Scarring can severely disfigure your body. That is why there are many ways to reduce or even prevent scarring.
Almost everyone has one or more scars. They can be caused by falls, burns, accidents, operations and even illnesses. As soon as a wound heals and restores the skin, a visible scar can appear. Besides the fact that scars are often unsightly, they can also cause pain and itching.
How does a scar develop?
If only the epidermis is damaged, it usually heals quickly and you do not get a scar. But with deeper damage, the chance of a scar increases as the healing of the skin lasts longer. Scars are formed by scar tissue that for a large part consists of connective tissue, also called collagen.
Fill wound hole
With a deeper damage, the resulting wound hole has to be filled up and your body makes new connective tissue for the formation of the new skin. This creates a reddish, sometimes thickened scar. If the healing process goes well and there is no infection, the redness and thickening of the scar disappear and the scar eventually fades away. If this is not the case and the scar remains ugly or causes symptoms, there are a number of options for treating scars.
A scar will never completely disappear but can be made less visible. It is important to start immediately after a wound is closed. Existing scars can be treated well until about two years after their onset, then no longer. There are several ways to treat scars, both at home and in the hospital. Whatever helps in a quick healing of a wound, is the prevention of an infection by good wound care.
Treat at home
What is widely used is silicone therapy, available in the form of gel and plasters. As soon as a wound is closed and any stitches are removed, you can start this treatment. Due to the threefold effect, the scar becomes softer, flatter and less visible and symptoms such as redness, itching, and pain disappear.
In addition, there is the Scar Fade, a patch that causes the temperature of the skin to rise, making the scar tissue softer and a better circulation. As a result, the connective tissue is redistributed and the scar is less visible.
Pressure or compression therapy is also a possibility in which pressure is applied by means of a sponge, plastic plate or elastic pressure clothing. This pressure makes the scar flatter and smoother and reduces the chance of a scar coming back.
In the hospital
Unwanted scars can be surgically removed by a plastic surgeon. Also, corticosteroid injections are a possibility, which causes a slow fading of the scar. The treatment is usually painful and requires at least two to three treatments, which are done every two to four weeks. Another option is Cryotherapy, where the scar is frozen for ten to thirty seconds. This mainly reduces the height of the scar. This is also an often painful treatment and several treatments are needed with a longer interval, because the skin needs time to recover.
Also, the laser is an option, because lasers cause specific damage to the scar tissue. A disadvantage is that scars with this treatment often return over time. Finally, radiotherapy or radiation is an option. This therapy is usually applied only if the other methods do not work. Obviously, a referral by your doctor is required for treatment in the hospital.