Throughout your life, experiencing traumatic incidents such as falling off a bicycle, an outbreak of acne, or undergoing surgery is common. Some of these events are bound to leave you physically and/or emotionally scarred for life.
Scars can be a result of injuries from accidents, insect bites, acne outbreak, burns, pregnancy, chickenpox infection, body piercings, scrapes, cuts during surgeries, and vaccinations. Scars are one of the last things that you would want to own.
Scars may be harmless, but in a larger scheme of things, scars can make many of you conscious, insecure, and embarrassed of your appearance. People with visible scars are often subject to ridicule and social stigma.
Scars are formed when a layer of fibrous tissue is formed over your injured skin as a repair mechanism by the body. The skin formed thereafter is nothing like the normal healthy skin.
Aside from the effects on the appearance of a person, scars can have mental and emotional consequences on the bearer. Sometimes, the psychological impact on the person bearing the scar is far-reaching and can supersede the physical effects irrespective of the visibility or the size of the scar.
Signs and Symptoms of Scars
- Cause pain
- Cause discomfort, itching, and inflammation
- Alter a person’s outlook on his own self by affecting his self-esteem
- Hamper the mobility and derail a person’s normal routine (in case of scars that refuse to heal and continue growing)
Treatment Techniques for Scar Removal
Scars can mar not only your physical features but also dwindle your morale. Those who are pestered with their scars can go down in favor of treating them either through some natural remedies or through some medical procedures known to heal scars.
Complete scar removal is an incredible prospect, but most scars can fade over time.
Several established techniques have shown promising results in scar fading and scar removal. They can be used on their own or in combination with other treatments.
- Laser treatment
- Silicon patching
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
- Surgical procedure
- Enzyme therapy
- Steroid Injections
- Chemical peelings
- Pressure dressings
- Prescription creams or gels
Before you shell out a fortune for laser treatments or exorbitantly priced filler injections in a bid to do away with your scars, consider trying some home remedies. These home remedies can help fade and minimize the appearance of your scars over time.
- Before applying the home remedies, clean the affected area thoroughly.
- Always do a patch test before applying something on the actual area.
- Be patient, as results may take some time to show depending upon the shape, size, and type of scar. It is essential to be consistent in your efforts to achieve a noticeable result.
- The home remedies may or may not have visible results and their effects vary from individual to individual.
Natural Remedies that Help Fade and Minimize Your Scars
Here are a few home remedies to reduce the appearance of scars.
1. Soothe Your Scars with Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a soothing relaxant that can help reduce the severity of your scar naturally. The anti-inflammatory components in the aloe vera gel induce the production of collagen and enhance the extent of crosslinking in the skin tissue-both of which are integral to the removal of scar tissue.
A study conducted on rats demonstrated the role of aloe vera in wound healing. It was observed that the topical application of aloe vera promoted wound healing, diminished the scar area, and enhanced wound contraction.
Aloe vera keeps the skin moisturized by permeating deep into the layers of skin. It also ameliorates itching and irritation.
- Peel off the outer green cover of the aloe vera and scrape out the gel using a spoon.
- Apply the gel on your scar and massage in circular motions.
- Leave it on for about 30 minutes, and then wash it off.
- Apply aloe vera gel twice daily.
2. Use Onion Extract
Onion extract has anti-inflammatory properties. It can prevent redness and bring a possible decrease in the size of the scar. Some over-the-counter scar creams contain onion extract.
Direct application of the extract on the skin is not recommended to avoid allergic reactions. There isn’t any scientific evidence that supports the benefits of the topical application of the onion extract directly on the scar.
However, using gels and creams that contain onion extract has shown considerable improvement in the scars.
Onion extract showed positive effects on the appearance of the scar but not on the height of the scar and the itching.
Studies show that using a combination of onion extract with occlusive silicon dressing showed significant improvements in the height of the scar. The application of onion extract in different forms showed synergistic improvements in hypertrophic and keloid scars.
3. Heal Your Skin with Shea Butter
Shea butter is a plant-based fat that is harvested from the dried fruits of the African shea tree. The dried fruits are boiled to extract the butter-like substance that is used for its myriad therapeutic and nutritional benefits.
