Your skin can become wounded or damaged due to a number of causes. A bad breakout can lead to damage and scars, a number of skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis can lead to discoloration and scarring as well. While your skin may be able to heal these issues with the right treatment and care, the collagen and scar tissue that forms around the wound can look different than the surrounding skin. This may be a natural part of the healing process, but most people want to fade these scars as quickly as possible. There are remedies that you can try at home that are more natural-based, or you can head to a dermatologist for a more powerful approach.
Understanding Our Skin and the Process of Scarring
There are two main layers to our skin. The outer layer is called the epidermis. This is the portion of our skin that functions to protect us from our environment (UV rays from the sun, exposure to the elements). The epidermis has many layers of cells that regenerate on an ongoing basis. Beneath the epidermis is the dermis. This is a deeper layer of skin cells that contribute to how strong and stretchy our skin is.
The dermis is constructed in a pattern that almost looks like a cross-hatch design. Collagen is weaved together across the entire dermis layer of the skin for protection. This design is actually something that we develop when we’re in the womb, and we cannot replicate it on our own once we are out in the world. When the weave is damaged, the new skin forms in a different way, which causes a scar to form. Essentially we’re not able to weave new skin cells into our existing skin structure, and this is why the area will end up looking differently. We simply don’t know how to prevent or treat scars in a way that replicates our original skin’s design.
Different Types of Scars
Scars can come from a few different sources, and there are a few different types that you may deal with at some point in your life. You may have sustained scarring from acne, burning your skin, cutting your skin or during surgery. Unfortunately, some people tend to be more prone to scarring because of their genetics. Skin type also plays a role in scarring. People of South Asian descent can experience scarring if they have sensitive or thin skin.
The location of your scars can also determine how easy or hard it will be to remove them. Some areas of the body have much thicker skin, and this can affect how prominent a scar is. The deeper a scar goes into the lower layers of skin, the harder it will be to remove the scar. It’s ideal that you know what kind of scar you’re dealing with in order to choose the best treatment option.
A keloid is a cluster of scar tissue that typically grows in a larger area than the scar. They can be raised and dark in color, continuing to grow even after your wound has fully healed. Essentially, too much collagen is developing at the site of the wound. Keloids can’t go down or go away completely on their own, so most people choose to intervene.
Hypertrophic scarring occurs when an excess of collagen forms around a wound, and they’re raised like keloids are. They can also be itchy or painful as the area is healing. They’re actually very similar to keloids, but they will often go down or fade a bit over time. This can take years, so most people intervene in this scenario as well.
Atrophic scarring is common with severe acne or even after a case of the chickenpox. These scars look like little dents in the skin. While they are usually the same color as the rest of the skin, the skin can look very pitted and damaged. This is difficult scarring to get rid of.
When the skin becomes very tight and sensitive after a wound has occurred, this can be because of contracture scars. This type of scarring is common after you’ve experienced a burn, and they can cause a lot of pain if they’re large in size. The muscles and nerves below the surface of the skin have become damaged along with the skin cells, and some people even experience a change in movement at that area.
When you’ve undergone surgery or you have cut yourself, you may experience a raised line scar. This is a fine-line scar that has the potential to flatten and fade on its own. However, the time period for your fine-line scarring to fade on its own can be as long as two or three years.
Also a form of scarring, stretch marks occur when the interior layers of the dermis tear. This causes an off-color rippling effect. Many women experience stretch marks after pregnancy, after losing weight quickly or from gaining weight.
How Long Will It Take My Scars to Fade?
The type of scars that you have as well as their severity will determine how long it takes for them to fade. A lot of scarring will fade naturally if given enough time, but most people don’t like waiting that long. There are also scars that are permanent, meaning they won’t fade on their own.
Scars that have occurred because of surgical incisions can take as long as two years to lower and fade in color. Once the wound has healed and the scar has formed, it can raise and form more scar tissue for as long as six months after the surgery. That’s why it’s so important to pay close attention to wound care.
