skin is permanently darkened where the pimple once existed. These differ from keloid and hypertrophic scars in that they’re typically not raised, instead — they are flat and discolored.
And if you suffer a burn from a curling iron (because let’s be honest, it happens) or otherwise, Dr. Greenfield notes that first-degree burns are superficial, affecting only the top layer of the skin. “These will hurt, and will be red,” she says, “but you will not end up with a scar, since the dermis remains untouched.” In the case of second-degree burns, however, “blisters will form, and these indicate that the top layer of skin has separated from the dermis,” harming the underlayer — which means a scar will likely appear.
And, in the case of a surgical incision, she explains that “whoever is sewing you up can do it in a way to mitigate the negative appearance of the scar, and it will hopefully look a lot nicer than if you just hurt yourself by accident.”
How do I know when it’s safe to remove my scar?
And just like how the kind of scar you have can vary, how scars are removed will vary based on where they are exactly in the healing process, according to Dr. Greenfield. “For example, you don’t want to start a laser on a scar that’s turning red because it would be counter-productive,” she says. Scars that are red are in the inflammatory stage, which is at the very beginning of the healing process, soon after the trauma to the dermis. During these early stages, “You want to make sure the healing wound bed is as clean and moist as possible,” she adds, “so you can use products like Vaseline or sulfacetamide.” Silicone sheeting and scar gels like Mederma are also other methods that lessen the appearance of hypertrophic scars. “Scar formation is a slow process!” Dr. Greenfield adds, but if you do not see improvement in six to eight weeks, the scar may already be formed and onto its next healing phase, so it might be time to look at other cosmetic options.
How to Get Rid of Scars for Good
Positive studio headshot of Asian girl with skin problems consisting of spots and scarring
Time may heal all wounds, but it’s not so good at erasing them. Scars occur when an injury slices through the top layer of skin and penetrates the dermis, says Neal Schultz, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. What happens next depends on your body’s collagen response. If it generates just the right amount of this skin-repairing protein, you’ll be left with a flat, faint scar. If your body *can’t* drum up enough collagen, you’ll wind up with a sunken scar. FYI: It’s never too early to start protecting the collagen in your skin. You can even fill up on the protein via collagen powders.
But if your body churns out too much collagen? You’re stuck with a raised scar. That’s not to say you’ll develop the same type of scar every time you’re injured, “but people tend to be predisposed to scarring a certain way,” says Diane Madfes, M.D., an assistant clinical professor in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. In other words, if you have one raised scar, you’re more likely to have another in the future.
Injury location factors in as well. Scars on the chest and neck tend to be especially obvious because the skin there is so thin, and skin trauma below the waist can scar badly because cell turnover is slower and there is less blood flow to the lower body.
As for your still-burning question of how to get rid of scars if you’re sick of them? Fortunately, no matter what kind of scar you have, there are new and effective ways to get rid of scars and prevent being left with a permanent mark. (Also: Don’t feel like you *have* to hide your scars. This photographer, for one, is destigmatizing the marks by sharing the stories behind them.)
How to Get Rid of Most Scars
When the initial insult happens, the most important step (after cleansing, of course) is to keep the skin well-lubricated, says Mona Gohara, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. A moist environment promotes growth needed for the repair process. Contrary to popular belief, scabs delay the healing process, she says. (Related: The Best New Clean Skincare Products)
Oil-based lubricants work, too—and no need to glop on topical antibiotics either. According to research, there is no difference in the infection rate between wounds treated with Vaseline and wounds treated with over-the-counter antibacterial cream, says Dr. Gohara. “If there are stitches in or if the skin is open: lube, lube, lube.”
To get rid of scars, try to minimize strain, too, she notes. Especially in the case of sutures, less strain means less scarring. Take your back for example: When doctors remove skin cancers there, they recommend patients keep their arms down as much as possible so that the back muscles are not in motion. “When the muscles move, the scar can stretch and widen (a term called “fish mouthing”),” she says. “Daily activities like reaching into the cupboard, driving, and brushing your teeth produce enough tension, so any additional activity should be minimized. It’s important to identify points of strain and avoid them as much as possible.”
And while scars can heal to a tone lighter, darker, or redder than the skin, there isn’t *much* you can do in the case of hypopigmentation (lightening). To avoid hyperpigmentation (darkening), apply a good physical broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher daily, and reapply it every two hours, she suggests. (It’s also worth noting that sunscreen may not *always* be enough to protect your skin from the sun.) Fading creams with hydroquinone, vitamin C, kojic acid, retinol, soy, licorice root, and berry extract can also fade down darkened marks, she says.
Otherwise, how to get rid of a scar might depend on what kind of a scar you’re looking to get rid of in the first place. Here, four common kinds of scars, plus the best ways to (hopefully) clear up each.
How to Get Rid of Sunken (Atrophic) Scars
Atrophic scars occur when you lose skin tissue and your body can’t regenerate it, so you’re left with a depression. They often stem from a bad case of acne or chicken pox-or from having an abnormal mole removed. Getting rid of these scars depends on the type of atrophic mark you have.
Ice pick scars: They are small, deep, and narrow, and are typically treated by cutting them out. “There are vertical bands of scar tissue anchored to the bottom of the scar, connecting it to deeper parts of the skin,” says Dennis Gross, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. Your doctor will numb the area, cut around and remove the scar, and close the incision with a single stitch. But here’s the catch: This procedure will leave a scar. “You’re trading an ice pick scar for a nice flat scar,” says Dr. Gross.
You can also inject the scar with a filler, such as Juvéderm or Belotero Balance. “This will help fill the ‘pit,'” says plastic surgeon Sachin M. Shridharani, M.D., founder of Luxurgery in New York City. “But the filler will last for only six to 12 months.”
Boxcar scars: They have steep, defined borders and a flat bottom. One way to get rid of the scar is subcision, which involves popping the scarred skin back up with a needle so the area is no longer depressed. You could have some bruising for about a week.
Another option: ablative lasers (meaning that they cause damage to the surface of skin) called CO2 or erbium, “which can give you great results,” says Dr. Gross. They both work by making holes in the scar tissue to induce new collagen formation. Most people need three treatments. Lasers can hurt, but a numbing cream takes the edge off. “And you’ll have some redness and crusting for up to 10 days if you had a CO2 treatment or up to seven in the case of erbium,” says Dr. Madfes.
Rolling scars: The last atrophic scar, a rolling scar, is broad and craterlike with rolling edges. “CO2 or erbium lasers are often used when the scarring is severe, but if scarring is more superficial, Fraxel or picosecond lasers can be effective,” says Dr. Shridharani. These nonablative lasers get rid of scars by tightening skin and stimulating collagen growth. Since they don’t perforate the skin, you’ll just have some temporary redness.
How to Get Rid of Keloid Scars
Keloids are not only raised but also take up extra real estate that’s often significantly wider and longer than the original wound. Keloids can be tough scars to get rid of, so sometimes people throw everything at them,” says Dr. Schultz. “It can’t hurt to try a topical scar cream,” says Dr. Gross. Once a day, massage a thin layer over the scar (try Mederma Scar Cream Plus SPF30: Buy It, $10, amazon.com). In eight weeks you may see some improvement.
Silicone sheets and lasers can be effective too, says Dr. Gross, but cortisone shots tend to work better. You can also inject keloids with both cortisone and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a cancer drug that prevents the proliferation of cells called fibroblasts, which produce collagen, says Dr. Madfes.
Last option for getting rid of the scars: Cut them out. Since you’re usually removing such a big area, you will be left with another, hopefully, smaller, scar.
