Surgical technology has developed to the point where scarring is either minimal or doesn’t occur at all. But it’s sometimes unavoidable: some people are more prone to scarring and some places on the body are more prone than others – wounds don’t have to be deep or severe to leave a scar.

The best way to avoid scarring following cosmetic surgery is to follow your surgeon’s wound care regimen after the procedure, but there’s always a small chance some minimal scarring may linger. If this is the case for you, there are a range of proactive treatment options available to help reduce scarring, from natural ointments to surgical procedures.

Scarring is a natural part of the healing process after an injury. Appearance and treatment depend on multiple factors. For instance, scars tend to develop in areas of skin that are under tension or pull, such as the chest, shoulders and back. To help prevent scars in such areas, avoid exerting or stretching that area while your wound heals. In addition, age, ethnicity, gender and hereditary factors can influence how severe your scarring can be, as can the severity of the trauma. As always, preventative measures usually result in the most successful outcome: proper treatment of a wound or incision is the best way to reduce scarring.

There are several types of scars:

Keloid scars
Usually the result of an overly aggressive healing process. They usually extend beyond the original injury and may hamper movement over time.
Contracture scars
These are usually caused by burns. They tighten the skin and can sometimes impair movement.Deeper contracture scars can even affect muscles and nerves.
Hypertrophic scars
These are raised, red scars that are similar to keloids but do not go beyond the boundary of the injury.

Methods to reduce or remove scarring

Be SunSmartWear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Also, try to keep the scarred area covered – be this wearing a hat, sarong or t-shirt. Protecting yourself from UVA and UVB rays is vital for minimising a scar and preventing hyper-pigmentation. If you’re in the sun without protection, you risk causing discolouration, inhibiting the healing process or even worsening the problem.

A range of natural options are available that can help to reduce the appearance of scars: active manuka honey, bio oils, pure aloe vera gel and many more creams and ointments. Most of these are available over the counter at a pharmacy or from certain beauty and holistic medicine retailers.Regular use of such treatments over a long period of time can help to reduce or remove scarring completely.

There are also a range of prescription treatments available – such as silicon gel sheeting, steroid injections or bleaching creams. If you think such treatments are right for you, consult a physician or dermatologist.

If other methods are ineffective or the scarring is severe, alternative possibilities include surgical scar revision procedures, and non-surgical procedures like laser resurfacing, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion. Again, if you are considering such options, we suggest you consult a physician or dermatologist.

Remember – each person is different. What may work for one person may not work for another. A simple process of trial and error can help you discover the best method for repairing your scarring.