Can Deep Scars Fade?
When you have a severe wound, this can lead to severe and deep scarring. What generally happens here is that there is a loss of tissue when the cells are attempting to regenerate. This leaves behind that pitted appearance that looks as though some of the skin is missing. This is a situation that is very hard to treat, even for the most experienced professionals. Many people find that their deep scars do not fade, even with the best wound care and scar treatments.
To identify deep scars, you’ll want to look at the appearance of the scar. A thin scar will only exist on the most outer layer of the dermis, and the scar appearance will usually be very thin and flat. If you have a deep scar, it will appear as though there’s a loss of skin volume present. Instead of a flat line, you’ll see an oval depression that can be quite wide. There may also be a shadowed appearance or discoloration. Depending on your skin tone and skin type, your deep scars can be pink, tank or dark brown.
How to Get Rid of Scarring Naturally
If you do some research or shop around your local beauty store, you’ll notice that there are a lot of products on the market that claim to remove or reduce the appearance of scarring. It’s impossible to know what works and what doesn’t without trying the products yourself. It helps to know what kind of scarring you’re dealing with, but it’s still hit or miss when it comes to the effective treatments. Instead of applying product after product and exposing yourself to all kinds of chemicals and harsh ingredients, you may want to think about trying some natural remedies to see if they help.
Hydrocolloid patches have become very popular as a method for how to get rid of acne scarring and the blemishes themselves. They are small patches that can be applied to the affected area of skin, and they use a hydrophilic material to draw moisture out of the area where they’re placed. The bandage also helps to prevent bacteria from growing on the area. They work best when you use them over a fresh wound to prevent scarring, but you can also use them on scars that are still in the process of healing.
Similar to hydrocolloid patches, silicone sheets can help to reduce the appearance of scars. This process is most effective on scars that are new as well as keloid and hypertrophic scars. You can buy them over-the-counter, and apply them regularly for the best results. Silicone is a very safe material, so you don’t have to worry about damaging the skin with this method.
Onions have natural antibacterial properties as well as the potential to reduce inflammation in the skin. If you utilize onion extract on a persistent scar, you may notice that the area starts to soften and blend into the surrounding skin after about three to four weeks. It’s best to start this process as soon as possible.
How to Get Rid of Scarring Using Rosehip Oil
Straight from the rose flower, rosehips can be used for a number of beauty-related purposes. Roses are very high in Vitamin C, lycopene and essential fatty acids, which can help to repair the skin. You can apply the rosehip oil right to clean skin, massaging it in gently. You don’t have to rinse it off, but you can reapply a few times each day.
Exfoliating the Skin
If you have damage to the surface of your skin in the way of scarring, exfoliating your skin can help to stimulate the growth of new skin cells and collagen. There are a few different ways that you can exfoliate scarring, and you want to be careful not to irritate or damage the surrounding skin. Chemical exfoliating products can remove layers of skin to expose the healthier layers underneath, but you should try gentler products first.
Sometimes using your normal face wash with a washcloth or exfoliating brush can do the trick. You can also choose a salt or sugar-based scrub that uses the natural exfoliating ability of these ingredients to remove outer damaged layers of skin. Other ingredients to look for in exfoliating scrubs, cleansers and serums include glycolic acid, lactic acid, alpha-hydroxy acid and salicylic acid.
If you’re in the process of exfoliating regularly in the hopes of reducing the appearance of scars, you should be extra diligent about protecting your skin from the sun. You’re more likely to experience sun damaged skin on those sensitive under layers of skin that are freshly exposed.
Massaging the Skin
Massage isn’t just used for relaxation purposes, it can help with scar management as well. Older scars should be massaged a few times per day for at least five minutes at a time. This will not only be effective at reducing any pain that exists at the site of the scar, but you can also remedy any itching and sensitivity that is present. Massage can also help to soften the scarred area.