How to Get Rid of Raised (Hypertrophic) Scars
Raised scars are hypertrophic scars. Your body should switch off collagen production once an injury heals, but sometimes it doesn’t get the memo and keeps pumping out collagen until you’re left with a raised mark. The good news is that hypertrophic scars know their boundaries—they don’t extend beyond the original footprint of the wound. They can either be pink (meaning the scar is fresher and newer) or match your skin color.
OTC silicone patches like ScarAway Silicone Scar Sheets ($22, walgreens.com) can help flatten the scar “by applying pressure to the area and infusing it with hydration,” says Dr. Schultz. To get rid of the scar, you’ll need to leave the adhesive sheet on the scar overnight, every night, for about three months.
You can also have your derm inject cortisone directly into the scar. “Cortisone seems to slow down collagen production and melt away excess collagen,” says Dr. Schultz. CO2 and erbium lasers can be handy as well because although they increase collagen, they also remodel it, which decreases puffiness. “It’s like rebooting a computer-it starts proper healing,” says Dr. Schultz.
Image zoom Positive studio headshot of Asian girl with skin problems consisting of spots and scarring
How to Get Rid of Acne Scars
Pimples are annoying enough when they happen. But then to suffer from the gift that keeps on giving in the form of a scar? No thank you. Thankfully there are ways to get rid of acne scars, too. Bellafill is a dermal filler approved for the correction of moderate to severe, atrophic, distensible facial acne scars on the cheek in patients over the age of 21, says Dr. Gohara. “It can be used alone or in combination with lasers such as the Fraxel which help to resurface the skin.”
Microneedling—tiny little needles make small punctures in the skin so that collagen can form and even out the complexion—is another plausible option for getting rid of acne scars, she says.
Want to keep it simple? Microdermabrasion or even topical retinol products (here are the best ones for every skin type) can minimize divots and depressions from previous blemishes, notes Dr. Gohara. (Related: These 7 Products Will Fade Your Acne Scars in Record Time)
- By Lesley Rotchford
Alternative Treatment for Scars
Now that a significant percentage of patients are using some form of complementary and alternative medicine — known as CAM — it behooves their physicians to inform themselves about these approaches to better supervise their care.
Scarring is a big deal for many patients for a variety or reasons: Scars may be painful, itchy or unsightly. Your patients will ask you about scarring and what they can do about it; some will want to know if there is anything “natural” they can rub on their scars. In this article, we will discuss common topical agents that are available over-the-counter for scarring and will also discuss the evidence behind these agents.
Vitamin E preparations are probably the most popular among the public for use in improving the cosmetic appearance of scars.1-3 Vitamin E is made up of four pairs of racemic stereoisomers that are derivatives of tocol and tocotrienol and is part of a class of related compounds, the tocopherols, of which alpha-tocopherol is the most important component.1,4,5 The most common preparation of vitamin E is in the form of topical alpha-tocopherol prepared in a cream or oil base.
Early quantitative studies have shown that vitamin E applied topically penetrates deep into the dermis and subcutaneous tissue, which is likely what led to the idea that vitamin E may improve wound healing when applied topically.1
But the effect of vitamin E on wound healing is much more complex than this. When the skin is injured, free oxygen radicals released by neutrophils in the inflammatory phase decrease healing by damaging DNA, cellular membranes, proteins, and lipids, leading ultimately to cell death.2 This damage is theorized to be reduced by antioxidants, of which vitamin E is the main lipid-soluble antioxidant in the skin, thus enhancing wound healing.1,6-9
Although the in vitro antioxidant effects of vitamin E have been well investigated, research on the in vivo effects on skin healing is sparse.1,8,9 Additionally, animal studies have shown that topical vitamin E inhibits fibro-blasts and keratocytes (resulting in decreased scar formation) but have been largely unhelpful because tocopherols, unlike other vitamins, have species- specific mechanisms of action.1,5,10,11
Studies have also shown that topically applied vitamin E provides no more effect than other emollient-type ointments, and hydration appears to be its only beneficial effect.2 Interestingly, topical vitamin E may actually cause more harm than good, possibly worsening a scar’s appearance and causing contact dermatitis, contact urticaria, and erythema multiform-like reactions in a large percentage of patients.1,2,8,9,12-16 A recent report from Widegrow et al has highlighted the skin irritation and reduced tensile strength caused by vitamin E.12 Use of vitamin E later on in the scar’s maturity (4 to 6 weeks and later) may flatten the scar because of its hydrative capabilities, but it may result in a stretched and weakened scar because of its decreased tensile strength effect on the scar; and if used too early, wound separation can occur.12
Bottom Line: Although many patients believe vitamin E speeds wound healing and improves the look of a scar, current evidence from the literature does not support this idea. In fact, studies report adverse effects with use of vitamin E. Because of this, discourage your patients from using topical vitamin E on healing wounds and scars.
Silicones are synthetic polymers based on a dimethyl siloxane monomer and containing a silicon-oxygen backbone, with organic groups attached directly to the silicon atom by silicon-carbon bonds.18 Depending on the length of the chain and the degree of cross-linking, the silicone can be a fluid, gel or rubber.18
Several studies illustrate that treatment of hypertrophic and keloid scars with silicone gel clinically improves the appearance and bulk of the scars, especially in patients with scars from a burn.19,27 The superiority of one form of silicone gel dressing over another, or of a silicone over a nonsilicone gel dressing, however, is controversial. Although both silicone gel sheeting and silicone gel cushions clinically improved hypertrophic and keloid scars, another study indicated no significant difference in efficacy between the two forms of silicone dressing.18
Silicone dressings are believed to decrease scars via wound hydration, increased static charge (i.e., silicone gels contain increased negative static charge), and modulation of growth factors.18,19 A meta-analysis of scar treatment with silicone gel dressing versus gel sheets in the Cochrane Database included 13 trials with a total of 559 subjects and concluded that most studies were of poor quality, making the efficacy of silicone gel sheeting over silicone gel unclear.20
Materials other than silicones (i.e., polyurethane) have shown to be equally effective in the treatment of hypertrophic scars.23,28-30 Both silicone and nonsilicone gel dressings have been effective in reducing scar size, induration, and symptoms over controls, but no significant differences have been noted between results from treatment with silicone and treatment with nonsilicone gel dressings.23
Bottom Line: There is good evidence showing the efficacy and safety of topical silicone for the treatment of hypertrophic and keloid scars. Silicone gel may improve the thickness, color, and texture of scars, especially thick ones. Tell your patients to apply silicone gel to the scar for 8 to 24 hours per day and remind them it may take several months to see improvement. Although early treatment is ideal, silicone gel sheeting may still be beneficial for older scars. Further investigation is needed to demonstrate their effectiveness over nonsilicone gel dressings.
The newest, very popular, and heavily marketed over-the-counter scar treatment consists of onion extract in a topical gel and has been marketed as a product to improve scar appearance and texture (Mederma, Merz Pharmaceuticals).31 The active ingredient, Allium cepa, is derived from a specific type of onion, with the main constituent being quercetin, a bioflavonoid with antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-histamine effects in both normal and malignant cells of various types.8,31 Quercetin is also found in apples, red wine, and gingko biloba.8,31
The significance of quercetin’s cellular effects seem to reside in its anti-histamine properties.31 The theory behind this is that a compound that blocks histamine release may normalize or decrease collagen production by fibro-blasts, subsequently resulting in reduced dermal scar volume and relative normalization of the scar maturation process. The cosmetic result is a decrease in scar redness and hypertrophy.31,32 These studies were done in animal models, and there are no reported mechanisms of action describing how onion extract acts to reduce scarring.
