A scar forms as the body’s normal way of healing and replacing damaged skin. Most of the time, it is composed of fibrous tissue. It may be formed for a lot of reasons, such as due to injuries, surgery, infections, or inflammation of the tissue. Scars may also appear anywhere on the body, and their composition may vary. They may also appear flat, sunken, colored, or lumpy, and some might even be painful or itchy. The final appearance of a scar may also depend on various factors, such as the type of skin, its location on the body, the direction of the wound, the type of injury, and more.
All kinds of scars are definitely unwanted, but our bodies can be littered with scars from our early years of childhood through the rest of our lives. Fortunately, over the past few decades, a lot of treatments have emerged that may help with reducing scars. If you are curious about these, you’re in the right place. In this post, we are giving you some of the best tips for reducing scarring.
Why Do Scars Form?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, scars form on our bodies as a natural part of wound repair during the healing process. If you acquire a wound due to an injury, surgery, or other reasons, your body sends collagen fibers to mend any damage. When the wound is healed completely, the scar will appear. Scars are often either lighter or darker compared to the skin surrounding them. Many are also sunken in due to the cell tissue damage surrounding the skin injury.
If a wound is unable to heal after a long time, or if it ever becomes re-injured while healing, the scar will possibly show on the skin for a long time. A lot of people want to know how to heal their scars fast. However, you need to remember that the healing process depends on various factors, such as your health, skin type, age, and degree of injury.
There are lots of natural remedies that you can use. However, it is not always possible to remove a scar completely. This can even be challenging for some doctors and surgeons. But there are ways that you can try in order to reduce or lighten them, which we will further discuss as we move on in this article.
The Different Types of Scars
There are scars that are flat and painless, while others are raised and itchy. There are various types of scars that can develop as a result of different injuries, infections, or surgical procedures. You may be curious about the type of scar you have if you have one on any part of your body. They are not as straightforward as you may think. To help you learn more, below are the different types of scars:
A contracture scar occurs after a burn. It causes the skin to tighten, and worse cases can restrict movement since the skin and underlying tissue pull together during the healing process. This type of scar can impact the muscles, tendons, and joints and can ultimately result in a decrease in movement.
Depending on where the scar is, the lack of movement can be quite frustrating. Luckily, there are different ways to go about treating a contracture scar. One of the common treatment options is a skin graft. It entails using an area of the body that lacks skin to replace the skin. This implies that healthy skin will be removed from an unaffected area of the body and attached to the injured area. Aside from that, tissue expansion is another option, wherein the amount of existing tissue will be increased to reconstruct the scarred area.
Depressed (Atrophic) Scars
Depressed or atrophic scars are those that are caused by acne or chickenpox. These scars form when the skin can’t regenerate tissue, making it appear as a small indentation in the skin. Depressed scars are commonly seen on the face and can become noticeable with time as the skin loses collagen when people age.
Since this type of scar occurs mainly on the face, it can cause a lot of insecurities. Luckily, there are many ways to treat depressed scars, both at home and professionally. You can undergo chemical peeling, filling, or skin needling at a dermatologist’s office. But you can also use over-the-counter products to reduce the appearance of depressed scars.
Flat scars usually start off raised and then flatten over time. Most flat scars are pink or red in color, depending on the type of skin and skin tone. They may also appear a bit darker or lighter compared to the surrounding skin. These scars lighten or fade on their own. But there are also other ways that you can do to minimize their appearance, especially if you are insecure about them. You can opt for injections, surgery, or silicone sheets, which are all effective.
Keloids are scars that are raised, forming above the surface of the skin. They are thick, misshapen clumps of tissue that develop on the site of a wound but may also expand past the wound. The overgrowth of these scars may become uncomfortable and may also affect movement. Keloids are usually red or dark in color, but it also varies depending on your skin tone.
A keloid can develop wherever the skin is damaged. This means that it can occur after a cut, surgery, a piercing, and more. It is a skin wound that heals too quickly, resulting in a scar that extends beyond the location of the wound. It can form up to a year after the wound occurs.