How to Get Rid of Scars Using Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a natural ingredient that you can use to help heal the skin. It works on burns, breakouts, dry skin and much more. If you already have a scar that you’re trying to remove, you can use aloe vera to help keep the skin hydrated and healthy while you’re using other methods to try and decrease the appearance of your scarring.
Honey for Scar Removal
Honey can reduce inflammation in the skin, and it also works well to even out the discoloration of scars. You can apply a bit of raw honey to your scars for about fifteen minutes at a time. Rinse the area, and repeat the process a few times per day. You should see some results within two to three weeks. While you may not be able to reduce the appearance of raised scars, you should see a difference in the color of the area.
How to Get Rid of Acne Scars Using Vitamin E and Vitamin C
Vitamin E oil is a wonderful product to have on hand for a variety of skin-related purposes, as well as Vitamin C. Thanks to antioxidant properties that help boost the production of collagen, you can look for skincare products that contain these two vitamins, or you can create your own serum using Vitamins E and C along with nutrient-dense plant oils like olive oil or safflower oil.
Vitamin K for Scars
Vitamin K is frequently used in beauty products because it has an affect on the amount of blood flow that’s occurring to the skin. You can heal and fade your scars by promoting a healthy blood flow to the surface of your skin. Apply Vitamin K cream to your scars, and you can see results in just a couple of weeks if you’re diligent about reapplying a couple of times each day.
Shea butter is an extremely nutrient-dense skin care product that can be used to heal wounds as well as treat scars. It is very high in omega-3 fatty acids as well as antioxidants. It has the potential to deeply penetrate keloid scar tissue as well as other scarring. You should keep the scarred area hydrated at all times with a thin layer of shea butter. Just be careful if you’re trying to treat scarring on your face; shea butter can cause breakouts if you’re prone to acne or oily skin.
Tea Tree Oil for Acne Scar Removal
Tea tree oil works very well on acne scars. It has antiviral and antiseptic properties, and it can help to even out discoloration. You need to dilute the tea tree oil into a carrier oil to prevent skin damage. Coconut oil is a great oil to use as it has its own healing properties for scar treatment. Mix three or four drops of tea tree oil into a small amount of coconut oil, and apply it to the scar three times per day.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Scar Treatment
Apple cider vinegar works very well to minimize the appearance of acne scars. Apple cider vinegar works to reduce dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, while stimulating the growth of new skin cells. You’ll want to mix a little bit of the vinegar with honey. Apply it to the affected areas, and let it sit for approximately ten minutes. Rinse off with cool water, and pat the skin dry. Repeat up to three times per day.
Made from the emu bird’s fat composition, emu oil is rich in omega fatty acids. It can deeply penetrate into the interior layers of the skin where it helps to heal and reduce inflammation. It promotes the body’s natural process of healing while potentially minimizing the appearance of your scars.
Can Vaseline Be Used to Heal Scarring?
Vaseline has the potential to prevent scars if it is used early enough during the process of wound care. This petroleum-based product is often recommended by medical professionals to keep a wound protected against infection, while providing a moisture barrier.
To apply the Vaseline for scar treatment purposes, start by massaging the scarred area in circular motions. You should do this for five to ten minutes for the best results. Wash the area after the massage has ended, and you’ll want to apply a thin layer of the Vaseline on top of the scar. If you can, placing a bandage over the area will provide necessary pressure while keeping the area sealed and hydrated. For persistent scars, you can repeat this process up to three times per day.
How to Get Rid of Pimple Scars Using Microneedling
Microneedling involves rolling very small needles across the surface of the skin. Essentially you are re-injuring the skin in order to stimulate new growth of skin cells, and platelet rich plasma of your very own can be used to help the healing process. This process can be used to reduce the appearance of scarring that exists due to acne and breakouts. Acne actually affects the skin at a very deep level, though you see the breakout occurring on the surface.