Wounds treated with Mederma and then examined histologically did show significantly better improvement of collagen organization.8 However, a prospective, double-blind study of Caucasian males conducted in 2006 demonstrated that the effects of topical onion extract on cosmetic appearance, erythema, and hypertrophy of scars in new surgical scars were equivalent to those of petrolatum emollient.33 These findings contradict the pilot study (conducted in 1999) comparing topical onion extract with petrolatum in which topical onion extract caused no improvement in scar erythema or pruritus, while petrolatum reduced scar erythema.34
Bottom Line: Products containing onion extract (i.e., Mederma) have not been shown to improve scar symptoms in humans and have not shown any benefit over petrolatum emollients. Tell your patients that applying this product to their scars will likely not cause any harm but will not improve them. More research is needed in human tissue about the theorized effects of the active ingredient in the onion extract.
Honey has been used as a dressing for wounds and burns for centuries.
Honey’s effects on wound healing are theorized to be from its antibacterial activity via the small amounts of hydrogen peroxide that is produced in it by the enzyme glucose oxidase in addition to its hydrating properties.35-38
A recent review evaluated the results of 22 clinical trials involving more than 2,000 patients. This randomized and controlled mix of animal and human models — none from studies that were double-blinded) — concluded that honey rapidly clears existing wound infections and protects against further infection, reduces swelling and minimizes scarring, removes infected and dead tissue and speeds healing by stimulating new tissue growth.36
A 1996 study from India showed that burns treated with honey healed sooner than those treated with conventional methods (petrolatum and gauze) and that scarring was reduced; 6.2% of the 450 patients treated ended up with scars compared to 19.7% of the same number of patients who received conventional treatment.37
Bottom Line: More well-designed, double-blind controlled trials in humans are needed, but preliminary studies are promising regarding honey and its wound healing and scar improvement properties. Tell your patients that applying honey to a healing wound or existing scar has not shown to be harmful and may speed healing and improve scar appearance.
Other Possible Candidates
Preliminary and anecdotal evidence supports the use of various herbal preparations to treat scars, but no clinical trials have been performed.
Spathodea campanulata Beauv (Bignoniaceae) A French group reported improved wound healing in the rat burn model with extract from the bark of the African tree, Spathodea campanulata Beauv (Bignoniaceae).39
Centella asiatica. The extract of this plant native to Asia has been shown to improve wound healing in multiple reports.12,40 Most recently, a Korean group reported the clinical effectiveness of treating hypertrophic scars and keloids with titrated extract of Centella asiatica.41
Anogeissus latifolia. The extract of the bark of this deciduous tree native to India has been used for a variety of skin diseases for centuries. The active compounds in the bark are leucocyanin and ellagic acids, which have been shown to have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.8 There is one report in the literature demonstrating the ability of the bark extract to accelerate wound healing, decrease wound surface area, and increase tensile strength in rat dermal wounds.42
Channa striatus. Enhanced wound contraction with haruan (Channa striatus) fish extract combined with cetrimide cream has been reported using a rat model.43
Citrus limon (lemon). Lemon’s role as an antimicrobial agent has been widely reported.44,45 However, despite numerous anecdotal reports, there is only one case report in the medical literature involving the use of lemon juice on keloids.46
Lime juice, cucumber juice, cocoa butter, and aloe vera. Anecdotal reports abound regarding rubbing these substances on scars, but there are no studies done on any of these to date except for aloe vera. A 1996 report showed enhanced wound contraction in rats treated with aloe vera.47
Bottom Line: Further quality research studies are needed in humans before any of these herbal preparations could be recommended to patients.
What works? The bottom line
To summarize, silicone gel has the most data behind it as an efficacious topical, over-the-counter treatment option for scars, and is an option for patients who want something they can buy themselves. Also, there is probably not any harm, and possibly some benefit, to rubbing honey onto healing wounds and scars. Further quality studies involving human subjects are needed for topical, natural preparations for scars, so in the meantime, encourage your patients to not waste their time or money on other natural products out there that claim to improve the look of their scars.
Dr. Taylor is a dermatology clinical research fellow at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Vitamin E: Can it help improve the appearance of scars?
Whether it’s acne pock marks, stretch marks after pregnancy, or the legacy of a burn, wound or surgery, few of us like scars on our skin.
And there is no shortage of remedies that claim to make scars smaller, thinner and less noticeable. One of the most popular is vitamin E, which is found in many skin creams. But will vitamin E really help to improve your scar?
According to Sydney dermatologist Dr Phillip Artemi, the answer is no.
He says despite the marketing hype, research has clearly shown vitamin E has absolutely no beneficial effect on scars.
As your body forms a scar there is a natural process of slow and gradual improvement over a period of about 12 months.
And this will happen regardless of whether vitamin E cream is applied.
It is true that collagen, a fibrous protein in the skin, is involved in scar formation and that vitamin E, when present in the body, influences the formation and arrangement of collagen fibres.
But Dr Artemi says it does not automatically follow that applying vitamin E to skin will improve the way collagen is formed and laid down when wounds heal and scars form.
In fact several studies have tested this exact idea and shown it to be false. One study even found that in almost a third of cases, vitamin E caused a common skin irritation — known as contact dermatitis.
Dermatologists now consider it “a proven scientific fact” that applying vitamin E is of no value to scars, Dr Artemi says.
Don’t waste money on unproven remedies
So if vitamin E will not help scars, is there anything that will?
The notion that aloe vera, lemon juice, and other over-the-counter oils and creams will fade or shrink scars is also “nonsense”, Dr Artemi says.
For example, while initial tests on rabbits and in the laboratory suggested onion extract might be beneficial for scars, further studies in humans showed it did not live up to the promise.
However using a dressing to trap moisture over a wound when it’s healing can help minimise scarring and provide the best possible cosmetic outcome.
Scarring treatment explained
- Chemical reconstruction of skin scars: A chemical (usually trichloroacetic acid) is used to frost the scar, in order for the body to produce new collagen fibres during the healing process.
- Dermal fillers: Chemical fillers are injected into the skin to decrease the depth of scars.
- Fractional laser: A non-wounding laser is used to stimulate collagen growth and tighten skin.
- Micro-needling: Small needles are delivered into the dermal layers of the skin, to break down scar tissue and stimulate the formation of new collagen.
- Subcision: The sharp edge of a hypodermic needle is used to break down fibrous connective strands underneath the scar to improve appearance .
(From Australian College of Dermatologists and dermnetnz.org)
Dr Artemi says avoiding unnecessary tension and strain on a scar, ensuring that it is not exposed to excessive sunlight and giving it a simple massage for a few minutes twice a day can also help.
Special dressings — known as silicon dressings — are good at trapping moisture, as are silicon gel or gel sheets.
“They’ve certainly been proven to work well to trap moisture and help scars heal as well as possible — but their effect has nothing to do with silicon itself,” Dr Artemi said.
“As a result you could probably achieve the same thing by applying a good smear of Vaseline or any dressing that prevents air reaching the wound and drying it out.
“Such silicone or other occlusive dressings should only be used on clean wounds, where there is low risk of infection.”
Dr Artemi says they provide most benefit in the first 12 weeks of use, although in some cases their use may be recommended for six to 12 months.
“It’s important to remember that even with an occlusive dressing, a scar will take many months, and sometimes more than a year, to naturally fade to its end point,” he said.
“If you are unhappy about a scars redness, bumpiness or thickness it’s time to consult a dermatologist to discuss possible options such as an appropriate laser source, micro-needling or injectable treatment.”
Dealing with acne scars
When it comes to scars caused by acne, treatment options are not always straight forward.
Acne scarring consists of many different types of scarring including ice-pick scars, pock-like scars, deep depression and areas of skin thickening .
Each scar responds differently and as a result combination treatments are required, according to each patients needs and the severity of the scarring.
