Scars are reminders of an accident, a surgical procedure, or another traumatic event. Though some might have a "cool" story ("This is when I slid into home plate!") others can have dark and painful memories connected to them. For clients who want to erase these reminders, we need to take some extra time and care before we launch into a procedure. Let’s look at what constitutes a scar and ways to minimize scarring to help them blend into surrounding skin unobtrusively.
A scar is a fibrous growth of collagen and epithelial tissue intended to repair an injury, either accidental or intentional, to the skin. An accidental injury could be due to a cut, a fall, or burn. A stretch mark is a scar in the skin, where the connective tissue has been damaged. The elasticity of the skin has not been able to expand in proportion to its needs. Stretch marks during pregnancy are the best illustration of this. Cystic acne can cause scarring as well as chronic picking at skin.
Scars take time for the fibrous tissue to reach maturity. A surgical scar can look deep pink in color and can protrude quite noticeably immediately after surgery but within about 6 months, the healing ridge of the scar will most likely flatten and the color will fade. Stretch marks can appear as angry slashes at first but time will turn them into silvery looking cracks.
Hypertrophic scars have excess growth of fibrous tissue so the scar is thicker and denser. Keloid scarring is an even more excessive growth of tissue that extends beyond the borders of the original injury.
Help to minimize a scar is a common request for an esthetician. Here are some ways to build a treatment plan to minimize scarring.
No matter what option you go with, reinforce the importance of sunscreen application to your client. We can’t remove a scar, but we can significantly blend its appearance into the surrounding tissue by using some of these tools in our toolbox.
Photo: Shutterstock | Makistock
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Mary Nielsen grew up in Minnesota but calls Portland, Oregon home for the past 30 years. She is the Executive Director of Spectrum Advanced Aesthetics Institute and serves on the board of Certified Advanced Estheticians for the state of Oregon. She is a happily married grandmother who has been thrilled to be working in the never dull field of advanced esthetics for over 17 years. She spends her free time outdoors or at her sewing machine.
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