When you have microneedling performed, you’ll usually receive a topical numbing agent on your skin about fifteen or so minutes before the procedure. Once your skin is ready to be worked on comfortably, it will take about 15 minutes for everything to be completed. Most professionals will recommend that you have microneedling performed a few times in order to see the best results, but you can see a different even after just one appointment.
Expect your skin to be very red and irritated after you’ve had microneedling performed. It might feel very tight and warm, almost like you’ve experienced a sun burn. For about 48 hours, you’ll need to use a few different products to help the skin properly heal. This can include a variety of serums and moisturizers. It is recommended that you avoid a hot shower or bath for at least 48 hours.
How to Get Rid of Scarring Using Cryotherapy
Very non-invasive and safe, cryotherapy can be used to freeze keloid scars. The process can help to stop the development of scars while helping them to flatten and soften. The process uses liquid nitrogen, which also helps to even out your skin tone if you’re experiencing discoloration from scarring.
Temporarily Removing the Appearance of Scars Using Makeup
While it would be nice to see a difference in the appearance of your scars overnight, it’s likely that you’ll need to cover up the area while you seek out scar removal remedies. Makeup can reduce the appearance of your scars temporarily, though it won’t help to treat the issue. This is a great way to make you feel more confident about your appearance, especially if you have something important coming up like a job interview or special event.
If your typical daily makeup routine isn’t cutting it, there’s medical makeup that can be used to tackle very prominent and unsightly scars while preventing any further irritation. You can still match your skin tone with these products, and they can be used on your face, arms, etc.
The Importance of Sun Protection
Protecting your skin against the UV rays produced by the sun is extremely important if you want healthy and glowing skin. However, this protection becomes extra important when you’re dealing with scarring to the skin. If you expose scars to the sun, this can cause further damage that will make it harder to fade those scars naturally. You could also increase the risk of discoloration of the scars, and the scars can become thicker. Make sure that you’re applying an SPF of at least 30 when you’re going outside for any length of time. You should also strive to cover your skin as much as possible, as much as the weather allows.
Preventing the Formation of Scars
If you’re trying to treat an old scar that is making you feel self conscious about your appearance, you likely understand the importance of preventing future scars. There are a number of things that you can do early on when a wound is still fresh to promote proper healing.
Make sure that you’re keeping the area as clean as possible. You should be washing the area regularly with a gentle cleanser to prevent infection as well as stimulate the growth of new skin cells. While it might seem like you want to dry the wound out as fast as possible, this isn’t always the case. Dry skin can lead to damaged skin, so you should maintain a hydrated environment for your skin to heal. Hydrating your skin also helps prevent scar tissue from forming. If you don’t have a moisturizer that you commonly like to use, you can always apply petroleum jelly to the area. This can prevent a hard scab from forming.
Keep your hands off your skin at all times. If you’re prone to picking at your skin, find other ways to keep your hands busy. The more you pick and poke at the area, the more likely it is for scar tissue to form. You’re interfering with the natural process of healing.
When to Seek Assistance from a Professional
Hopefully you’ll have luck with treating your scars on your own, but there may come a point in time when you should look for assistance from a professional. Many people are reminded constantly of a difficult time in their life when they look in the mirror and see scars from acne, injury, etc. If your scarring is really affecting your self esteem and well being, a dermatologist can help you with different ways to treat the issue. Not everything a dermatologist will recommend will be invasive or involved. There may be some simple products or methods that they will tell you to do at home to get the ball rolling. Only after these remedies have been exhausted will a dermatologist recommend something such as laser treatments, steroid injections, fillers or surgery.
The best way that you can reduce the appearance of scars on your skin is to properly care for your wounds while they’re healing. Also, you should try to prevent any issues from occurring in the first place. Taking proper care of your skin by way of cleansing and hydrating can make a big difference in the amount of scars that you experience. Don’t forget to protect your skin against things that can damage it, such as by applying sunscreen to prevent sun damage when you’re going to be outside.