Scars are a natural result of the healing process on the skin, they occur when you have an injury that reaches the dermis layer. The dermis is the second layer of your skin, it is below the thin epidermis. In response to a cut, tear or break in the dermis your body synthesizes collagen at the place of injury to repair the wound. This not only prevents further damage, but it closes up the skin and prevents germs from getting into your body.
For some people, they may be a badge of pride, a mark of their eventful life or a reminder of the stories that go along with each scar. Others may have a different perspective, considering scars a cause for self-consciousness and discomfort. Over the years there have been several traditional methods of removing or reducing scars. Lately, modern methods have also arisen which gives us a unique chance to compare the old and the new.
Traditional scar removal methods
This popular plant has been used for improving digestive health, supporting hydrated and glowing skin and maintaining oral health. While it cannot remove scars completely (very few methods can) Aloe Vera is thought to speed up the process of making the scar less prominent. It is thought to help reduce pigmentation at the scar site, this pigmentation is one of the reasons scars stand out from the rest of your skin.
Honey is another traditional scar removal substance. Honey has been used in cooking since ancient times, but as a ‘superfood’ it has been put to several uses over time. According to research, honey helps to improve the healing process which could lead to the scar fading faster. It should be noted that there is nothing in honey that can lighten or reduce pigmentation, it simply helps with the healing process. Although it is often suggested for acne scar removal, it won’t really be helpful for that.
Like aloe vera and honey, coconut oil won’t remove your scars but may have some effect in reducing the pigmentation at the wound. Although there has been some research into its effectiveness, the results for coconut oil as a scar remover are mixed. With some types of scars, it is thought to improve the healing process while in other cases it seemed to show no improvement. Coconut oil is also thought to even the skin tone, which may help to make scars less obvious.
Lemon and lime juices are acidic, have antioxidants and contain vitamin C. Using lemon juice directly on the skin may lead to burning, irritation, rashes and other issues. There is no real scientific research supporting its use as a scar removal substance, it’s best to consult a dermatologist before trying this one out.
Traditional methods may have some merit, they mostly involve taking proper care of the scar while it heals. This is one of the best ways to reduce the scar size and decrease hyperpigmentation at the wound. None of the traditional methods can remove scars completely, nor can any of the products based on these substances. But honey, aloe vera and coconut have been studied to improve healing. For people with smaller scars and acne, these methods may be appropriate. However, keep your expectations low, as all scars are different and you may not see any vast improvements.
Modern scar removal methods
Modern medicine has a variety of gels and ointments that can be prescribed by a doctor or bought over the counter. These work by delivering steroids at the scar site or reducing irritation and inflammation. Some of these treatments contain silicone which can prevent excessive collagen growth, thereby reducing the scar size. Other helpful ingredients in these creams may include allantoin and vitamin E, these can help to soften the scar tissue. Some creams help to reduce the appearance of the scar by smoothing and hydrating the skin.
There are a variety of surgical treatments available for reducing or eliminating scars. Surgical options are often expensive and are mostly used for major and severe scars or burns.
- Steroid injections under the scar tissue can help to flatten out scars that are raised and bumpy.
- Plastic surgery is an option for people with severe and extensive scarring (especially facial scars), as well as skin grafting. These two options are the most effective at hiding or removing scars, but they are also usually the most expensive and serious methods for scar removal.
- Laser surgery is also an option to reduce the size and look of smaller scars, warts and wrinkles but it cannot remove scars completely.
- Microneedling, dermabrasion and fillers are other options available each with varying levels of effectiveness.
Like traditional methods, modern methods are also not 100% effective at completely removing scars. However, they have a higher chance of reducing the appearance and size of scars than traditional removal techniques. Most modern scar removal methods will require a doctor’s or dermatologist’s prescription. They have a better chance at speeding up scar healing and lightening the skin. For larger, older scars, modern scar removal options are much more effective. The downside is that most modern methods of scar removal cost more than traditional remedies. Some people may consider it worthwhile since you get a better end result.
Old vs New - Which type of scar removal wins?
There are many options available to you if you’re seeking scar removal or reduction. It is very important to speak to a certified dermatologist before proceeding with any type of scar removal. If you are having surgery, you may bring up the issue of scar removal with your doctor in advance and they can guide you on any future treatment. Keep in mind that while traditional methods may be mildly effective, and modern methods may be more effective than those, total removal of scarring is very unlikely without a major procedure like plastic surgery. Keep your expectations low and consult a doctor so that you can make an informed decision.