This type of scar can form anywhere on the body, but they are commonly seen on the shoulders, chest, back, and earlobes. This is due to the fact that there are fewer fatty areas, making the skin more susceptible to the formation of keloids. Also, people with darker skin tones are more likely to develop keloids.
There are various ways to treat keloid scars, but recurrence is also common after treatment. You can opt for steroid injections to reduce the itchiness and redness of keloid scars. There is also cryotherapy, which involves freezing the scar off the body. Other options include surgery, pressure therapy, and radiation, which can also help minimize the appearance of keloids.
Raised (Hypertrophic) Scars
Raised scars or also known as hypertrophic scars, are quite similar to keloid scars. They form when the wound site experiences an excessive quantity of collagen growth. However, unlike keloids, raised scars do not grow beyond the border of the wound. But they can become thicker and more noticeable over time.
Most of the time, raised scars occur after cosmetic surgery. Wherever an incision is made, some sort of scar will be left. They typically show up on the shoulders, upper arms, chest, and back because of the tight skin in those locations. It takes weeks for this type of scar to develop after the wound occurs. It is also possible for it to go away on its own, but it may take over a year. Therefore, finding an effective treatment option is also a good idea for raised scars.
One of the common ways to treat raised scars is through the use of steroids, which can involve direct application or injection. You can also choose to get laser therapy, which targets blood vessels in the scar to prevent growth. Surgery is also an option to cut out the scar, but it is usually a last resort option.
Stretch marks develop when the skin expands or shrinks at a quick rate. They cause connective tissues under the skin to become damaged, resulting in a scar. They are common during puberty and pregnancy. In addition, stretch marks can also be developed when a person gains or loses a lot of weight.
These marks can occur anywhere on the body, but they are common on the arms, breasts, and stomach. They appear as lines across the body and can be pink, brown, red, or other colors, depending on your skin tone. Stretch marks begin as dark and noticeable, but they slowly fade over time.
There are some ways to treat stretch marks. You can apply over-the-counter ointments to help fade the color of the marks. There are also prescription medicines and ointments for them that you can use. Dermatologists may also perform procedures to lighten or reduce their appearances, such as laser therapy and chemical peels.
Best Tips to Reduce Scarring
While scars can’t be avoided, especially after an injury or surgical procedure, there are ways in which you can reduce them or prevent them from worsening. If you’d like to learn more about this, below are some of the best tips that we can give on how to reduce scarring:
Keep Cuts and Scrapes Clean and Covered
If you experience minor injuries like cuts and scrapes, it is very important to always keep the wound clean and protected. Apply some antibacterial cream or ointment and cover the area with a bandage to speed up the healing process. Debris, bacteria, and other impurities in open skin can trigger infection and make the wound become more inflamed. This may result in an enhanced scar formation. Therefore, it is essential to always clean the wound carefully.
Do Not Scratch or Pick Scabs
When wounds are healing, they really tend to itch. However, avoid the temptation of scratching your wound or picking at the scab. Doing these may cause more inflammation, which can make a scar more likely.
Seek Help for Serious Skin Injuries
When you acquire a skin injury, it is better to seek help, especially when it is a deep puncture wound or if there is continued bleeding. In addition to that, other skin injuries that need help from doctors include animal bites, burns, and wounds with extreme pain and fever. All of these may lead to a dangerous infection that can quickly spread. Medical professionals may also provide you some advice on how to lessen scarring while treating these conditions.
How to Minimize Scars at Home
If you have scars on your skin and wondering if there are things that you can do to minimize or reduce them, we can also help you. Below are some of the best tips on how you can minimize scars:
Use Creams, Gels, and Ointments for Scars
One of the ways to minimize the scars on your skin is by using products that you can apply topically on your skin. These products come in cream, gel, or ointment formulations. Some of them can be bought over the counter, while others are prescribed by dermatologists. However, when using these products, you need to be patient as they do not work immediately. You also need to be consistent in applying them to your skin to get the best results. While they may not remove your scars completely, the most effective products can help lighten them and make them less visible on your skin.
