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Scars and stretch marks are some of the most difficult cosmetic conditions to treat, but can be the source of frustration for many people. At the Dermatology Institute of Southern California, Dr. Daniel Behroozan and his dermatology team offer a variety of options to help treat the most stubborn stretch marks and scars that may be bothering you.
Despite the amount of products available, there is NO treatment currently on the market that can get rid of these, or any of the other forms of scarring quickly. Scar and stretch mark reduction require consistent treatments over a long period of time, and often require more than one treatment method used in conjunction with one another – in addition to proper skin care maintenance. Be *very* cautious about any products or providers that can claim otherwise.
*Remember – scars & stretch marks cannot be 100% removed, no matter where you go or what method you use, as they are a natural process of the body. These treatments are intended to improve the appearance of the scar, not eliminate it completely.
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Sun exposure should be limited as much as possible before a treatment. No tanning should be done at least 2 weeks prior, and sunscreen with SPF30 or higher should be used every day. Let your doctor know about any medications you are taking or conditions you have as well before your treatment. Smoking not only slows down the healing process, but also increases the risk of larger scars. Frequent consumption of alcohol and high amounts of caffeine while the wound is healing dehydrates the body and skin, and should both be avoided in the interim.
Because these treatment methods require breaking up the old scar and the body must develop new collagen in its place, results will continue to improve over 3-6 months usually. This does vary, however, depending on the treatments used and your body’s own natural healing process. Multiple treatments may be required as well, which can affect the timeframe. Your doctor will be able to provide you with a better timeframe of when you can expect to see results after your treatment regimen has been completed in full.
Taking care of a new wound as soon as you receive it is one of the best things you can do to mitigate the appearance of a scar. Some things to keep in mind are: Hydration – Proper hydration is especially important while a scar is healing. Scars should be kept well moisturized and well hydrated. It is a misconception that scars should be aired out to dry. This not only causes scabbing which takes even longer to heal, but can potentially cause even MORE scarring. Nutrition – Having a balanced diet with adequate protein intake is important. Protein makes up the building blocks of healing skin, and facilitates the healing process. Additionally, excess body fat in those who are overweight can impede the skin’s ability to close the wound seamlessly. A healthy body weight ensures that the body is able to perform the healing process more efficiently. Sun exposure – UV radiation from the sun is bad for the skin, and in the case of scarring, can make them appear darker and allow more discoloration. Sunscreen with at least SPF30 or above helps limit the discoloration and protects against the radiation from the sun. Cleanliness – any bandages or wrappings that are used in the area need to be kept clean. The wound should be properly washed and maintained in order to wash out any germs and debris. Hydrogen peroxide should be avoided, as this damages the skin even further. Instead, fresh wounds should be cleaned using soap and water. Stitches are recommended for deeper scars, as this helps the skin heal more smoothly and minimizes the appearance of the scar.
There are many common home remedies that are said to help with reducing the appearance of scarring and stretch marks, such as aloe vera, honey, olive oil, and cocoa butter just to name a few. Some of these remedies do help soften and exfoliate the skin, and don’t do any further harm. However, no studies have proven these treatments to be effective in reducing the appearance of scars. The treatments offered by a medical professional have research and evidence to prove their effectiveness in reducing the visibility of scarring & stretch marks.
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