Scars are the natural result any time the skin is lacerated below the surface level. Some scars that are very minimal will disappear naturally over time, but other scars that are deeper and more serious can be permanent.
If the scars are caused by life saving surgery, the patient is more likely to accept them unless they cause discomfort or embarrassment. Most people search for a way to remove or minimize scars that are visible or restrict movement, but eliminating them completely may be difficult or impossible.
The best way to minimize the effects of scarring is to be aggressive with proper care while the scar is healing. Surgeons typically attempt to excise the skin in an area where the scar will be less noticeable, but this is not always possible.
Most incisions will be closed with stitches that are removed approximately 10 days after surgery, but some smaller incisions are closed using steri-strips. This method considerably reduces the amount of scar tissue that will form.
It is recommended that a topical antibiotic cream is applied to the scab while the incision heals. Once the stitches are removed and the scabs are gone, silicone sheeting can help prevent the scar from thickening.
One problem with this product is how difficult it is to keep in place for the required time over the two month time period it requires. The sheets tend to fall off or roll up, so patients may find keeping the product in place difficult. One product that seems to solve the problem is fitted with velcro tabs that hold the sheet in place.
When the epidermal layer is completely healed, the resulting scar looks thin although it appears to be pink or red in most cases. However, scar tissue is continuing to grow beneath the surface of the skin so the scar may thicken and it may or may not lose all coloration. Sometimes patients do not think the scar will be a problem for them, but they are more concerned when it seems to be more noticeable after the incision is completely healed.
There is a variety of scar treatment products for both old and new scars available, but most of the topical creams will do little to diminish the appearance of older scars.
Perhaps the most effective scar reduction product for mature scars is a silicone sheet that works by softening and flattening the scar tissue.
Although these sheets have seemed to be effective, they are somewhat difficult to use. The product instructions advise that the sheet must be in contact with the scar for at least 12 hours each day, but normal activity can cause the sheet to fall off or roll up. It can also be difficult to Keep the product in place while sleeping.
Silicone gel sheeting is relatively new silicone scar reduction product that is thinner and more flexible than the previous silicone sheets. The sheets can be cut to fit the size and shape of the scar, and they stay in place better since they are self-adhesive. Patients are able to use the product long enough to see significant improvement in scars that previously caused them embarrassment and/or discomfort.
Another recent development in scar treatment is a silicone gel that can be applied in the same manner as a cream. The gel dries and remains in place until it is removed in the bath or shower, after which the gel can be applied again.
This is perhaps the simplest method of using silicone to reduce the appearance of scars, and there is no discomfort associated with the treatment.
Silicone gel scar treatments are completely safe, easy to use and non-toxic even for children or people who have sensitive skin. The products work by breaking down collagen while softening and flattening the scar tissue.
Some people have resorted to laser removal of their scars, but there is a danger that the treatment could make the scar worse. If laser surgery is to be used as a scar treatment, the scar should be completely healed before the procedure is done. Treatment that is done too soon could interfere with the healing process and the result could be a scar that is even more noticeable.