Use Silicone Scar Sheets
In addition to creams, gels, and ointments, you also have the option to use a silicone scar sheet. These are adhesive silicone strips that are made with a specific type of silicone that makes the material durable, breathable, and flexible. Silicone scar sheets are great for burn scars, including hypertrophic, keloid, and contracture scars, as well as wound scars from cuts and gushes. These sheets can flatten, shrink, and restore the skin color in scars. However, they do not work in treating indented scars like those caused by acne.
Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are known to have a lot of benefits, such as reducing stress and anxiety. However, in addition to providing people with relaxation, essential oils can also be used to reduce the visible appearance of scars to make them less noticeable. There are many essential oils that can heal and reduce scars due to their antibacterial effect.
However, remember that most essential oils are very concentrated. This means that they need to be mixed with good carrier oil to make them safe on the skin. Some of the best essential oils that you can use on your skin include lavender, tea tree, helichrysum, hyssop, carrot seed, frankincense, cedarwood, rosemary, sandalwood, and chamomile. They can be diluted in carrier oils like sweet almond oil, castor oil, vitamin E oil, and rosehip oil.
You can apply the essential oil mixed with carrier oil to the wound and surrounding areas for about a month. Keep in mind that a little goes a long way, and you do not need to use excessive amounts. Applying them twice daily is a good idea if you want to speed up the natural healing process.
How Dermatologists Can Help Reduce Scarring
General ways to reduce the appearance of scarring include keeping the scar moist and covering it with cream, gel, or sheets. However, there are times when the development of scar is unavoidable and may need treatment by a dermatologist. But what can they do to reduce scarring? If you are curious, below are some of the treatments offered by dermatologists to treat your scars:
This is an exfoliating process that can reduce the appearance of scars. A wire brush or diamond wheel is used to remove the top layer of the skin over the scar. Many people who have undergone this process claim to see a 50% improvement in their scar after dermabrasion. However, note that dermabrasion is not a good choice for those who have sensitive skin or autoimmune disorders.
Cryotherapy is a good treatment option for those who have hypertrophic and keloid scars. During this treatment method, a doctor will use a needle to freeze the scar with nitrogen vapor. This makes it easier for them to remove the scar.
If you have acne scars, a chemical peel is a good option. It involves removing the outer layer of the scar. This way, it will be replaced with smoother and more natural skin. However, it may take up to two weeks to heal from a chemical peel.
Laser therapy or treatment uses concentrated beams of light to remove the outer layer of the skin. This method is unable to completely remove a scar, but it can improve its appearance. When you undergo laser therapy, it may take around 3 to 10 days to heal.
Intralesional Steroid Injection
This type of treatment involves injecting a corticosteroid into the scar to improve its appearance. It is a good choice for keloid and hypertrophic scars. It can also be repeated over several months until the scar is barely visible.
Scars can be really annoying and may also cause insecurity for a lot of people. However, they form after an injury or surgery as part of the body’s natural healing process. You should also keep in mind that scars never disappear completely, but they can fade over time. Therefore, when you acquire a wound, you can give it the best chance of healing without a scar by treating it immediately with first aid. In case you have a deep wound that may require stitches, ensure that you see a doctor as soon as possible. We hope this post helped you learn more about how to reduce scarring.
 Johns Hopkins Medicine, E. (2022). Scars. Scars | Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/scars
 Neodyne. (2022, February 22). 6 scar types, causes, treatment options: Embrace®. 6 Scar Types, Causes, Treatment Options | embrace®. Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://www.embracescartherapy.com/blog/types-of-scars
 Hultman, S. (2021, December 29). Everyday cuts and scrapes: How to prevent scarring. Everyday Cuts and Scrapes: How to Prevent Scarring | Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/everyday-cuts-and-scrapes-how-to-prevent-scarring
 Yetman, D. (2020, May 17). How to prevent scarring following cuts and other injuries. Healthline. Retrieved December 12, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-prevent-scarring#minimizing-existing-scars