These treatments are undertaken by a dermatologist and might include micro-needling, fractional laser treatment, subcision, chemical reconstruction of skin scars or injected dermal fillers.
Depending on your skin type and the degree of scarring, combination treatment for acne scarring can result in a 30 to 60 per cent improvement.
And yes, picking and squeezing your pimples, or picking at the scab of a healing wound, will only make scars worse.
Some people scar worse than others
But some people will have worse than usual scars despite doing all the right things.
Scars are more of an issue for people:
- Who are Asian or who have dark skin — it is not just their skin colour, but other biochemical differences including the fact cells that make collagen are over-reactive;
- Aged between 10 and 30 — especially those who do not have a genetic tendency for skin that heals well;
- Who have a wound on certain parts of their body for example the upper trunk, around the ear lobes or jaw line, or where movement puts extra tension on the scar.
But whether your scar is at the good or bad end of the scale, the evidence suggests spending your hard-earned cash on vitamin E won’t make a jot of difference.
“You’re just wasting your money,” Dr Artemi says.
Dr Phillip Artemi is a Sydney Dermatologist in private practice. In the past he has served as Honorary Secretary, Director of Training (NSW) and Chairman of the Teaching and Learning Committee of the Australasian College of Dermatologists.
You cut yourself badly, you get yourself a nice red angry wound, you reach for the Mederma Scar Gel and apply diligently until it slowly fades away. But is there something else you could be using to make that scar disappear faster?
A Reddit user named kallybear posted photos this week of a scar she had on her ring finger, the legacy of an engagement tattoo she had removed in March 2015. It should be noted that she asked her plastic surgeon to remove the tattoo surgically—yes, with a knife—instead of getting laser removal, because she wanted it gone immediately. (Note to everyone: ouch. Also, maybe engagement tattoos aren’t always the best idea.) Here’s what her finger looked like three weeks after the procedure:
Her plastic surgeon suggested she use Mederma to heal her scar. But since it looked especially red and angry (also known as hyperpigmentation), she thought she should try something else. “When my acne hyperpigmentation was bad, I tried Mederma out of desperation and was not impressed,” she wrote on Reddit. “However, vitamin C serum faded them almost completely, so I decided to try that on my finger instead.” Here’s what her scar looked like after six months of massaging just three drops of Original Pure Vitamin C20 Serum on it at night:
That scar is almost completely gone. We asked Joshua Zeichner, an assistant professor in the dermatology department at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, if there is anything to this. He said a vitamin C serum will help heal the scar faster, but it shouldn’t replace Mederma or another scar gel. “Vitamin C is an antioxidant that we commonly recommend to treat dark spots and sun damage because of its ability to brighten the skin. Just as it can brighten sun spots on your face, it can do the same to pigmentation around scars,” said Zeichner. He also recommends layering it on top of your scar product. “Unlike traditional scar gels that improve not only pigment, redness, and texture of the scar itself, vitamin C targets primarily pigment. So you should put it on top of Mederma or Scarguard.”
Yet another reason why vitamin C is a wonder ingredient.
How vitamins do a hangover good:
This Is How You Really Get Rid Of Acne Scars
Dr. Caren Campbell, MD, in her San Francisco office
Source: Ashley Batx
Acne scarring plagues the pores of so many who have long-since recovered from active acne. With the recent advent of laser technology and dermatological research, much progress has been made in understanding how to best care for patients while undergoing treatment and in improving treatment efficacy itself.
I recently discussed the subject with leading San Francisco dermatologist Dr. Caren Campbell, M.D., a physician who has treated many Millennial professionals in the area struggling to remove acne scars. Below, she shares the recent, notable progress that has been made in acne-scarring treatment options, how to know if scars will fade on their own, when to seek medical intervention and the questions to ask your physician.
First, what causes acne scars?
Campbell: Acne scars result from cystic, inflamed acne lesions. When the clogged, inflamed pore ruptures, the skin’s attempt to repair the broken skin isn’t as flawless as the original skin. Depending on the depth of the ruptured pore, varying types of acne scars can be produced—atrophic, icepick, boxcar, rolling. When the body overshoots the wound healing response keloids or hypertrophic scars can form, which represent excess scar tissue formation.
Will they ever fade on their own?
When discoloration is the issue and the “scar” is flush with the skin and there is no surface irregularity, these do resolve on their own with time and sun avoidance. For acne scars not flush with the skin, they typically do not fade on their own. Collagen in the skin needs to be remodeled or stimulated to correct for these structural deformities in the skin.
Discoloration from acne is called post-inflammatory erythema if red and post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation if darker than normal skin tone. This discoloration of the skin that is flush with the skin is caused by the inflammatory cells that attack the overgrowth of bacteria, oil and dead skin clogging the pore. Even after the acne has resolved, this pigment change remains though will fade with time. Sun avoidance and protection are important is helping this pigment change fade more quickly. If the areas of post-inflammatory erythema or hyper-pigmentation are exposed to sun they persist longer. Sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, broad spectrum and ideally mineral is recommended. Newer formulations like EltaMD and CCMD sunscreens (my branded sunscreen) contain nanoparticle zinc and titanium that rub in clear rather than leaving a white film.
Additional topical treatments can be used to expedite improvement of these areas of discoloration. This includes the mainstay topical treatment for acne—retinoids. Creams like Tretinoin and Tazorac speed up skin cell turnover and stimulate collagen. There retinoid creams also have a role in remodeling scars and not only pigment. A recent split-faced study (treating one side with at-home microneedling and one side with Tazorac) showed improvement with Tazorac alone in acne scars.
Can acne scars be removed permanently?
In short, yes. Depending on the type of acne scar, different modalities may be utilized, but overall, I have found that laser treatments are the most effective option for the majority of acne scars. The two best laser devices on the market for acne scars are Fraxel 1550 and PicoWay Resolve. PicoWay Resolve is safe in all skin types as it does not heat or break the surface level of the skin. Fraxel 1550 delivers heat to the top layers of the skin which can be beneficial in stimulating collagen, but increases the risk of hyperpigmentation (dark areas of skin) in darker skin types. This risk can be mitigated with pre- and post-treatment Tretinoin and hydroquinone, but which laser is most appropriate for your skin type should be assessed prior to treatment by a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Why are laser treatments the most effective treatment for acne scars? They produce the most amount of neocollagensis (stimulation of new collagen and elastin, which is required to remodel acne scars). One of the only ways to stimulate collagen is to damage the skin to elicit a wound-healing response. Lasers use light energy to create these small wounds. That said, not all lasers are creating equal or powerful enough to wound the skin appropriately.
Deciding between the Fraxel 1550 and PicoWay Resolve if both are appropriate for your skin type can come down to lifestyle. PicoWay has minimal to no downtime, but does require more sessions. For patients without five days to be red and scaly (which is the result of Fraxel), PicoWay may be the more appropriate choice. For patients with a special event coming up or those wanting results as soon as possible, Fraxel 1550 would be a better option.
When Fraxel 1550 is combined with PRP (platelet rich plasma), downtime can be lessened by one-two days and more collagen can be stimulated. PRP uses the patient’s own blood to stimulate collagen and remodel acne scars. My favorite PRP system is the Eclipse system. It is important to use a blood draw tube that contains the appropriate components needed to activate the platelets in the blood so they release growth factors—signals that tell your body to heal and produce more collagen .
Other modalities that can be used in combination with laser treatments include surgical removal of acne scars, subciscion (breaking up the scar tissue with a needle below the scar), microneedling, and TCA cross (a strong chemical peel solution is placed inside the depressed scar to elicit it to fill in with new tissue). Fillers can also be injected into acne scars, but these are oftentimes temporary and require repeat treatment.
