Scarring: A common skin problem

Skin Care Matter

With Michelle Vernon

Sunday, May 27, 2018

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What is a scar? A scar is a mark left on your skin after an injury heals.

Most skin injuries can contribute to scarring, including cuts, burns, acne, chickenpox, ear piercing, scratches, surgical cuts, and vaccinations.

There are many types of scars and similarly, many ways to treat them. Scar- reduction treatments often take dedication or a great deal of time or money to see results.


Types of scars

Most skin scars are flat and leave a trace of the original injury that caused them; however, the following are some additional types of scars that may be seen by a skin care professional.

Hypertrophic scars: These scars are raised above the surrounding skin.

Keloid scars: With a similar appearance to a hypertrophic scar, these scars can grow outside of the original wound area (more severe).

Atrophic scars: These scars form a sunken recess in the skin, which has a pitted appearance.

Stretch marks: Technically called striae, these are also a form of scarring.

Contracture scars: Contracture (burn or underlying secondary issues) scars are very difficult to manage.

The colour of scar tissue can be pink, the colour of the person's skin, red or even dark brown. Among all types of scars, hypertrophic, keloid and contracture scars are the most unsightly and difficult to treat.



Current treatments for scars vary from over-the-counter topicals to the use of lasers, microneedling, radiotherapy, and surgery.

Topicals: Silicone gel, cream or sheets are the most common personal care products on the market used to treat scars. Topical products with vitamin E, aloe vera and onion extract, etc are available as well. These products can improve scar appearance to a small degree after eight to 12 months of use.

Laser: Ablative or non-ablative and intensive pulsed light treatments are used to treat scars. Both methods utilise light to promote a healing process in scar tissue. It can improve scar appearance but cannot completely remove hypertrophic and keloid scars. Improvement is usually seen after three to eight treatment sessions.

Microneedling: This is done with the use of a dermaroller which contains over 500 tiny needles. These tiny needles come in sizes that are used either for the face or for the body. By creating tiny holes in the skin, the dermaroller induces collagen formation which would minimise the appearance of the scar. Results can be noticeable after three months of consistent use.

Radiotherapy and steroid injection: These methods are rarely used, due to side effects.

Surgical excision: This is an effective scar-removal method if it is performed well. However, scar regeneration is a serious drawback (over 50 per cent). Moreover, it can be costly.


Home care

Scar tissue softening, normalisation and redistribution is a slow and time-consuming process. A synergistic home-care regimen after the professional treatment should be recommended to further improve the result of the procedure.

Vitamin A and its derivatives have the ability to change abnormal skin cells to normal skin cells. A concentrated vitamin A complex should be utilised after the professional treatment to help normalise the scar tissue further after medical attention.

Essential fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 oil can repair a wound or skin damage, and are important for skin health. Omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids can be utilised to condition and repair the scar tissue after professional treatment.

Potassium iodide at high concentr­ations has been observed to soften scar tissue and help reduce hypertrophic scars or keloid scars.


Michelle Vernon is a phlebotomist medical aesthetician who operates the Body Studio Skincare, located at 20 Constant Spring Road, Mall Plaza, Kingston 10, and Fairview Shopping Centre, Montego Bay. She may be reached at telephone 908-0438 or 684-9800; IG @ bodystudioskincare; E-mail:; Website: .

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