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NOW READING Creative Approaches To Minimizing Scars Safely and Effectively
June 22, 2020

Creative Approaches To Minimizing Scars Safely and Effectively

As I’ve shared in a few previous articles, I am a two-time skin cancer survivor and am cancer-free – for the moment. As a native of Southern California, I spent most of my life working on the perfect tan and am now paying for that decision.


 

Like many people, I always believed I looked better bronzed.  Although I take responsibility for my reckless tanning habits, my surgical scars are visual reminders that can’t be avoided. Even more so during warm weather when I wear skirts, shorts and pull up my hair and my scars are on full display in all of their glory.

 

 

Woman with post surgery scar from carcinoma cancer surgery
Post surgery scar from Basal Cell Carcinoma surgery in 2017

 

 

 

Leg showing scar from melanoma cancer surgery
Scar from melanoma cancer surgery in 2019

Caption: Melanoma surgery, 2019

 

 

Heal First Then Take Action

 

I don’t know if there’s anything more shocking than the moment the surgical bandage comes off, and what’s actually transpired smacks you in the face. There’s theoretical preparedness and then there’s the up-close-and-personal, gut-wrenching reaction to a scar.

 

Chances are you’ll feel obliged to dive right in and start correcting the damage, but please don’t. Follow exactly what your surgeon advises and do not apply anything other than what is recommended until you’ve been cleared to do so.

 

Given I have years of experience treating my own significant scars and have had some success, I’m sharing my regime in hopes that you will find it useful as well. After receiving the green light from the doctor, grab your trusty texture-improvers, pigmentation-faders, and collagen-encouragers and create your own scar care routine.

 

 

 

 

My Approach Involved:

 

  • AHAs and tretinoin to improve skin texture
  • Vitamin C and niacinamide to fade pigmentation
  • A cell-renewing ampoule to amplify the other potions and serums

 

 

Get Crafty With Your Skin Care Products

 

Eco Your Skin’s Meso Ampoule is meant to be used as the last product in your facial care regime as it helps force the underlying products deeper into the skin thanks to “micro-needles extracted from marine components” (freshwater sponges). It has the consistency of a thin emulsion and stings slightly when applied. This was a product I found intolerable on my face and neck but couldn’t bear to discard it because of the $100+ price tag. Today, I’m thrilled I held onto it because using it twice weekly has left my melanoma scar surprisingly smooth and almost flat.

 

Restorsea founder Patti Pao recently shared how using the Revitalizing Eye Cream on her knee replacement scar was quite effective. “I think the reason why the Revitalizing Eye Cream worked so well,” she tells Beautytap, “is because our proprietary hatching enzyme, Aquabeautine XL®, works on the dead skin cells (which comprise the scar tissue) and its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce the swelling and the redness.” Additionally, she believes that “the hesperidin in the product [the white skin found on the inside of every citrus fruit] also helps to stimulate circulation, bringing blood to the healthy tissue,” thus helping to heal the scar.

 

 

Visit Your Dermatologist For Advanced Treatment

 

Not everything can be cured by at-home treatments. Board Certified Dermatologist, Ava Shamban, M.D., founder of SkinFive, AvaMD Clinics and co-host of The Gist, recommends different approaches depending on the scar and whether or not it is raised or sunken. “For red scars,” she says, “laser treatments can help. Brown scars can be lightened with a combination of Adapalene [a retinoid], hydroquinone [a skin-lightening agent], and aloe vera, which has anti-inflammatory properties.”

 

 

My particular scar is indented due to tissue removal, and Shamban advises that fillers could help to improve it. “For raised scars, fractional laser resurfacing can also help,” she adds.

 

~ ~ ~

 

Ultimately, treating my scars with the same attention I give my face has helped me feel a bit better about them. They’re still the “ugly stepsisters” I wish I didn’t have, but they’re slowly transforming into things I can accept.

 

And, that’s the takeaway here – a reminder to love ourselves, scars and all. Scars are part of who we are and tell where we’ve been. How do you deal with yours?

 

Tracy is a "quality over quantity" word girl fascinated by eagles and life in a small SoCal mountain community. She believes in the now, has written professionally for 30+ years, and worships at the alters of serum and Sulwhasoo.