In your experience, what is the best way to remove them? How long does it take?
Depending on the type of scar, different modalities are most appropriate. For the vast majority of scars, I start with a series of laser treatments. Usually a series of four-six Fraxel 1550 or six-twelve PicoWay Resolve, depending on the patient’s skin type and lifestyle. If a few subset of the scars remain after a few laser treatments, TCA cross, punch excision or subciscion can be used in combination with the remaining laser treatments on a case-by-case basis.
Fraxel 1550 requires numbing with topical anesthesia for one-two hours prior to treatment. The numbing cream is removed and the Fraxel 1550 treatment takes 10-15 minutes for a full face. Afterward, your face feels warm and a cooling mask is applied for 15 minutes. One hour after treatment the skin temperature feels back to normal, but remains red in appearance. The next three-five days the skin remains red and begins to scale on day three-four and is starting to get back to normal by day five and can easily be covered with make-up.
For PicoWay Resolve, no numbing is required and the treatment for a full face takes 15 minutes. After the treatment tiny broken capillaries can result, which resolve in one-two days and can easily be covered with make-up. Some patient experience mild itching on day one-two post treatment. The redness after treatment is subtle and looks like a mild allergic reaction in some patients.
What else should people know about these treatments?
Not all lasers are created equal. You need to right temperature, the right speed of firing and the right depth and spacing of the laser beams of energy. Not all providers of treatments are created equal. An expert knows what settings will get you the most bang for your buck without increasing your risk of hyper-pigmentation, scarring, or infection. While medspas may have the same device or claim their device is of similar efficacy, this is not the case. Many years go into understanding and training on laser devices. You will get more for your money with a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who uses a tried and true laser device with appropriate settings.
Microneedling has been very popular recently for acne scars. In my opinion, the result are proving to be temporary as a lot of the improvement is from soft tissue swelling that masks the appearance of the scar for only a short time. Lasers have a longer track record for treating acne scars, particularly the Fraxel, which has proven to historically be the gold standard. PicoWay Resolve is an exciting new technology that is showing excellent results with minimal to no downtime, which in our fast paced, high demand world is really amazing for us busy working professionals.
How can you prevent future acne scarring?
Prior to treating any patient for acne scars, I ensure my patients are investing in a good skin care routine that treats and prevents future acne. Often this includes one of the two best ingredient to treat and prevent new acne from forming: retinoids and benzoyl peroxide. Retinoids combat all components of acne formation – they remove the top layer of dead skin cells which clog the pore. They also reduce oil production, which creates a good environment for the acne-causing bacteria to overgrow. Retinoids also help kill acne-causing bacteria and serve as an anti-inflammatory agent.
Similarly, Benzoyl peroxide works to fight acne by killing the acne-causing bacteria and removing dead skin cells from the pore (keratolytic). In more severe cases of acne where scarring is a significant issues, Isotretinoin is the first line treatment. Isotretinoin permanently shrinks the oil gland taking away the oil production that provides a good environment for the acne causing bacteria to overgrow. Historically, caution was taken not to treat acne scars while patients were on Isotretinoin, given the concern for impaired wound healing, but this has been debunked recently by newer studies. Back then, patients had to wait to treat acne scars for six months after completing their course of Isotretinoin. Much progress has been made.
How To Fade Marks And Scars On Your Legs
Getting scars on your legs is normal. Whether it’s because you used to get minor scrapes and cuts while playing outside as a kid, or you’re just clumsy AF as an adult. The point is, we’ve all been there and done that, but it doesn’t mean you have to live with them forever! If you’re always conscious about them, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process of getting rid of those unsightly marks:
Use a skin brightening soap.
Soaps that contain fruit extracts or enzymes gently peel away dead skin cells to reveal newer, more even-toned skin underneath.
Continue reading below ↓
Silka Whitening Herbal Soap Papaya, P43, Watsons
Exfoliate twice or thrice a week with a loofah.
For a deeper exfoliation, use a loofah on your legs twice or thrice a week together with your soap! But remember to do gentle, circular motions when massaging it over your skin. Being rough with a loofah can lead to redness and irritation.
Moisturize and moisturize!
If you’re always exfoliating your legs, don’t forget to moisturize them, too! Dryness leads scars and marks staying longer. By hydrating the areas, you’re accelerating the repair of the skin’s surface.
Continue reading below ↓
Apollo Sebo De Macho, P22.50/10g, Robinsons Supermarket
Of course, don’t forget to apply sunscreen.
To prevent your scars from getting darker, always apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to protect them. If your sunscreen has the added benefit of brightening your skin, then all the better.
Pixi Sun Mist, P995, SM Beauty
Continue reading below ↓
Don’t scratch or pick at a scar. Ever.
The most important tip to getting rid of leg scars and marks is to avoid touching and picking at them. Just like with pimples, if you’re constantly touching them, they can leave more prominent and darker scars.
Follow Tisha on Instagram.
The 11 Best Ways To Heal Pregnancy Stretch Marks After Giving Birth
Stretch marks after pregnancy are a reality you have to contend with, just like busy schedules and swollen ankles. Rest easy, though, because Mustela is here to help. We’ve assembled the 11 best ways to heal pregnancy stretch marks. With these simple treatments, you can focus more on your new bundle of joy than on your skin care routine.
A Brief Overview Of Pregnancy Stretch Marks
Stretch marks, officially called striae distensae (or striae gravidarum when they occur during pregnancy), are exactly what they sound like—the marks that appear on your skin when it gets stretched.
When your body rapidly grows and expands, your skin is pulled tight over the new mass that’s formed. Stretch marks are the result of your middle layer of skin or the underlying tissue tearing from being stretched so tightly. These tears become visible on the surface of your skin. While they can be unsightly and annoying, stretch marks are not harmful and don’t pose any health risks.
Of course, stretch marks are not exclusive to pregnancies. Rapid weight gain, whether through intensive muscle gain or an excessive increase in body fat, can also lead to stretch marks. Some teenagers get stretch marks if they hit a particularly potent growth spurt.
With that said, we should note that as many as 90 percent of women will develop stretch marks during pregnancy. It’s not entirely clear why some women are lucky enough to go through an entire pregnancy without developing any stretch marks. But there is evidence that shows women whose mother and/or older sisters developed stretch marks are more likely to have the problem themselves, suggesting that genetic factors are at play.
Most often, pregnancy stretch marks begin to appear in the sixth or seventh month, when the baby’s growth really spikes. They normally develop on the mom-to-be’s tummy, thighs, buttocks, hips, and chest.
There are steps you can take to minimize stretch mark formation during your pregnancy, but it’s likely that you’ll need to treat them after your baby is born, as well. If you’ve recently given birth, we’re sure you’re already well aware of this fact.
But don’t worry! There’s hope for smooth, stretch-mark free skin. Follow the 11 easy steps below to heal your pregnancy stretch marks in no time.
Tips For Healing Your Pregnancy Stretch Marks
1) Massage With Oil
Massaging the skin of your hips, belly, and bust is one of the best ways to treat stretch marks after pregnancy. A gentle massage increases blood flow and breaks up the scar tissue that causes stretch marks. We recommend using a healing oil, like Mustela’s Stretch Marks Prevention Oil, to reduce friction during the massage and give your skin the vitamins and minerals it needs to repair itself.
Apply some oil to the palms of your hands and then gently massage your belly. Focus on this area for two minutes, reapplying oil as needed. When the two minutes are up, move to another area with stretch marks and repeat the process.
For extra healing, you can try soaking in a warm bath for ten minutes or taking a warm shower before your massage to soften your skin and open up your pores.
