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A scar forms when the thicker, inner layer of skin, the dermis, receives damage. To heal the damage of a wound, whether from an accident, burn, injury, surgery or other cause, the body forms new collagen fibers. This new tissue has a different texture than the surrounding area. As the body attempts to close a wound rapidly to prevent infection, a scar often develops.
Scars can vary in color and textures, although most are flat and pale. Raised scars are often referred to as hypertrophic or keloid scars. Other scars are pitted or sunken, such as those caused by acne.
Many factors influence scarring, include the degree and location of the injury. A person’s age, sex, genetics and ethnicity also affect scarring. Several methods are available to reduce scarring. Many topical over-the-counter products, such as gels, creams and ointments are available. Other products are taken by mouth because the nutrients are helpful when trying to reduce scarring.
These skin care products often contain vitamin E or cocoa butter cream. Other products that help to minimize scarring include vitamins A or C, zinc, honey, and aloe vera. Many oils, including lavender, evening primrose and rose hip are also effective. Some prescription topical treatments include corticosteroids or antihistamine components. One of the newest forms of treatment to minimize scarring involves patches which are applied to the scar area.
A series of steroid injections are sometimes used to reduce scars, particularly flattened ones. Dermabrasion, or surgical skin planning, is also successful in reducing scarring, especially raised scars. Laser resurfacing is similar to dermabrasion. This procedure is often preferable to dermabrasion to minimize scarring because it does not remove the upper layers of the skin, so there is little or no healing time.
Even though surgery causes scarring, it can also be used to alter a scar’s appearance. In the case of burn patients, a skin graft is often required. This procedure requires the surgeon to remove skin from another area of your body.
For keloid scars, collagen or fat injections can smooth out the appearance of a sunken scar. However, the results are temporary. In the case of severe, recurring keloid or hypertrophic scars, a patient may receive low-dose, superficial radiotherapy. Due to potential long-term side effects, however, this treatment is used only in extreme cases.
Cryotherapy, a freezing therapy that involves liquid nitrogen, may also be used to reduce scarring in the case of smaller keloids. Some studies indicate that medications used for other purposes, such as a cancer drug, might also have an effect on reducing scarring.
Vitamin E and A are worthless for scar treatment unfortunately.
I've tried vitamin A, vitamin E, and cocoa butter and in my experience, nothing seems to work and I've just had to learn to live with my scars.
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