Is complete scar removal possible?

The extent of skin scarring determines the type of removal technique and healing time your skin needs.

In many ways, the skin is like a garment for the body. It covers the internal parts of our bodies like an expandable sheath. In fact, it is this expandable quality of the skin that makes it prone to scarring owing to acne, weight loss (when stretch marks are formed) and even injury. One’s age, genetic make-up, skin elasticity and even ethnicity may determine how much scarring the skin can reasonably take.

In most cases, however, complete scar removal is a distinct possibility, especially in cases of acne scars. Acne tends to cause inflammation of the skin tissues directly under and surrounding it – when the acne is gone, blood pools at the site to cause skin darkening or reddening. After a while, the site displays a scar that is visible to the eye. Based on the extent of scarring, a dermatologist may recommend the right technique for scar removal.

1 Most scars are a result of forcibly removing acne using a fingernail or a sharp pointed object (even the metal cleaners applied on the skin during a clean-up can cause scarring). This causes skin trauma and infection at the site, leading to scarring.

2 The first step, however, is to reduce the inflammation. Try the age-old trick of applying ice cubes on the affected area to soothe the skin. Ice application also takes care of residual acne or bacteria causing acne to settle on the skin. Once the inflammation reduces, so will the red blotches on the skin. This method also helps the skin recoup and generate new cells to restore texture.

3 Once the site of the scar is cleaned and moisturised, you may apply a calming agent such as cortisone. You can buy a cortisone based gel or cream for this purpose. It aids skin cell renewal and helps eliminate the possibility of more acne.

4 If your scar is dark brown or red in colour, a skin lightening agent containing Kojic acid or Vitamin C extract can help. You can easily source Vitamin C from citric fruits such as lemons or oranges – apply the fruit on the site and leave on till dry. Rinse off with cold water.

5 Natural remedies to fade acne scars include using ripe tomato pulp, milk cream and turmeric and also potato and cucumber mash on cleansed skin.

6 If the scar is a result of an injury or is too persistent to respond to natural remedies, your dermatologist will recommend a round of laser treatment for scar removal. The technique normally used includes laser skin resurfacing to improve texture and aid the production of essential collagen to hasten the healing process.

7 Some acne scars leave bumps or indentations on the skin surface. You can have these treated with skin fillers that restore the skin’s surface.

8 Many scars take weeks and even months to fade, so it is important to not expect instant results from your treatment. The healing of the skin can be helped along by regular exercise, a diet rich in fruit and vegetables, plenty of water and adequate amounts of rest. All of these boost the skin’s repair and renewal process and slow aging.

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