Scar Treatment

Scar Care 101: How To Care Of Your Scars

Date Reviewed 15.09.2021
5 min read

A scar changes a little every day – the sooner you start tackling it, the more effective the care process. The answer to how to reduce the visibility of scars starts at understanding why our bodies create them in the first place. Scars are a common result of how our skin heals after an injury, mild burn, wound or acne.

 

In this article, we’ll ask:

  • What are scars and what causes them?
  • What are the types of scars?
  • How can you care for a scar?
  • How can you prevent scars?

What are scars and what causes them?

A scar is the body’s natural way of healing and replacing lost or damaged skin following an injury. Its appearance shows that a wound has healed, and it will often fade as you grow older.

Human skin is composed of 3 main layers:

  • The outermost called the epidermis
  • Mid layer called the dermis
  • The innermost layer named hypodermis or subcutis[1]

In case of a skin injury, a scar will form as the natural consequence of the healing process and wound closure.

The layers of the skin: epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue
The layers of the skin: epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue

The closure of wounds on the skin follows 3 steps:

  • Inflammation
  • Proliferation
  • Remodelling

Scar formation occurs during the remodelling phase that takes place after about 2 to 3 weeks, when the wound is completely closed. During this remodelling process, collagen fibres are recruited to the site of the injury, forming a scar that will feel and look different than the surrounding tissue.

Collagen is usually good for your skin, but the excessive amount of disorganised collagen, in addition to the lack of elastic fibres, is the reason for scar formation[1]. Products such as the Mederma® scar care range locks in moisture to hydrate and regenerate skin cells, reduce redness, and help reduce excess collagen.


Skin conditions that seem minor, such as acne, may injure your dermis and cause scarring too.

What are the types of scars?

There are 5 different types of scars that can develop on your skin: normal, keloid, hypertrophic, atrophic and contracture scars. They all differ in their size, shape and the kinds of areas they affect.

Normal scars

Normal scars occur when your wound heals under normal circumstances. They are flat, pale and will gradually fade over time.

Keloid scars

Keloid scars are raised and larger than usual due to excessive collagen production on the site of the wound. They may also extend beyond the site of injury. The causes are not fully understood but genetics may be involved, and they are more common in darker skin types[2]. They can be itchy and painful.

Hypertrophic scars

Hypertrophic scars are also caused by an excessive production of collagen. But compared to keloids, hypertrophic scars contain less collagen. They are raised scars, and potentially itchy and painful. Unlike keloids, they stay within the boundaries of the injury.

Atrophic scars

Atrophics are depressed scars and typical consequences of severe acne. They occur when too little collagen is produced and have a sunken appearance, resulting from the loss of supporting tissue[3,4].

Contracture scars

Contracture scars result from hypertrophic scars over joints. They tend to develop because of the immobilisation of the joint during wound healing, and are particularly disabling and painful due to the limited joint mobility[5].

 

How can you care for a scar?

A range of scar care products and solutions exist to potentially improve the appearance of scars and make them fade away. Depending on the size and depth of your scar, some options might be more effective than others. However, once formed, it’s hard to get rid of scars completely.

Topical scar care products

Many topical scar care products are available, especially for light scars. They include easy-to-access, over-the-counter creams and solutions containing ingredients such as:

  • Silicone that has been shown to be effective in hypertrophic scar prevention[3].
  • Allantoin, also known to improve scar appearance[6].
  • Dimethicone, a skin protectant commonly found in moisturiser – especially in acne products[7].

Topical products may also include natural extracts to improve appearance or cosmetic effects. They include:

  • Onion extract
  • Green tea
  • Aloe vera

Topical products have shown some effectiveness in improving the appearance and feel of scars[8], but the sooner you start applying them, the more effective they are. The course of these products spans several months and may require patience and perseverance to pay off.

 

Mederma® Intense Scar Gel

  • Clinically shown to visibly reduce the appearance of scars
  • Unique triple-benefit formula designed to penetrate beneath the skin surface
  • Use just once a day

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More intensive options

For larger or more visible scars, you may need a more intensive approach that can only be done by a healthcare professional. These are more invasive and include:

  • Dermabrasion
  • Laser treatment
  • Micro needling
  • Cryotherapy
  • Filler therapy

They are not at-home options and require an expert opinion. Before starting any, always choose your dermatologist carefully.

How can you prevent scars?

You can prevent scars by taking steps to avoid injuries and other damage to your skin. When an injury does occur, taking good care of the skin helps a lot in preventing scar formation, so it is important to always keep the wound moist and clean[9]. For acne pimples, refrain from squeezing, popping or picking them.

In case of a cut, if the wound is deep or serious, see your doctor immediately as you may require stitches for your injury to heal properly.

Once the wound has healed, keeping your scar moisturised is important. It is also vital to keep the scar protected from the sun after healing, to avoid additional damage due to UVA and B[9].

Summary

Ultimately, skin injuries are nearly inevitable. But taking good care of them from the start can help reduce scar formation. A range of topical products are available from pharmacies, while more intensive methods could also be an option.

Mederma® has a range of scar care products that can visibly reduce scar appearance from just 14 days* (reported by consumers of ISG and PM products).

References

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