You may have noticed that many scar cream manufacturers act as though all scars are essentially the same. Formulas with 1-2 active ingredients pretending that they are the solution to treat ‘scars.’ In reality, many of these products do nothing more than address some mild discoloration, which may help make the scars less visible.
In order for a scar cream to be able to claim effectiveness, it should specifically state which type of scars it can treat. Not all scars are created equal, and therefore they cannot be treated the same. Lets take a look at the different types of scars, their unique characteristics and potential treatments.
What Are Keloid Scars?
Keloid scars develop as a result of overly aggressive healing processes. Collagen production becomes hyper active and an excessive amount of tissue is formed. These scars are raised and extend beyond the initial injury. Silicone is commonly used as a treatment to help prevent keloid scars when injured or to help flatten the tissue of an existing scar. Keloid scars are most common among people with darker pigmentation.
What Are Hypertrophic Scars?
Hypertrophic scars are similar to keloid scars, however they remain within the boundaries of the original injury. They do not spread past that as many keloid scars can. Hypertrophic scars are Red in color and are commonly treated with silicone to flatten the scar and anti inflammatories.
What are Contracture Scars?
Contracture Scars are the scars the result of having been burned. These scars tighten the skin which often impairs mobility. It should be noted that Contracture Scars may go deeper than the skin affecting nerves and muscles.
What Are Atrophic Scars?
Atrophic scars can develop when the skin does not regenerate properly. Unlike. Keloid scars & hypertrophic scars where the tissue is raised, atrophic scars are sunken or indented. Many people associate these particular type of scarring with chicken pox or acne scars although they are common for man other reasons. Some people refer to atrophic scarring as icepick scars, although in reality there are 3 Types of Atrophic Scars.
1. Icepick Scars are very common and look like a deep pore.
2. Flat-Bottomed Scars are the chicken pox scar called boxcar scars.
3. Rolling Scars – these indented scars do not have distinct edges are typically found on the cheeks.
What are Potential Treatments for Scars?
There are a few options of people who wish to treat their scars. The right choice will depend a bit on the nature of the scarring, where in the healing process your injury is and of course your budget. Treatments may include:
OTC or Prescription Gels, Ointments and Creams – These products can be purchased online, or at the direction of a health care provider. Designed for scars that are caused by injuries, cuts or wounds. Sometimes a prescription may help with scars that cause itching or steroids that may help. Silicone and silicone sheeting are also recommended for healing these scars as well as preventative care.
Surgical Removal – Depending on the severity of the scar and your budget, surgical removal may be the right choice for you. Laser surgery, dermabrasion, skin grafts, and excision are all options depending on what your dermatologist or surgeon recommends.
Injections – Steroid injections are common for raised scars such as hypertrophic or keloid scars. It may be used by itself or alongside additional treatment. Collagen injections are sometimes given for atrophic scarring. Fillers like these may reduce the appearance of scarring temporarily but over the course of months these effects will fade.
If you are looking for scar treatment and considering your options, make sure you do your homework. Only a fraction of the gels and creams you compare will deliver the results you want. Make sure you understand your scar, and what it takes to properly treat it.