Skin Care

How Can I Prevent, Treat and Banish Unsightly Scars?

Scars have different causes and result from injuries including surgery, acne, chicken pox, accidents. Scars form because our epidermis and dermis have been torn apart. During the scarring process, our dermis produces wound-plugging collagen, over which our epidermis forms a fresh layer of skin. Scars come in all shapes and sizes: pinkish, red, white, dark, blistered, deep, flat, and raised. Some fade with time, others don't, depending on how well we heal and/or the depth of the scar. The cause, appearance and treatment of scars varies from person to person.

Don't worry if scars form when your skin is wounded. The first step is to stop any bleeding by pressing a clean compress on to the affected area. Follow by applying an antiseptic or wash the wound with soap and water to get rid of dirt or germs. Cover it with a dressing that won't stick to the wound, but will keep it sufficiently moist and then leave it alone for 2 days. Make sure you don't remove the wound's crust when you take it off! To boost your blood flow and promote faster healing, gently massage the skin around the wound.

Wounds can take forever to fully heal. If it's deep, you're looking at a good 18 months, so use this time to reduce any potential scarring.

Golden Rule No.1 - Avoid exposing your wound to the sun (it can make scars look darker) and make sure you protect your skin with a high SPF sunscreen.

Secondly, keep the wound moisturised - Apply a hydrating cream several times a day to keep its skin supple and elastic.

You can also book massage sessions where a therapist will use palpating and rolling movements to drain any swelling and limit the formation of scar tissue.

Here are some things to follow and keep in mind when you want to prevent, treat, and reduce scarring.

1. A healthy diet goes a long way when it comes to healing and keeping our skin elastic. Pile your plate with foods rich in vitamin A and C to boost your skin's repair mechanism, vitamin K to help it naturally heal, and vitamin E to fade scars. Honey also works a treat - apply a dollop to the affected area twice a day. And drink gallons of water to purge your body of toxins.

2. If your scars are too much to bear, book an appointment with an aesthetic dermatologist. There are plenty of dermatological solutions to fade scars, including laser treatments and micro-dermabrasion. The technique used will depend on the cause and appearance of any scars. Acne scars, for example, respond well to laser treatments, whilst stretch marks can be treated with phototherapy. For light scars, abrasive lasers are an effective option, whilst red scars can be zapped with vascular or pigment lasers, as well as pulsed light treatments. Finally, hyaluronic acid injections can plump up and smoothe away scars. However, if you have really deep or pronounced scars, then cosmetic surgery remains your best bet.

3. Use the right skincare products that contain active ingredients that not only keep your skin well hydrated and moisturized but also contain active ingredients that target dark spots and give you a more even and brighter complexion. The White Perfect Clinical Day Cream by L’Oréal Paris instantly brightens the skin and reduces pigmentation and dark spots, and also contains SPF that shields your skin from the sun, thus preventing further darkening of your spots and scars.

4. You can also use foundation and concealer to temporarily cover up your scars. No need to cake on layers of foundation, instead opt for a colour correcting foundation, which will provide better cover than a tinted cream. Dab on a small amount and blend with a flat brush, take your time to work it in well for a natural finish. Go for a colour that's one tone lighter than your skin, a second one that's darker and finish with a powder. Applying different tones disguises scars - use the lighter one in the middle of the scar and the darker one around the edges. Blend them in and fix with a dusting of powder.