Harry Crews, American writer, once wrote “There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with.” To which we say: Word. Yes, scars can be beautiful. But if you don’t want to live with them? No judgment in wanting them gone. There are ways to treat unwanted scars, and there are natural methods to helping them along the road to “less distinct.”
Sometimes, scars are just random. So how best to treat the time you ran into your coffee table or the burn you received getting those midnight toffee sugar cookies out of the oven? I have a scar on my knee that makes me look like this awesome athlete as people often ask if it is an ACL surgery scar. Yes! Or maybe I just ran into my bureau, aka the dresser from the movie “Saw.” Maybe.
Contracture scars happen when your skin has been burned, causing the skin to tighten up. Keloid scars can form over the original injury and can be large. Acne scars can simply remind us of parts of teenage years that didn’t involve first kisses or rocking the SATs. New scars are usually dark, red, and raised. No matter what you do, tiny traces of scars will always remain.
Further, scars can take up to 18 months to form. For many injuries, you want to wait until you are completely healed before tackling any scar tissue issues. You can ask your doctor, who might suggest costly laser treatments. Some also recommend Mederma. This product is known to be fairly effective. However, it rates a 5 from Skin Deep, partially due to an unnecessary overload of fragrance in the product. It also contains PEG-4, a solvent, which is rather toxic.
So what’s a naturalista to do? Some experts feel that sandalwood is one of the most effective ways to naturally treat scars. Sandalwood, popular in Asia, has “antiseptic, anti inflammatory, cicatrisant, disinfectant, and emollient” properties that can help along scars. Apply a sandalwood paste with rose water. As per one recipe, mix a tablespoon of organic/responsibly-farmed sandalwood powder with a few drops of rosewater. Mix into a paste and cover your scars with it. Leave on for thirty minutes and rinse off with warm water. Some also suggest leaving the paste on overnight.
Others suggest slathering organic ampoules of vitamin E on your scars. This is a fat-soluble antioxidant that can influence the production of collagen, effectively plumping up skin. While some experts claim vitamin E is useless against scars, others recommend using it in large amounts.
Onion extract is also known to be a natural remedy for scars. In fact, it is a key ingredient in Mederma. While some studies claim onion extract has no effect on scars, others show that it can help soften and fade – though some claim this is a placebo effect.
Wheat germ is used in many countries to prevent scarring from burns. Skincare expert Angela Imperato of OC Skin Secrets in Toluca Lake, California, recommends Dr. Grandel’s wheat germ Epigran Ampoules 5 in a box ($39). As Angela explained to me, “wheat germ with vitamin E is makes a natural anti-inflammatory moisturizer that can help a burn heal with less scarring.”
And finally, honey is deemed a natural superstar for scar banishment. Used for centuries to treat burns and dress wound, it does keep the recovering skin moisturized, which will encourage new tissue growth. Honey also has antibacterial properties – and for the love of Pete, make sure it is organic. Here’s an excellent step-by-step procedure on how to use honey to heal.