The multiplicity of benefits it offers makes it an ideal component of several beauty products including lotions, creams, and lip balms.
Shea butter packs a punch of various antioxidants, omega-3-fatty acids, and vitamins A, E, and K, which are all known to have healing effects on the skin, hair, and the whole body in general.
The anti-inflammatory, skin-soothing, and collagen-producing properties of shea butter are attributed to its composition. Shea butter has been shown to have a significant role in repairing damaged skin tissue and keloid scars.
- Take a spoonful of shea butter and apply it on your scar. Massage your scar area gently in firm, circular motions.
- Leave it on overnight and wash it off the next morning with lukewarm water.
- Repeat daily until the scar fades.
4. Dab Some Plant Oils on Your Scar
Plant oils have been exploited for their synergistic and therapeutic effects on the human body since ages.
These oils extracted from different plants house a diversity of bioactive constituents including triglycerides, phospholipids, free fatty acids, phenolic compounds, and antioxidants.
Given the presence of these natural substances, plant oils have been bestowed with anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, antimicrobial, anticarcinogenic, emollient, and wound-healing properties.
- Apply any plant oil (coconut oil, sesame oil, argan oil, almond oil, rosehip oil, and olive oil) every night directly on your skin and keep massaging gently until it is absorbed
5. Sideline Your Scars with Essential Oils
Essential oils have been qualified as therapeutic agents due to their antibacterial and antioxidative properties. The curative effects of essential oils stem from their ability to revitalize the skin by aiding in cellular growth and tissue repair and regeneration.
Essential oils augment the healing of the damaged tissue by promoting the formation of new cells and replacing the old and damaged ones.
Regular application of essential oils can efficiently sideline your scars into dim light to a great extent.
The lemon essential oil is known to boost collagen production. The high degree of antioxidants in carrot seed oil supports its role in preventing the skin from free radical damage, increasing skin elasticity, and reducing wrinkles and scars. Frankincense oil has been associated with tissue regeneration and maintaining the health of the skin.
For naturally healthy and resilient skin, always use essential oils in combination with a carrier oil such as rosehip oil and coconut oil. This will decrease the risk of developing an allergy or skin irritation.
6. Exfoliate Your Scars Away
Exfoliation is the process of removing the dead skin cells to make way for fresh and healthy skin cells. Regular exfoliation can help you get away with the buildup of old and dead skin cells, speeding up the repair process of your skin. This process will aid in fading the blemishes and scars away.
With new cells on the surface, your skin will look bright and fresh as ever.
DIY Exfoliating Oatmeal Face Mask
- Add 2 tablespoons of crushed oatmeal to 1 tablespoon of baking soda.
- To this mix, add water to give it a paste-like consistency.
- Apply a generous amount of the paste all over your face.
- Let it stay for 15-20 minutes to dry.
- Rinse off the mask by using your wet fingers.
- Massage your face in circular motions using your fingers.
- Rinse the mask off with warm water and pat your skin dry.
- Moisturize your skin.
- Exfoliate only when your skin has cleared up from pimples.
- Never exfoliate your skin when you have an acne breakout or a skin irritation. This can stimulate your pimple to open up, ooze, and leave a scar or a spot behind, something that you don’t want to happen.
- Never use rough, coarse materials such as sugar and crushed fruit shells unless you have them in a finely powdered form.
Scarring is the body’s natural repair process after it encounters tissue damage that has pierced the dermal layer of the skin.
Healthy skin cells are held in a mesh by the crosslinking of fibrin and a protein called collagen. When the skin is damaged as a result of a wound, the skin tissue breaks down, and the collagen is released.
The repair process entails the formation of fresh collagen on the affected region to heal the wound. During this process, the fibrin and collagen align in the same direction, which is not conducive to the desired degree of adhesion required for normal healthy skin.
The repaired skin is never as strong as it originally was.
The healing process of the skin is time-consuming and lasts for several months. As the wound is repaired, the supply of blood increases, causing the scar to become red, lumpy, and elevated. The repaired skin is itchy and is devoid of any skin pores or hair follicles. This repaired skin is called a scar.