2) Apply A Specialized Cream
Specialized creams, like Mustela’s Stretch Marks Recovery Serum and Body Firming Gel, are the simplest way to treat stretch marks after pregnancy. Their unique formulas—which include natural ingredients like avocado peptides, sunflower seed oil, and beeswax—help heal stretch marks in the deeper layers of your skin while keeping the upper layers soft and supple.
One application in the morning and one application in the evening provides continuous healing for pregnancy stretch marks.
3) Stay Hydrated To Treat Pregnancy Stretch Marks
We’re probably not the first to tell you how important it is to drink plenty of water. It’s cliché, but it’s true! The water you drink provides your skin with the hydration necessary for it to remain healthy.
When skin cells have an ample supply of water, they’re able to function properly and repair themselves more efficiently. This means your skin is better able to recover from pregnancy stretch marks. We suggest drinking at least eight cups of water every day to keep your skin cells healthy and hydrated!
4) Keep Your Skin Moisturized
Moisture is one of the most important components of a healthy skin care routine. It keeps your skin smooth and bright, helps maintain your skin’s protective outer layer, and preserves skin elasticity. As an added bonus, it helps heal stretch marks, too.
Medical professionals recommend choosing your skin care products carefully when you’re still breastfeeding. Some moisturizers contain ingredients that may find their way into your breast milk. The effect of these ingredients on newborns is unknown, so it’s best to avoid using these skin care products altogether.
In particular, avoid Retinoid and products with Retinol, Retinol-A, or some other variant of this compound. Parabens are also unsafe. Always try to choose skin care products made from natural ingredients.
Using a hypoallergenic soothing cream, like Mustela’s Soothing Moisturizing Balm, in the morning and evening is an easy and effective way to ensure your skin is adequately moisturized. The healing cream uses powerful ingredients like ceramides to strengthen stretch-marked skin, alleviate itchiness, and boost elasticity.
5) Exercise To Improve Skin & Muscle Tone
Exercise can be a fun and effective method for repairing stretch marks after pregnancy. Even light exercise, such as walking and yoga, can strengthen the muscles of your hips, thighs, and belly (the areas where stretch marks most often appear). Strengthening those muscles helps to tighten loose, stretch-marked skin and promotes faster healing.
Any exercise will do, so pick one you enjoy. There are so many options to choose from, such as swimming, walking, running, weight training, yoga, and pilates. Depending on your fitness level and the exercise(s) you choose, we suggest starting with one day per week and gradually increasing to two, three, four, or even five days per week.
6) Rejuvenate Skin With Home Remedies
Egg White Peel
Egg whites contain a whole host of beneficial nutrients, such as protein, potassium, riboflavin, and magnesium. These nutrients are great for the health of your skin and can be used to heal pregnancy stretch marks. Here’s how they work:
- Protein maintains skin elasticity, tissue repair, and growth.
- Potassium puts moisture back into your skin and keeps it from evaporating.
- Riboflavin eliminates toxic free radicals in your skin.
- Magnesium delays the aging process and keeps skin looking youthful and radiant.
The easiest way to direct these healing nutrients to stretch-marked skin is to whip up an egg white peel. Here’s how to do it.
- In a small bowl, separate 2 egg whites from their yolks. Note that 2 egg whites are enough for an area about the size of your face. Use more or fewer egg whites depending on the area you need to cover.
- Whisk the egg whites until they’re foamy.
- Wash your face with lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser.
- Apply the whipped egg whites to stretch-marked-skin.
- Let the egg whites dry for 15 minutes.
- Rinse off the egg white peel with warm water.
- Pat skin dry with a soft towel.
Your skin will feel tighter and more radiant, and the nutrients will penetrate deep to heal stubborn stretch marks.
Aloe Vera is widely known for its sunburn healing properties. But it’s not just for sunburns. Aloe vera promotes healing in general and soothes your skin. And we’re not talking about the kind of aloe vera gel you typically find at your local store. We’re talking about fresh gel — the gel from the actual aloe vera plant.
Follow these instructions to treat your stretch marks using aloe vera gel:
- Rub the gel directly over your stretch marks.
- Leave the aloe vera gel on for 15 minutes and then wash it off with lukewarm water.
- Apply twice per day as needed.
Honey is definitely a product you want to have on hand. Did you know that honey has antiseptic properties that are known to reduce the appearance of stretch marks? But for the honey to be effective, it needs to be raw — meaning unfiltered and unprocessed — and organic.
Here are the steps to follow for a honey scrub:
- Apply honey to a small cloth.
- Place the cloth over your stretch marks. Leave it on your targeted area until the honey dries.
- Rinse off the honey using warm water.
Prepare a honey scrub by mixing honey with salt and glycerin (a type of natural compound in the form of a liquid found in animal- and plant-derived fats). Apply the scrub to your stretch marks and leave it on until it dries. Rinse it off using warm water.
Note: You can buy glycerin at your local grocery store.
Sugar…who would have known this product can be used for stretch marks? We’re sure you have it sitting in your pantry as you read this. It’s a great exfoliator for removing dead skin cells and can help lighten your stretch marks.
Here’s how to make and use a sugar scrub:
- Mix one tablespoon of sugar with almond oil (or another carrier oil, such as olive oil) and add a few drops of lemon juice.
- Use this mixture as a scrub before you take a shower.
- Do this every day for a month.
Since you now have some lemon juice on hand after making your sugar scrub, try this home remedy next. Lemons are known for lightening the pigmentation of your skin. As you’ve probably noticed, skin discoloration often accompanies stretch marks.
Lemon juice is naturally acidic, making it a useful agent in healing acne, pimples, and other skin conditions. These acidic properties also help reduce the appearance of stretch marks and speed up the healing process.
Follow these steps to make the most of your lemon juice:
- Rub fresh lemon juice on your stretch marks. (Again, not the lemon juice you’ve bought in a bottle, but preferably the juice from a freshly squeezed lemon).
- Leave it on for about 10 minutes to let your skin absorb the juice.
- Rinse off the lemon juice using warm water.
- Apply every day for optimal results.
After you’ve tried each home remedy, don’t forget to follow up with Mustela’s Stretch Marks Recovery Serum to lock in moisture and help reduce the appearance of recent stretch marks.
7) Ice Stretch Marks To Reduce Inflammation
As you know by now, stretch marks are tiny scars that form as your skin stretches. As they heal, these tiny scars can cause inflammation and swelling, which can make stretch marks look even worse. Rubbing ice on stretch-marked skin can help relieve and reduce this swelling and inflammation.
A reusable ice pack that is stored in the freezer makes it quick and easy to apply cold whenever the opportunity presents itself. If you don’t have an ice pack, try putting some ice cubes in a Ziploc bag.
Wrap the cold pack in a dish towel or pillow case so that the ice doesn’t come directly in contact with your skin. Start with your belly. Hold it on your skin for up to ten minutes, then move to your thigh and hold the cold pack on your skin for another ten minutes. Repeat this process for all areas of your body that have stretch marks.
8) Exfoliate Once Per Week
Your skin does a great job of repairing and rejuvenating all by itself. You can help the process, though, by exfoliating stretch-marked skin once per week. Exfoliating helps remove the top layer of dead skin cells and promotes growth and healing in the deeper layers of skin where stretch marks form.
We suggest a natural product like baking soda or witch hazel. Both products are gentle on your skin, so they won’t cause dryness, irritation, or inflammation. The best time to exfoliate is in the morning after your skin has had time to complete its natural reparative process. Pick one day each week to help heal pregnancy stretch marks by exfoliating the skin on your belly, hips, thighs, and bust.
9) Eat Well
Keeping a healthy diet is a crucial component of your overall well-being. It helps you keep your body slim, your mind sharp, and your skin healthy. This includes repairing any stretch marks caused during pregnancy!
