Scars are a natural part of the body's healing process. Most wounds, except for very minor ones, result in some degree of scarring. Although scarring is often the end result of the wound healing process, our goal at The Summit is to help our clients minimize or prevent scarring before it challenges self confidence.
Whether from every day cuts and scraps to acne scarring, stretch marks, surgical incisions or trauma, understanding your skins healing goes a long way to preventing and minimizing scars.
How Scars Form
Scars form when the dermis (deep, thick layer of skin) is damaged. Superficial damages to the top layers of skin (the epidermis) do not create scars. When you get a cut, scrape or burn, your body immediately responds with a series of steps to heal itself:
The first stage is for the body to prevent blood loss by causing the the blood to clot or bind together and seal the wound. This will form a scab.
Next comes inflammation. White blood cells arrive at the area to fight off bacteria. You may notice redness, swelling, heat and pain. This is a natural part of the healing process and resolves on its own unless infection takes over. Assisting the skin at this phase with anti bacterial and anti inflammatory treatments is important as increased inflammation can mean a greater chance of scarring.
The next step is when new cells, particularly collagen are created. The edges of the scab shrinks toward the middle as new skin appears. The new skin will have a different texture and quality than the surrounding skin.
Finally, the wound is healed, and there may be a scar in its place.
Types of Scars
There are different kinds of scars. Most scars are flat and pale. However, in cases when the body produces too much collagen, scars can be raised. Raised scars are called hypertrophic scars or keloid scars. Hypertrophic scars usually flatten over time while keloid scars do not and can even continue to grow. Both are more common for younger skin or darker skin tones.
Some scars can have a sunken or pitted appearance. This is often associated with cystic acne or surgeries.
Scars can also appear when the skin is stretched rapidly. This is often associated with pregnancy or rapid growth.
Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered. Clean the wound carefully as any debris in the wound can trigger an infection and scarring. If there is a concern for debris in the wound seek professional help to clean thoroughly. We love Yonka's Pure Emulsion for it's soothing and potent anti-bacterial qualities! It greatly stimulates repair!
- Avoid scratching or picking scabs. Healing wounds can itch due to the tissue getting dry. Skinceuticals Advanced Sili Gel is exceptional for keeping the itch down and hydration up! Picking the skin that is already injured whether from acne or trauma dramatically increases the likelihood of scarring.
- Get help for serious skin injuries. Better to have emergency intervention for deep puncture wounds, human or animal bites, second and third degree burns or wounds that continue to bleed.
- Use a scar prevention treatment. Silicone is considered a gold-standard ingredient for scar care in the medical community due to its occlusive durability compared to other topical skincare ingredients. They remain on skin’s surface with regular movement while reducing itching and discomfort. Occlusion at the wound healing site is shown to increase hydration and protect newly formed cells from bacteria. Hydrated skin cells also regulate better collagen production helping prevent the formation of scars and improving their appearance. It also helps a deep, dry scab from even forming. However, not all silicone gels deliver the same benefits for scar protection and comfort. A precise balance of silicone combined with soothing ingredients for optimal scar care. Skinceuticals has created a gold standard scar care product when it comes to this gold standard ingredient - Skinceuticals Advanced Sili-Gel. To learn more about this product click here.
Several factors affect the wound-healing and scar-formation process, including age, skin tone, genetics and the location of the wound. The older the skin or the poorer the quality of the skin (sun damaged, dehydrated etc) the repair and the effectiveness of all scar correction treatments will be compromised. Wound locations also have a big impact especially if they are located where the wound could be re-opened easily (eg. knees and elbows). It is important to know that scars cannot be removed completely, but they can often be made much less visible and with a quicker healing time.
- Skinceuticals Advanced Sili-Gel - This exceptional silicone gel is used for healing skin (not open wounds or old scars) to help soften and flatten a scar. It will also relieve itching and discomfort.To be effective, use for 12 hours a day for at least 3 months. This is not an effective treatment for stretch marks.
- Moisturizer and Sunscreen - Keeping the scar hydrated and protected from the sun is key to effective healing and healing without damage to your pigment cells. Wounds can be much more prone to losing pigment or hyper-pigmenting.
- Chemical Peels - once the skin is well healed, chemical peels are effective for improving collagen and elastin repair and improving skin texture and smoothness. They come in varying strengths depending on scar depth and skin type. They are particularly great for acne scars. A Clinical Skin Care Consultation, with one of our Clinical Estheticians, is the necessary first step for an analysis, recommendations and pricing.
- Surgery - Surgery can sometimes be used to improve a scar by making it appear more natural, less noticeable or to releasing a tight scar that's close to a joint to improve movement. Carefully consider the pros and cons before deciding to have surgery. As well as the normal risks of surgery, there's also a chance of making the scar worse. If you're considering scar reduction surgery, make sure the plastic surgeon is fully trained and experienced in this type of surgery.
- Signature Skin Transformation Treatments - This treatment is a combination of chemical peels, LED Light Therapy and Micro Amp treatments. This popular treatment is particularly effective for after surgical scarring such as after skin cancer removal or cosmetic surgery. A Clinical Skin Care Consultation with one of our Clinical Estheticians is required before this treatment for full assessment.
- Dermal Fillers - These are substances that can be injected to "plump up" pitted scars. Treatments can be costly and the results are usually temporary. Repeat treatments are needed to maintain the effect.
- Laser Therapy or Thermo-Coagulation - If there are discoloured areas or small veins projecting around the scar, removing them with either of these treatments will help to draw less attention to the scar. A Clinical Skin Care Consultation with one of our Clinical Estheticians is necessary for assessment and pricing.
Scars cannot be removed completely, but they can often be made less visible. If you have a scar — large or small — or even an old one, there are more possibilities than ever before for minimizing its appearance. Give us a call!