With time, the scar gradually becomes softer, smoother, and paler. As the skin keeps getting replaced over the years, a scar may reduce or fade with time.
Types of Scars
Scars can be in all shapes and sizes and can be of different types based on their cause of occurrence:
- Keloidal scars: These are dark and elevated scars that often grow beyond the affected region. The excessive production of tissue makes it difficult to remove the scar easily. These scars are painful and itchy.
- Hypertrophic scars: These are dark, red, and raised scars. They restrict themselves to the affected region.
- Atrophic scars: These are flat marks formed when there is a loss of collagen tissue in the affected area. Atrophic scars have a pitted and sunken appearance on the skin. These include scars formed after inflammatory conditions such as acne, stretch marks, and chickenpox.
- Stretch marks: Stretch marks are caused when the skin is stretched wide and appears as striations on your skin. These can be caused by weight gain, pregnancy, surgery, bodybuilding, and steroid medications.
- Contracture scars: These scars are formed when a large stretch of the skin tissue is damaged or lost, usually as a result of burns that can affect the muscles and nerves in the affected region. Contracture scars tighten and shorten the skin, often debilitating the affected individual.
- You can also apply white toothpaste to help fade the scars.
- Avoid exposing your scars to sunlight. This will slow down the healing process and make the scar appear darker. Use sunscreen if the scar is in a place where it will inevitably be exposed to the sun.
- Do not pick on your acne. Squeezing every pimple that appears on your skin can leave your skin scarred.
- Regularly massaging the affected area can help break down the fibrous tissue that causes scarring.
- Exfoliate regularly to get rid of dead layers of skin. This will promote the growth of new skin and reduce the appearance of the scars. Do it once a week for normal skin and twice a week if your skin is oily.
- You can use a concealer to hide your scars. Prefer a concealer that matches your skin tone.
- Enrich your diet with vitamin C and E to boost collagen production. This will help speed up the healing process.
- Increase your water intake to keep your skin hydrated.
- Regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids can also help heal scars. Consult a doctor before starting any omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
- To treat your acne, use green tea. Add a green tea bag to a cup of boiling water. Allow the tea to cool and then dab it onto a new scar using a cotton swab. Massage gently.
Regular application of these home remedies will boost your collagen levels, support cell growth and skin regeneration, hasten the process of scar healing, and transfigure your scar into normal healthy skin over time.
So, before you go out spending an arm and a leg on expensive treatments and therapies, try out these home remedies to heal your scars naturally.
- Surjushe A, Vasani R, Saple DG. ALOE VERA: A SHORT REVIEW – PubMed Central (PMC). Indian Journal Of Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2763764/. Published 2008.
- Oryan A, Mohammadalipour A, Moshiri A, Tabandeh MR. Topical Application of Aloe vera Accelerated Wound Healing, Modeling, and Remodeling: An Experimental Study. Annals of Plastic Surgery. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25003428. Published January 2016.
- Draelos ZD, Baumann L, Fleischer AB, et al. A New Proprietary Onion Extract Gel Improves the … The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390235/. Published June 2012.
- Hosnuter M, Payasli C, Isikdemir A, Tekerekoglu B. The effects of onion extract on hypertrophic and keloid scars. Journal of Wound Care. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17722521. Published June 2007.
- Olaitan PB, Chen I-P, Norris JEC, et al. Inhibitory Activities of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and … Wounds. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3905615/. Published April 2011.
- Lin T-K, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/. Published January 2018.
- Saric S, Notay M, Sivamani RK. Green Tea and Other Tea Polyphenols: Effects on Sebum Production and Acne Vulgaris. Antioxidants MDPI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5384166/. Published March 2017.
- Scar Revision. Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons. https://plasticsurgery.org.au/procedures/surgical-procedures/scar-revision/.
- Lang K. 9 Ways To Naturally Remove Scars, Bruises & Stretch Marks. BlackDoctor. https://blackdoctor.org/15854/how-to-remove-scars-naturally/. Published August 15, 2017.
- NHS Choices. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/scars/. Published September 4, 2017.