Scar and Stretch Mark Treatments

There actually are ways to lesson the appearance of scar tissue, including laser therapy and some topicals, if used early.

Posted May 5,2019 in Lifestyle.

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Scar and Stretch Mark Treatments

Fascinating fact: Stretch marks are a type of scar. When skin is stretched  or wounded, new collagen fibres form  at the stressed spots as part of the healing process, leaving stretch marks behind. There’s  no sure-fire way to prevent stretch marks and other scars, and they’re difficult to get rid of entirely, says dermatologist Dr Rebecca Baxt. Some remedies, however, promise to reduce  their size or appearance, or to erase them altogether. We’ve fleshed out how well these treatments actually work.

TOPICALS

WHAT THEY ARE: Available in pharmacies,  these creams, body oils, serums and silicone  gel sheets claim that their active ingredients  will shrink scars or even prevent and fade  stretch marks.

WHAT WE KNOW: So far, the study results  are mixed. “Research has failed to support  the claim that products containing cocoa  butter, vitamin E or olive oil improve stretch marks,” says dermatologist Dr Meghan Feely.  But those products that contain retinoids or hyaluronic acid may repair damaged collagen  or stimulate the production of new collagen,  Dr Feely reveals, adding that the extract of  a medicinal herb, centella asiatica, is also  showing promise.

SHOULD YOU TRY THEM? Topical treatments are generally safe, but it’s likely they won’t deliver huge results. Try them when marks are still pink or red, since making them fade is even harder once they mature, Dr Feely says.

NON-SURGICAL PROCEDURES

WHAT THEY ARE: A dermatologist can administer laser therapy, microneedling and dermal fillers. Laser therapy shines beams of light on skin to target inflammation and collagen. Microneedling delivers tiny punctures, the healing of which is said to rejuvenate skin. Dermal filler injections aim to even out indented scars or bumpy skin.

WHAT WE KNOW: These treatments work.  With laser therapy, the light is absorbed by the skin, prompting remodelling of collagen and reducing inflammation that can make blemishes more apparent. Dr Feely says microneedling  works because the “wound healing cascade” prompts collagen and elastin generation. Injections containing hyaluronic acid fill in  pitted scars, while raised scars can be shrunk  with corticosteroid injections, Dr Baxt adds.

SHOULD YOU TRY THEM? Yes, but they’re pricey. You’ll need a course of three to six treatments, so expect to pay between $500  and $2000 for a course.

SURGERY

WHAT IT IS: A plastic surgeon cuts out an old scar, leaving a new, neater scar that can be faded with  a treatment like laser therapy, Dr Baxt explains.

WHAT WE KNOW: There’s no surgical option for removing stretch marks, but people with large, raised or jagged scars may prefer the smaller scars that remain after surgery.

SHOULD YOU TRY IT? Only if your scars are severe and you’re certain that this is likely to provide you with a perfect result.