How to Make an Unsightly Scar Look Better
Whether you’ve got an old acne scar or a new stretch mark, there are ways to make a scar less noticeable. Here’s how.
Scars happen! Your cat’s claw inadvertently grazes your face, a kitchen knife slips through your fingers, a fall on some rough gravel does a number to your knee, or maybe a few stretch marks have popped up. Unfortunately, despite what you may have heard, a scar can never completely go away. “Although the body attempts to heal by forming new collagen fibers, these fibers are not restored in the same manner as in normal skin. Instead, they’re aligned in such a way to give rise to a scar,” says Kristina Goldenberg, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve its appearance with a little time and TLC. “As part of wound healing, new blood vessels develop within the scars to effectively deliver oxygen and nutrients to the scar tissue. This is what gives a scar its red appearance,” says Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic and clinical research, department of dermatology at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. “This redness will go away on its own, usually within two years. After injury, some patients, particularly those with darker skin tones, may develop post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, essentially a stain in the skin rather than a true scar. This pigmentation will also go away on its own within a few years but in some cases, lightening creams or in-office procedures my be needed to lighten the dark areas.”
Here, top derms share skin-saving tips that will help you treat your wounds well enough to prevent scars in the first place, plus how to minimize ones that have already formed.