In the lead up to Black Friday 2023, Priory addiction specialist helps to unwrap the…
I was attracted to the skin industry because I had acne, scar prone skin and I wanted to understand how to eradicate the scarring. As a natural redhead I am much more likely to scar than many skin types. As a teenager and young adult, I felt like I couldn’t go out in public without heavy makeup on to cover the scars and acne. Because of my own experience and professional training, I am very passionate about creating treatments and using homecare products to address multiple aspects of the skin. Scarring can be a by-product of acne, over aggressive treatments as well as physical injury. And did you know that scars are still changing and healing for 2 years after the original injury?
Acne scars aren’t the only scars I’ve suffered with. I suffered a 2nd and 3rd degree burn on my chest in 2017 that prevented me from even raising my left arm for 6 months. To do so was not only painful, it caused the skin to tear and bleed. When I went into the burn management clinic for treatment, once the skin began to close, the doctors recommended silicone sheets and silicone gel. Because of my personal experience with patients who have incurred facial scarring as well as scars on their body in visible areas, I had previously done quite a bit of research on silicone gels and knew that KELO-COTE® was one of the gels available, and also contained SPF30. UV rays could actually prevent a new scar from healing further, so naturally you would want an SPF to help heal the scar. Even though the burn was on my chest, I could still easily have UV exposure and wanted to make sure I could heal my scar as much as possible without having further treatment.
Two and a half years later my scar is smoother, hardly noticeable and whilst I sometimes have self-conscious pangs about it, I’ve actually not been asked about my scar in over 18 months – so it must not be very obvious. 4 months ago, I went out with friends and accidentally ended up with a quite deep scratch on my face – due to an extra exuberant move on the dance floor. I didn’t realize how deep it was initially and put a damp cloth on it and went home. When I woke up the next morning, I realized it had been bleeding all night, and was really quite deep. At that point, I decided it was too late to have the injury glued or stitched, so I thoroughly cleansed the area in preparation for the wound to start healing. Once healed, for the next 4 weeks I alternated between silicone bandages and KELO-COTE® UV gel, before moving on to solely KELO-COTE® gel. I saw massive improvements in my injury every single day. When moving from the bandages to the gel, I realized the top of the scar had become hypertrophic. This means that it was raised, and therefore very difficult to conceal. I started to become nervous when this happened and as a skin expert I went into my own clinic and applied simply 2 shots of radio frequency energy and a retinol cream on top. I then relied again only on the KELO-COTE® gel, and today have only a hairline scratch on the side of my nose that’s continuing to improve daily.
Scars can be debilitating for many and induce a self-conscious feeling in others. Just like any skin condition that causes the skin to look less than photoshopped and perfect, marks on the face and/or the body can easily lead to someone feeling insecure and uncomfortable with their appearance. But scars tell a story and are beautiful in their own way – as long as the skin is healthy, I believe scars are something that we should accept and even be proud of. After all, I was having a lot of fun the night of my dance floor wound, and wouldn’t want to be a wallflower just to avoid that mishap!
Scar treatment comes in many forms, most of which do cause down time and some discomfort. Sometimes we have to damage the scar tissue to encourage healthy skin cells and collagen to develop in its place. In my clinic this looks like needles, radio frequency and lasers and then 6-12 months of consistent homecare such as retinol, silicone and always SPF. But what if you do incur an injury? You don’t want to be consumed with how to prevent a scar, but you also don’t want to make a mistake that could make the injury even worse. After damaging your skin, it’s important to help your skin heal as well as possible. A healthcare professional can advise on how to look after your wound. Be sure to clean the area thoroughly with a gentle cleanser and keep the area hydrated. By hydrating the wound, you keep the tissue moist, causing the skin to continually heal. That’s why silicone gel or silicone of any kind is a great remedy for injured skin, because it creates a barrier that maintains the moisture balance of the skin to support the healing of the scar. But sunshine and UV rays (which are present even on the cloudiest days!) can aggravate your scars, especially during the healing period and can shorten the collagen strands, creating a tougher/ more obvious mark. That’s why SPF is critical in every stage of your wound-healing journey.
My top 5 tips for scar care are:
- Always keep the wound clean and covered until it is healed, or the skin is closed and no longer bleeding.
- Make sure the area or ‘scar’ is protected to lock in moisture – and this is where your KELO-COTE® comes in as the silicone forms a protective coating, maintaining the moisture balance – and underneath, your skin cells are continuing to heal.
- Massage the area 2 times per day for 2-3 minutes. It is best to massage at the same time every day. I recommend doing so when cleansing your face, or if on your body, after brushing your teeth. That way massage is consistently happening every 10 – 14 hours.
- Never ever go outside or even raise your window shade without SPF protection on your scar. Clothing is not always enough, so always keep covered with an SPF cream (hint: another reason KELO-COTE® is my top choice, it has SPF in the gel!)
- Do not fixate on your scar! Relax. Your skin will do its job as long as you follow the above tips, but it needs time. Skin grows slowly. Be patient.