Beautytap

COMMENTS 31

vanessaramn

Wow, this is pretty interesting. This will touch a lot of people who have scars. I love how you embraced yours and told us about the AHA and also vitamin C and how it could help.

tracyteel

Thanks, Vanessa! :) Scars can really undermine a person's confidence, so I'll continue to look for products and procedures that can help others minimize theirs.

azuredream

I have learned that vitamin C is team player in a lot of treatment approaches. The eye cream is interesting, I might have to try that. Would you recommend the same approaches for long term scars?

tracyteel

Absolutely! Vitamin C and Niacinamide are staples in my routine, and I use them on new and old scars. They've really helped lighten them. Now, whenever I have a biopsy (which, sadly, happens every 3-6 months) I use those serums once the wound has healed. If you have an older scar that doesn't respond, ask your dermatologist for recommendations as well.

azuredream

Awesome, thank you for the information!

stephinitelyglam

Very informative article--especially if you get keloids or any other type of scar tissue! Definitely going to try this on my scars!

tracyteel

Thank you! I'm not prone to keloids (raised scars), but the scar on my neck is the exception. While there are dermatological procedures that can flatten these, I've decided to wear mine like a warning sign for the world to see.

stephinitelyglam

I am feel similarly. While my scars on my face are from an allergic reaction and not so much a warning. I have come to love wearing them and have stopped looking at procedures to fix it.

carriele

Excellent advise, Tracy! Skin cancer awareness is so important and applaud you for sharing! I personally have had to deal with scars of all kinds, from post-surgical to cystic acne. I agree that AHA's (peels) are helpful, as is microneedling with the addition of skin loving topical ingredients for skin health!

tracyteel

I'm glad you found it helpful, Carrie. I credit the K-beauty community for the AHA tip, which I would never have thought of trying five years ago. We're so lucky to have in-office and at-home treatments these days (as well as great online resources at Beautytap).

beautywithbrittany

Thank you for this brave and inspiring article Tracy! This is so helpful to those who have scars, regardless of the circumstances. I love the products that you recommended as well!! Super insightful.

tracyteel

Thank you, Brittany! I don't feel particularly brave ... mostly stupid for not heeding the (minimal) warnings about sun exposure in my youth. Sometimes, you have to show the world something shocking in order to make a point.

samanthajade

What a wonderful article! I am so happy you included the part about allowing your wound to heal. Also, loving who you are, scars and all, is very important. I am slowly embracing my slight acne scarring on my face and shoulders. These markings do not define me, but they are a part of me and tell part of my story. So, in order to love myself, I have to love all the parts that make up me. Thank you for this great article and for sharing your story!

tracyteel

Thank you, Samantha. I'm glad you're learning to embrace your scars as well. Never let them define you. They're conversation starters and proof that we're survivors.

suncatcherfx

Thank you so much for including the piece about making sure a wound is fully healed before putting different products on it! Something that works wonders otherwise could absolutely mean trouble for skin that’s doing its best to heal. Working in a dermatology office, we get asked about scars every day. I will definitely be passing on some of this fabulous info!

tracyteel

If you have any additional recommendations for scar care, especially past biopsies, I'd love to hear from you. I'm using niacinamide on my healed biopsy sites now, and I know there will be more in my future, so any tips are greatly appreciated.

suncatcherfx

Our docs usually recommend Celacyn scar gel. It has a modified silicone base and I’ve seen it have beautiful results for fresh biopsy sites and even some older scars (of course the older the scar the more difficult it is to fade). It’s pretty good at lightening the coloration of scarring and it’s my understanding the silicone is what helps to change the depth and texture of a scar. We sell it for around $50 but I’ve seen a huge range of prices at different pharmacies.

tracyteel

My derm recommends Celacyn, too. I'll pick up a refill at my next recheck in August. Thanks for the reminder!

sarahcontreras

This article is inspiring, and you are so amazing! I'm so happy to hear that you're cancer free! May you have a fast recovery! Sending much love!

tracyteel

Thank you, Sarah. Sometimes, you need to show the world the less attractive side of things to make a point. I don't want anyone to go through this, and since my journey is far from over, I hope others will heed the warnings and be sun safe wherever they go.

findingreilly

Thank you for this article Tracy. I’m about 2 weeks post-op (no worries, I’m nice and healthy!) but I’ve been very worried about how I’m going to deal with my scars, which are fairly extensive. Your words and advice have brought me some comfort, and I’ll definitely try out some of your recommendations (upon doctor approval of course!)

tracyteel

I'm SO glad you're healthy and that you mentioned that first. Your attitude toward your surgical scar is part of the recovery process, especially in the early stages. The best advice I got came from interviewing Dr. Shamban, was to ask your surgeon and dermatologist (after you heal) for guidance on further treatment. Take care!

jonaranastyle

Wow very touching and personal. Thank you for this Tracy. Your confidence is very inspiring and will help so many others hearing your story. The tips with your approach and example with Restoresea eye cream - All much needed education. Thank you looking forward to more articles from you.

tracyteel

Thank you so much for your kind words. I think of myself more as a poster girl for a sunscreen campaign captioned, "you don't want to end up looking like this, do you?". Here's the story behind the banner photo. The melanoma story will be here soon. https://beautytap.com/2018/07/skin-cancer-story/ Take care out there!

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