After damage to the skin, a scar can appear. A scar is connective tissue that replaces normal skin as a wound heals.
The wound healing process proceeds in three phases that overlap in time.
These are: 1. Hemostasis and local cleansing (inflammation) phase. 2. Proliferation (cell division) and granulation and 3. Remodeling of scar tissue. The last phase takes the longest: sometimes up to a year and a half.
How long this healing process takes and how well a wound heals depends on various factors. Where the wound is located, its origin, size, depth and shape play a role in this. The age and condition of the person also play a role. In addition, the use of drugs such as blood thinners, immunosuppressants can slow down wound healing.
A scar can have different appearances. Usually, after the healing process, a scar looks flat and inconspicuous. Sometimes a scar is accompanied by a dent, a dimple in the skin. This is called an atrophic scar. However, a disturbance in the wound healing process can sometimes also leave a raised scar. This is called a hypertrophic scar.
Scars cosmetically be disturbing, but can also cause pain, itching, and irritation. There are home products on the market that claim to (visibly) reduce scars and complaints.
But which home products are actually proven effective and when do you start using them?
Much research has been done into the effect of scar creams. Plant extracts such as onion extract, green tea, aloe vera, vitamin E and vitamin D are well-known researched ingredients for scar treatment. Evidence that these have an effect, however, is lacking. You will regularly discover vitamin E in the ingredient list of scar cream.
Adverse side effects are even described about vitamin E, such as the development of contact dermatitis and worsening of itching and skin rashes. Is the application of a scar cream of no use at all? Massaging the scar, with any creams or oils. The skin is kept supple by massaging with a cream, the scar can indeed become less noticeable. This massage does not have to be with a “special” scar cream and you can start with this carefully as soon as the wound is closed.
There are several products available for silicone scars. These are also called silicone patches or silicone sheets. Silicone plasters have been shown to be effective in improving scars by covering the scar skin and preventing moisture loss. In addition, they also ensure that pain, itching and irritation are reduced. Silicone products can also be started as soon as the wound is closed.
So, what can you do at home?
In short: massaging a scar makes sense, and this does not necessarily have to be done with a scar cream. Try to protect the scar well against sunlight with at least SPF-30 to prevent discoloration or irritation. In addition, use silicone plasters to help the scar settle faster when it appears to be thickened and red. As long as the scar is still developing, often a year to a year and a half, the use of silicone products or massaging with creams is useful.
Helen de Groot – skintherapist, graduated july 2022
Now that you are here
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