Wondering what changes you need to make to your diet? Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is always a good place to start. Avoid junk food, fried foods, and anything processed. Eat meat and fatty foods in moderation. Keep an eye on your sodium intake.
Finally, cut sugary drinks, like soft drinks and colas, from your diet, and try to replace them with green tea or water. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to healthy eating habits!
Of course, eating well isn’t just good for getting rid of stretch marks. It’s also extremely important when you’re breastfeeding. Try to stick to the healthiest breastfeeding diet possible to make sure your loved one is getting all the nutrients they need.
It can seem difficult to get all of your daily nutrients from your normal diet, so you may be considering taking supplements or a daily vitamin pill. That’s perfectly fine! Just make sure that you choose the right one. You may continue taking your daily prenatal supplements, or you can switch to a postnatal vitamin, which is packed with vitamin D.
If you’re looking for an ordinary daily nutrition supplement, pick one that has 100 percent of your daily recommended values of each vitamin and mineral, but no more than that. Some supplements have, for example, 500 percent of your daily amount of certain nutrients, and you should avoid those if you’re breastfeeding.
Just continue eating lots of fruits and veggies, and you’ll be as healthy as can be! And if you have questions about which supplements are safe to take while you’re breastfeeding, talk to your doctor right away.
10) Relax To Help Your Skin Heal
When you get stressed, your body releases hormones that can interfere with your skin’s natural healing and regulation process. This slows the healing process of your stretch marks after pregnancy.
You can avoid these issues by taking some time each day to relax and unwind. This helps to reduce the hormones that could prevent your stretch marks from healing. Your method of relaxing could be as simple as listening to your favorite music or reading a book.
Meditation is also a great way to relax after a hard day. Find a comfortable position, take deep breaths, and let your thoughts go. A guided yoga class can be an easy way to combine relaxation and exercise to help heal stretch marks after pregnancy.
11) Give It Time!
We know how eager new moms can be to get rid of their pregnancy stretch marks after giving birth. Unfortunately, it takes some time! Stretch marks don’t simply go away—your skin slowly repairs the tears that your pregnancy caused and, over time, the marks begin to fade. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it will happen!
Reduce Pregnancy Stretch Marks And Restore Smooth Skin
So just relax and stick with all of the treatment options we’ve described here. The tips above are not magical cures, but they are effective, and you will see results soon enough.
And if you’d like to get as close to a magical cure as possible, skin care products such as Mustela’s Bust Firming Serum, Stretch Marks Prevention Oil, or Soothing Moisturizing Balm are the quickest and most effective way to repair, rejuvenate, and restore your skin. Choose any of Mustela’s products and you’ll be on your way to smooth skin in no time!
Proper wound care: How to minimize a scar
Whenever your skin is injured – whether by accident or from surgery – your body works to repair the wound. As your skin heals, a scar may form, as this is a natural part of the healing process.
Here are dermatologists’ tips for reducing the appearance of scars caused by injuries such as skinned knees or deep scratches.
Whenever your skin is injured—whether by accident or from surgery—your body works to repair the wound. As your skin heals, a scar may form, as this is a natural part of the healing process.
The appearance of a scar often depends on how well the wound heals. While scars from surgery or over joints like the knees and elbows are hard to avoid, scars caused by minor cuts and scrapes can become less noticeable by properly treating the wound at home.
Here are dermatologists’ tips for reducing the appearance of scars caused by injuries such as skinned knees or deep scratches:
Always keep your cut, scrape or other skin injury clean. Gently wash the area with mild soap and water to keep out germs and remove debris.
To help the injured skin heal, use petroleum jelly to keep the wound moist. Petroleum jelly prevents the wound from drying out and forming a scab; wounds with scabs take longer to heal. This will also help prevent a scar from getting too large, deep or itchy. As long as the wound is cleaned daily, it is not necessary to use anti-bacterial ointments.
After cleaning the wound and applying petroleum jelly or a similar ointment, cover the skin with an adhesive bandage. For large scrapes, sores, burns or persistent redness, it may be helpful to use hydrogel or silicone gel sheets.
Change your bandage daily to keep the wound clean while it heals. If you have skin that is sensitive to adhesives, try a non-adhesive gauze pad with paper tape. If using silicone gel or hydrogel sheets, follow the instructions on the package for changing the sheets.
If your injury requires stitches, follow your doctor’s advice on how to care for the wound and when to get the stitches removed. This may help minimize the appearance of a scar.
Apply sunscreen to the wound after it has healed. Sun protection may help reduce red or brown discoloration and help the scar fade faster. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply frequently.
If you have minor cuts or scrapes, you can help reduce the appearance of a scar by properly treating the injury at home. However, if your injury is deep, very painful or if your skin becomes infected, seek immediate medical care.
A burn can turn into a serious injury without proper treatment.
Although no scar can be completely eliminated, most scars fade over time. If you’re worried about the appearance of a scar, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can answer your questions and talk about ways to make your scar less visible.
Related AAD resources
Scars: Signs, symptoms, and treatment
How to treat a first-degree, minor burn
How to treat minor cuts
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Holly loved nothing more than riding her bike. But one day, she missed a curb and hit the pavement — splat! Now her knee was scraped and her elbow was cut. Her brother Darren helped Holly up and used his T-shirt to dab at the blood on her elbow. “Wow,” he said, “You’re probably going to have a huge scar.”
What Exactly Is a Scar?
A scar is the pale pink, brown, or silvery patch of skin that grows in the place where you once had a cut, scrape, or sore. A scar is your skin’s way of repairing itself from injury.
Look at your skin. You probably have one or two scars already. Most people do. Why? Because a lot of things leave behind scars — from falls, like the one Holly had, to surgeries.
Scars are part of life and they show what you’ve been through. For some people, scars are special. A kid in your class might have a scar on his chest because he had heart surgery as a baby. Or you might have a scar like Holly’s, from a fall.
Centuries ago, warriors showed off their scars as symbols of their bravery and to impress their friends with the exciting tales about how each one happened. Do any of your scars have a story?
How Do I Get a Scar?
No matter what caused your scar, here’s how your skin repaired the open wound. The skin made a bunch of collagen (say: KAHL-uh-jen) — tough, white protein fibers that act like bridges — to reconnect the broken tissue. As the body did its healing work, a dry, temporary crust formed over the wound. This crust is called a scab.
The scab’s job is to protect the wound as the damaged skin heals underneath. Eventually, a scab dries up and falls off on its own, leaving behind the repaired skin and, often, a scar. A scar isn’t always a sure thing, though.
How Do I Prevent a Scar?
Of course, the best way to prevent scars is to prevent wounds! You can reduce your chances of getting hurt by wearing kneepads, helmets, and other protective gear when you play sports, ride your bike, or go in-line skating.
But even with protective gear, a person can still get hurt once in a while. If this happens, you can take steps to prevent or reduce scarring. You can help your skin heal itself by treating it well during the healing process.
How do you do that? Keep the wound covered as it heals so you can keep out bacteria and germs. Avoid picking at the scab because it tears at the collagen and could introduce germs into the wound. Some doctors say vitamin C (found in oranges and other citrus fruits) helps by speeding up the creation of new skin cells and the shedding of old ones.
Also, some people believe rubbing vitamin E on the wound after the scab begins forming can aid the healing process. Your parent can talk to your doctor about whether you should try this.
So Long, Scars!
Some scars fade over time. If yours doesn’t and it bothers you, there are treatments that can make a scar less noticeable, such as skin-smoothing medicated creams, waterproof makeup, or even minor surgery. Talk to your parent and doctor to find out if any of these treatments would be right for you.
