When it comes to scars, the first thing that comes in one’s mind is that whether his/her skin tissue can be returned to its original state. Till now it might have been realized by you that there are invasive and non-invasive approaches to scarring treatment. Non-invasive methods such as Hippocrates at-home scarring treatment typically costs much less than invasive methods such as laser resurfacing. At first, let’s take a look at the costs and recovery time. Basically, these are two important factors when considering any of these scar-reducing procedures.
Efficacy of each approach is another factor that now comes into play. Scar type and depth are the factors on which this is dependent. Deep scars cannot be completely eliminated by any of these methods. However, all improve their appearance and make a scar more superficial. You should also consider some other factors such as skin color and type to decide which one works for you. At first, you should decide for which procedure you want to go for scar removal, invasive or non-invasive. If you decide to go for an invasive procedure, then a plastic surgeon can help you with the rest of your questions. Scar removal surgery is a popular option.
There are two main categories among non-invasive procedures. They are silicon sheets and cell turnover accelerators. For only hypertrophic scars or a scar remained as a result of surgery, silicon sheets are indicated. On acne scarring, silicon sheets may not have any effect. We can name alpha hydroxy acids or AHA, beta hydroxy acids or BHA and retinoids among cell turnover accelerators. In many common fruits such as pineapple, berries, grape and sugar cane, Alpha-Hydroxy Acids or AHA, which is a compound, is naturally found. Among them glycolic acid, found in sugar cane and sugar beets, have been used more prominently in cosmetics. The main action of AHA is to accelerate shedding of skin cells in the topmost layers of the skin by decreasing their cohesiveness. If glycolic-acid-based products are used continuously, it may result in a smoother epidermis and to some extent elimination of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads). AHA generally can enhance the penetration of other agents and nutrients such as Vitamin C, Zinc, amino acids, essential fatty acids and ceramids in doing so. Glycolic acid helps to restore the barrier function of the skin simultaneously, thereby increasing the moisture content of tissue. Many evidences suggest increase in collagen production in dermis layer with use of AHA. Glycolic acid can make the skin more sensitive to the effects of the sun’s UV rays. Therefore, it is essential that we use effective sunscreen. Some questions may now arise such that can AHA alone be used for treatment of a scar? How significant is AHA’s effect in reducing a scar? In answer to these questions it can be said that the success of glycolic acid products is determined by pH and concentration of AHA. However, glycolic acid products in available highest concentration and in lowest pH that is tolerable by skin cannot treat scars by themselves.
Another group of cell turnover accelerators, which are derivative of aspirin and naturally can be found in willow bark, are beta hydroxy acids. Salicylic acid is the most well known BHA. It is claimed by some authors that BHAs are stronger exfoliants than AHAs and interestingly more gentle to the skin. The treatment of blackheads and comedone clearance can be done with the help of Salicylic acid, which is effective in pore clearing. Even though overall somewhat smoother skin is the result, use of BHAs alone for treatment of scarring is not very promising.
Retinoids are derived from Vitamin A. You can find retinoids either in alcohol form (retinol) or acid form (retinoic acid). Unlike their close structures, retinol and retinoic acid seem to act very differently on epidermal tissue. Retinol is very hydrating to the skin as it helps to restore the barrier function of the skin. On the other hand, retinoic acid is very drying and irritating to the skin. Retinoic acid’s keratolytic effect is different from that of retinol. Retinoic acid causes the desquamation of skin tissue and dead cells get separated more readily (smoother skin). It also appears to help collagen synthesis (firmer skin and fewer wrinkles), as well as redistribution of melanin (skin pigment) by which the skin gets an even-tone.