Scarred-for-life

Scarred for life


The bumps and scratches of life will rarely leave the average person physically unscathed. I don?t know a single person who doesn?t have a scar or two from an accident, a burn, from surgery, or just plain clumsiness. Love them – or hate them as the case usually is – we are scarred for life.

Scarring is part of the skin?s natural healing process. When we sustain damage to the layer of tissue under the skin, known as the dermis, a scar can form. Scars can appear in many different guises, from sunken pockmarks to shiny, pale slashes.

In our younger years, childhood illnesses such as the dreaded chicken pox can take their toll on the skin, leaving suffers with life-long scars. Such illnesses in adulthood, while rare, can be devastating.

“I got chicken pox when I was 25 and it was hell. I was totally paranoid about scarring because the spots were everywhere ? all over my face. A friend told me about a natural remedy, a combination of Vitamin E oil and an ointment called Rosa Scarless Healer. You had to mix the two together into a gooey gloop then dab it carefully on the sores. The sores never dried out properly into scabs (gross, I know!) so I didn?t really have to worry about picking or bumping them, which is what causes the scarring. I think this advice saved me as I only have one scar, and it?s actually in the place where I noticed the first spot appear.” Claire, 27.

Adolescence brings with it not only the trauma of puberty and living with parents seemingly from another planet, but self-esteem-destroying skin conditions like acne. If it?s not bad enough that you are covered in spots ? face, chest and back being the most common locations – acne has a nasty habit of scarring too.

Acne scarring can be treated through cosmetic procedures such as dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser resurfacing. Talk to your skin care professional about the combination of treatments suitable for treating these types of scars.

February 18, 2003

Scarred for life continued

If your scars tend to be raised, red, angry scars, then you have my sympathy. Such scars are called hypertrophic scars, and they appear when the body fails to produce new collagen to replace the old, broken-down stuff. Hypertrophic scars can feel thick, itchy and painful. These types of scars can be a great source of distress due to their severe appearance.Then there is my personal favourite – the keloid scar. Like the nasty hypertrophic scar, keloid scars come about because of faulty collagen production. Unlike hypertrophic, the insideous keloid actually spreads out from the size of the original wound, and can continue to stretch and take over the skin indefinitely. They too can be itchy and painful ? and worst still, their appearance may not improve over time. Nice.

Severe hypertrophic and keloid scars may in some instances be treated with steroid injections that can help to flatten and smooth the scar area. In addition, current research shows that these types of scars respond well to new non-invasive patch treatments.

?When my doctor told me I needed to have a largish mole removed from my breast, I freaked out. I scar really easily and the last thing I wanted was a big scar there! Not long after things had fully healed, I heard about a product called Elastoplast Scar Reduction patches could help reduce big, red scars. The patches are soft and self-adhesive. You cut them to fit the size of the scar and you are supposed to wear them at least 12 hours a day for 8 weeks. It was easy to keep up the treatment because you just replace the patch each morning after you?ve showered. After one month I noticed that the scar had become flatter and definitely a lighter pink in colour. After the second month I was so excited, the scar had really improved. Definitely $40 well spent.? Sally, 30.

It?s important to note that no scar can ever disappear entirely. Scars usually improve in appearance, naturally over time. But if you?d like to give nature a little bit of a hurry up, there are a few treatments that may put a smile on your face a little sooner. And while you may never learn to love your scars, in time you may grow to accept them as part of the unique package that makes you you!

February 18, 2003