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.
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.
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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?