Any break on the skin is considered to be a wound, whether it occurs as a result of cutting oneself accidentally or from a surgical procedure. A wound can be a clean cut from a surgical incision or a jagged edge laceration. Wounds to the skin that involve both the outer layer of skin (the epidermis) and the deeper layer (dermis) produce scars when they heal. On the other hand, when only the epidermis is damaged, the cells re-grow and the skin heals without a scar.
Injuries from burn, accident mark, scrapes, bites, skin conditions such as acne, and many other infections may penetrate the dermis. Damaged areas of the skin are replaced by collagen (the body’s major structural protein that helps to hold cells and tissues together) which eventually shrinks and forms a pale scar line.
The size and characteristics of the ultimate scar depends on several factors including heredity, age, ethnicity, skin type and depth of the wound. Generally the amount of scar tissue formed is related to the length of time required for healing. A clean wound, such as a surgical wound, heals quickly with a neat, narrow scar. When a chunk of the skin is destroyed, healing leaves a scar of considerable size, as it is in some infections.
In the early stages of healing, the scar may be reddish and somewhat raised. As the scar tissue matures, the number of cells and amount of connective tissue fibers decrease and the scar generally becomes paler, softer and flatter- after a minimum of six to twelve months. But some scars do not follow this typical pattern. Tissue replacement is sometimes excessive and the scar is thick and elevated. Such a scar is called hypertrophic. When the connective tissue is only meagerly replaced, the scar is said to be atrophic. A thick scar that is greatly overgrown is called a keloid, which is prominent, harder, more irregular and thicker than usual.
Since scars form when normal dermal tissue is destroyed, the hairs, sweat glands, oil glands and pigment-forming cells which are normally found in the dermis are absent. Thus, scars are hairless and whitish in color. The scar area may also feel extensively dry because of the lack of sweat and oil.
Many flat, linear, neat scars fade and become less obvious as time passes and so may not necessarily require treatment. Scars though may be painless, are unsightly and discomforting. It is a stain on a person’s overall personality, for instance pitted scars such as those remaining after acne.
Scars can be faded with potions and creams which are readily available in the market. However, if you want to heal your scars naturally, you may try the following herbal applications available:
Aloe vera: this is one of the most commonly used herbal remedies for cuts, bites, burns and scar healing. The gel from the aloe vera plant contains substances that decrease pain and swelling while promoting healing, skin growth and repair. Aloe can be obtained as fresh gel, cream or ointment. Cut an aloe vera leaf into a longitudinally half. Scrape off the gel and smoothen the sticky gel over the affected area and let it soak. Repeat as often as necessary.
Cucumber– crush up cucumbers and apply the paste on scars. Repeat daily as needed. This will help to nourish and rehydrate scarred area thereby fading the scar.
Marigold (Aspiliaafricana; yunyun-Yoruba; uramejuna-Igbo) – the blossoms are very effective for wound dressing. It is applied topically as a cream or poultice made from the flower buds to stimulate production of collagen in wounds and surgical incisions. Marigold has the added benefit of providing some antibacterial activity, which helps prevent infection.
Essential oils- very effective natural remedy that will help remove scar. I love tea tree tea oil most for its antibacterial and antiseptic properties working wonders on scars. Dilute in carrier oil like almond or jojoba and apply daily and watch scar fade away.
Vitamin E– this will soften new scars. One of the best ways to apply it is to pierce a capsule and empty its content on affected parts and let set. Repeat as often as needed. Consume also daily as a supplement.
Vitamin C– very important vitamin for the formation of collagen and so increases the rate of tissue healing and deals with all wounds.
Bromelain: a natural anti inflammatory often used following surgery to reduce tissue swelling, allowing fast wound healing. Bromelain is taken orally, 500 mg daily.
Horsetail (misin-misin goro in Yoruba) – contains silica; restorative powers of the skin are promoted and increased by silica. Infuse one teaspoon of the dried, whole plant in boiling water for 15 minutes. Take 2-3 times daily and also apply the spent leaves on scars too.
Coconut oil-this is very effective in reducing a scar and ultimately making it invisible.
Pawpaw – a digestive enzyme, papain used chiefly in meat tenderizers is saidto soften any tough scar, even if they have formed keloid. Papain is in its most active form in green pawpaws.
Neem (dogonyaro)-the leaves and seeds are very beneficial. A poultice is made with a few leaves and applied on scars, especially the pitted forms. The juice from the seeds is applied directly on scars.
Shea butter- applying shea butter on scars will not only help them fade away, but also moisturize the skin making it smooth and soft.
Garlic-crush fresh garlic and mix with undiluted honey. Applying this mixture on the scar works great in removing such scar. You may decide to use garlic oil. Take a few drops of oil on your fingers and apply on the scars. Let the oil stay overnight. The antibiotic properties in both garlic and honey make them good disinfectants against many skin conditions.
Potato– the juice or paste from the poultice will gradually make scars fade away, fight pain and reduce inflammation.