Sometimes the best medicine might just be to talk. Tell your parent or doctor what’s bothering you about your scar and how you feel on the inside. Because when the inside feels good, the outside always seems to look better!
Reviewed by: Rupal Christine Gupta, MD Date reviewed: February 2015
What is a scar?
A scar is the body’s natural way of healing and replacing lost or damaged skin. A scar is usually composed of fibrous tissue. Scars may be formed for many different reasons, including as a result of infections, surgery, injuries, or inflammation of tissue. Scars may appear anywhere on the body, and the composition of a scar may vary. A scar may appear flat, lumpy, sunken, or colored. It may be painful or itchy. The final look of a scar depends on many factors, including the skin type and location on the body, the direction of the wound, the type of injury, age of the person with the scar, and his or her nutritional status.
How can a scar be minimized?
Specific dermatological procedures to minimize scars will be determined by your healthcare provider based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Severity and symptoms of the scar
Type and location of the scar
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the condition
Your opinion or preference
Scars usually fade over time. Makeup can help cover the scar while it is healing. Some scars can be minimized by certain dermatological techniques. However, treatment can only improve the appearance of a scar; it cannot completely erase it.
The following are some of the more common scar-minimizing procedures:
Dermabrasion. Dermabrasion may be used to minimize small scars, minor skin surface irregularities, surgical scars, and acne scars. As the name implies, dermabrasion involves removing the top layers of skin with an electrical machine that abrades the skin. As the skin heals from the procedure, the surface appears smoother and fresher.
Chemical peels. Chemical peels are often used to minimize sun-damaged skin, irregular color (pigment), and superficial scars. The top layer of skin is removed with a chemical application to the skin. By removing the top layer, the skin regenerates, often improving the skin’s appearance.
Collagen injections. One type of collagen (made from purified cow collagen) is injected beneath the skin. It replaces the body’s natural collagen that has been lost. Injectable collagen is generally used to treat wrinkles, scars, and facial lines. There are several other types of injectable materials that can be used also.
Cortisone injections. These types of injections can help soften and then shrink hard scars. Keloids and hypertrophic scars often soften after intralesional steroid injections.
Cryosurgery. Cryosurgery can help reduce the size of scars by freezing the top skin layers. The freezing causes the skin to blister.
Laser resurfacing. Laser resurfacing uses high-energy light to burn away damaged skin. Laser resurfacing may be used to minimize wrinkles and refine hypertrophic scars.
Punch grafts. Punch grafts are small skin grafts to replace scarred skin. A hole is punched in the skin to remove the scar. Then the scar is replaced with unscarred skin (often from the back of the earlobe). Punch grafts can help treat deep acne scars.
Surgical scar revision. Surgical scar revision involves removing the entire scar surgically and rejoining the skin. A new scar will form. But the goal of this surgery is to create a less obvious scar. Surgical scar revision is usually done on wide or long scars, scars that healed in an unusual way, or scars in very visible places.
Radiation therapy. This is not used often. It’s used mainly for scars resistant to other treatments.
What are the different types of scars and treatment?
Abnormal scars sometimes form after a wound has healed. There are many different types of scars, including:
These are thick, rounded, irregular clusters of scar tissue that grow at the site of a wound on the skin, but beyond the edges of the borders of the wound. They often appear red or darker in color, as compared to the surrounding normal skin. Keloids are formed from collagen that the body produces after a wound has healed. These scars may appear anywhere on the body. But they are more common on the chest, back, shoulders, and earlobes. They occur more often in darker-skinned people. Keloid scars may occur up to 1 year after the original trauma to the skin.
Treatment for keloid scars varies. There is no one simple cure for keloid scars. Recurrence after treatment is common. Treatment may include the following:
Steroid injections. Steroids are injected directly into the scar tissue to help decrease the itching, redness, and burning sensations that these scars may produce. Sometimes, the injections help to decrease the size of the scar and soften the scar tissue. Atrophy and skin discoloration are the main side effects.
Cryotherapy. Cryotherapy involves the scar being frozen off.
Pressure therapy. Pressure therapy involves a type of pressure appliance worn over the area of the scar. These may be worn day and night for up to 4 to 6 months. Their usefulness remains unclear.
Silicone dioxide. Applied in the form of a gel or pad, this can help soften and decrease the redness of keloids.
Surgery. If the keloid scar is not responsive to nonsurgical management options, surgery may be performed. One type of surgery directly removes the scar formation with an incision, and stitches are placed to help close the wound. Sometimes, skin grafts are used to help close the wound. This involves replacing or attaching skin to an area that is missing skin. Skin grafts are performed by taking a piece of healthy skin from another area of the body (called the donor site) and attaching it to the needed area. Surgery is not performed often on hypertrophic scars and keloids due to the high rate of recurrence or creation of even larger keloids.
Laser surgery. Scars may be treated with a variety of different lasers, depending on the underlying cause of the scar. Lasers may be used to smooth a scar, remove the abnormal color of a scar, or flatten a scar. Most laser therapy for scars is done in conjunction with other treatments, including injections of steroids, use of special dressings, and the use of bandages. Multiple treatments may be required, regardless of the initial type of therapy. Pulse dye laser is a good choice to use for keloids.
Radiation. This can be used for scars that don’t respond to other treatments.
Hypertrophic scars are similar to keloid scars. But their growth is confined within the boundaries of the original skin defect and may be more responsive to treatment. These scars may also look red, and are usually thick and raised. Hypertrophic scars usually start to develop within weeks after the injury to the skin. Hypertrophic scars may improve naturally. But this process may take up to a year or more.
In treating hypertrophic scars, steroids may be the first line of therapy. But there is not 1 simple cure. Steroids may be given as an injection. Or they may be directly applied to the scar, although topical application may not be useful. These scars may also be removed surgically. Often, steroid injections are used along with the surgery. The injections may continue up to 2 years after the surgery to help maximize healing and decrease the chance of the scar returning. Like keloids, hypertrophic scars may respond to topical silicone dioxide application.
Contractures are an abnormal occurrence that happens when a large area of skin is damaged and lost, resulting in a scar. The scar formation pulls the edges of the skin together, causing a tight area of skin. The decrease in the size of the skin can then affect the muscles, joints, and tendons, causing a decrease in movement.
There are many different surgical treatment options for contractures, including the following:
Skin graft or skin flap. Skin grafts or skin flaps are done after the scar tissue is removed. Skin grafts involve replacing or attaching skin to a part of the body that is missing skin. Skin grafts are done by taking a piece of healthy skin from another area of the body (called the donor site) and attaching it to the needed area. Skin flaps are similar to skin grafts, where a part of the skin is taken from another area. But with the skin flaps, the skin that is taken has its own blood supply. The section of skin used includes the underlying blood vessels, fat, and muscles. Flaps may be used when the area that is missing the skin does not have a good supply of blood. That may be because of the location or because of damage to the vessels.
Z-plasty. This procedure uses a Z-shaped incision to help decrease the amount of contractures of the surrounding skin. It also may try to relocate the scar so that its edges look more like the normal lines and creases of the skin. Small stitches may be used to help hold the skin in place.
Tissue expansion. This is a newer technique. It involves a process that increases the amount of existing tissue available for reconstructive purposes. This procedure is often used in addition to the flap surgery.
This is another type of scarring that may form between unconnected internal organs. Adhesions may cause complications during certain surgeries.
Recovery from scar revision surgery
Follow all instructions to help maximize your recovery and healing. Your healthcare provider will advise you on all activity restrictions, depending on the type of surgery that was done. Scars can’t be removed completely. Many factors will be involved in the degree of healing of your particular scar. Some scars take more than a year after surgery to show improvement in how they look.