Scars, can be an unsettling and unsightly reminder of previous traumas—accidents, prior surgeries or severe acne. Even when they can’t be completely be removed, they can be revised into a new, more aesthetically pleasing and less noticeable scar.
“Scar revision is taking an existing scar and remodeling or camouflaging it,” says Dr. David Robinson of Indiana Plastic Surgery with offices in Munster and Valparaiso, noting that scar revision also can help improve the skin's function and can provide positive emotional and cosmetic results.
Depending upon the scar, plastic surgeons like Robinson can offer several surgical approaches to scar revision based upon the size, shape and depth of the scarred tissue. The best candidates for such surgeries, he says, include non-smokers because they usually heal more quickly. In some cases, non-surgical treatments can be beneficial such as microdermabrasion, injection treatments or laser scar removal.
“There are also creams and lotions for addressing scars,” says Robinson. “Some are available over the counter but the best usually are prescription or medical care skin creams.”
Robinson also offers corrective procedures for stretch marks which can be caused by pregnancy, excess weight gain and genetics—in other words if your mother had stretch marks, you’re likely to have them too. Indiana Plastic Surgery also offers microdermabrasion, medical grade skin products and laser treatments.
For more severe stretch marks, even surgery is an option.
“One of the most reliable ways to surgically excise skin with stretch marks is like the way we do tummy tucks,” says Robinson about the procedure that tightens the skin, making it smoother.
As for preventing stretch marks, Robinson says there’s some evidence that people, particularly pregnant women should keep their skin moisturized with coconut oil.
At Healing Arts Center in Valparaiso, Renee Kimberling, ND, RN, uses Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET) to treat scars. “Scar tissue can affect people both internally and externally,” she says. “NAET uses different therapies and includes principles of Chinese medicines that work with the energy in the body as well as acupuncture to impact the nerves coming out of the spinal column. It reboots the computer in the brain to read their sensitivity as a friend rather than a foe. It’s a very subtle technique that’s applicable for all groups.”
Kimberling says that both scars and stretch marks can benefit with such topical treatments as coconut oil which contains Vitamin E as well as anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. Besides providing a defense against yeast and fungus, coconut oil can help in reducing the appearance of scars and stretch marks and also make the skin suppler. Jojoba oil is also a good treatment because of its natural healing properties as well as its ability to sooth, moisturize and restore the skin’s texture.
“Both jojoba and coconut oil, which can be found at any reputable health food store, are helpful,” says Kimberling, “because they’re emollients with a lot of healing power.”