To get the best results, it's important to show some serious TLC to the initial wound by allowing it to breathe, avoid smothering it with creams or getting it wet for long periods of time, gently cleaning the area, avoid picking scabs (this impedes the skin's natural healing process), keeping it out of sunlight and avoiding infection.
According to renowned Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr Harold Lancer and founder of Lancer Skincare, three factors contribute to just how much of your scarring is reduced: the circumstance of how and where the scar was created, the amount of time lapsed between time of creation and treatment, and the care you give the wound and the scar. If these three factors are followed you can get close to 100% reduction of the scar, according to the dermatologist to the stars. Here, Dr Lancer provides other key factors you should consider when it comes to caring for, and reducing the appearance of, scars:
1. Topical treatment is always the first port-of-call
"I always approach a client's scarring topically when they arrive for the first time at my clinic. There's no treatment other than topical skincare, because you needed to prime a scar for it to behave better. If scarring remains prominent after six months, a client may need resurfacing laser treatment or chemical peel. These are effective, but expensive and painful."
2. You've got a 36-hour window for the best (and cheapest) results
"In general, you should treat a scar within the first several days of it occurring. Waiting longer than 36 hours significantly increases the time and expense needed to improve the appearance of a scar."
3. Don't pick at your skin!
"Keep hands off of scars. Do not try to self-groom a wound; i.e. do not pick and do not self-administer medicine as this will only make scarring worse. Extreme weather climates and extreme sun exposure can also cause scars to appear more prominent."
4. Gently exfoliate the area
"As well as gently cleansing and using an antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory moisturiser, exfoliation stimulates natural protein production in the upper layer of the dermis, increases oxygen flow and encouraging enzyme protein production in the stratum cornea (the deepest layer of skin), triggering self-repair."
5. Look for nourishing skincare ingredients
"To really improve scar tissue, look for nourishing products containing vitamin A, which increases cell production in the skin's top layer. Your product should also include vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which helps to rejuvenate skin, and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant. Plant extract enzymes like aloe, pumpkin, magnesium crystaland enzomatic mechanic polishes, some sort of acidic acid or bleaching componentand thirdly something that restores the skin barrier like peptides, vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E. Peptides in general are important as they are amino acids that help to stimulate collagen production."
6. Only treat acne scars once the acne has stopped
"It is important that the acne is no longer active; there is no point in treating acne scars if the skin is still producing acne. Once the acne has gone, you can be left with pitted 'craters' or discoloration in the form of red or brown marks. To tackle this, you must commit to an exfoliate, cleanse and moisturise regime every evening for three to six months. Exfoliate each night - or every other if your skin is sensitive - to stimulate cell renewal. In the morning, simply cleanse and moisturise. The Lancer Retexturising Treatment Cream (£68) contains 10% glycolic acid and cell-function optimisers to help speed cell turnover, lighten discolorations, open pores, and enhance the effect of other treatments."
7. Minimise the use of make-up where possible
"I also recommend that people avoid camouflaging their scars with makeup. Covering scars with makeup will make scars worse as cosmetics are made from chemicals that increase inflammation. The more you try to hide the scars, the more likely it is that it will become worse and harder to hide."