If you’re unhappy about the appearance of a scar, you don’t just have to tolerate it. There are treatments that can reduce the size or discoloration of a scar, depending on its type, location, and age.
As both an otolaryngologist and reconstructive facial plastic surgeon, Alexis Furze, MD, whose practice is in Newport Beach, California, is an expert in treating scars. In this blog, he explains some of the types of scars and how they can be treated.
Types of scars
When you get a cut, your body rushes to form a scab to close the wound. Then your body begins to form new tissue underneath it. In general, your body’s central focus is on functionality, not cosmetics. Because of this, small wounds may not leave much evidence behind, but larger cuts can show the telltale signs of an injury for years to come.
When you see a scar, much of what you're seeing is collagen. Collagen is a primary building block of your skin, and when you get a cut, it helps fill in areas that have been injured. How a scar looks depends on its type and the characteristics of your skin. Some of the more common types of scars include:
While a flat scar may be raised during the healing stage, it will eventually level out and stay even with the surface of the skin. Furthermore, it may end up lighter or darker than the surrounding skin.
A raised scar stays higher than the surrounding skin.
A keloid scar is a raised scar that spreads beyond the original site of the injury.
These scars are sunken, and they most commonly result from conditions like acne or chickenpox.
These scars cause the skin to tighten or contract, and they may interfere with movement. These kinds of scars commonly result from burns.
Stretch marks are also a type of scar tissue. Furthermore, you can develop scars internally called adhesions.
Home treatments for scars
There are both home remedies and medical treatments that can help eliminate or reduce the appearance of scars. Home techniques, such as the following ones, tend to work best if they’re used while the wound is still healing.
Using the light-green gel from the aloe vera plant can help prevent scars from developing during healing. A review of clinical trials showed that aloe vera helped to keep skin moisturized during the recovery process. It may also provide anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antiviral support.
Apple cider vinegar
Succinic acid, a component of apple cider vinegar, can control acne inflammation. This, in turn, may help prevent the development of acne scars, though much depends on the severity of the acne condition.
Rosehip oil has been found to help fight inflammation, promote healing, and reduce the formation of scar tissue.
Medical treatments for scars
Older scars tend to need more aggressive intervention. Dr. Furze often uses Biocorneum® gel or revision techniques to treat these types of scars.
Biocorneum is a medical-grade silicone gel, and it works like the silicone sheets that are used to treat burns in hospitals. Instead of a sheet, however, Biocorneum is a gel that’s applied to your skin, and it dries quickly. You apply it twice a day for 60 or 90 days, and it can help reduce the appearance of the scar. This gel works on both new and old scars. Read more about Biocorneum here.
Dr. Furze can also perform in-office revision procedures to alter the appearance of a scar. The specific revision technique will depend on the type of scar, its age, and its severity.
If you’re concerned about a scar, Dr. Furze can help you. He can examine your scar and explain your treatment options. To learn more, call 949-389-6673 to book an appointment with the practice of Alexis Furze, MD, today.