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How long does it take for topical scars to really work?

welcome to Ask a beauty editor, our new column in which Sarah Jacoby, Editor of Health and Beauty at SELF, is on the hunt for scientific answers to all your questions about skin care. You can ask Sarah a question at askabeautyeditor@self.com.

How long would it take for topical scarring creams to make a difference in the appearance of scars? I have a lot of legs on my legs because I am active on the outside, but it seems to me that the creams just help me out OR that I am so frustrated with the process that I'm having. abandons the diet too quickly.


Depending on how you look at it, a scar may be a physical sign that you went through something intense– or a boring mark on which you would prefer to apply a cream until disappearing in the void. Anyway, it helps to know a little about scars before trying to treat them for yourself.

The first thing to know about scars is that they are not always what they seem. What we commonly call acne scars, for example, is not always considered to be true scars. The dark spots that appear after the healing of the pimples are actually skin pigmentation changes related to inflammation (technical term: post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), Shari Lipner, MD, dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York -Presbyterian. Hospital, says SELF. No topical treatment of scars will really work because they are not scars.

But it looks like you're specifically wondering about scars from injuries, which are almost certainly the real deal. In this case, I have bad news: you can not imagine it – these over-the-counter topical creams containing vitamin E or onion extract really not a lot of evidence behind them, Says Dr. Lipner. "I do not recommend them," she adds.

However, she Is recommend that his patients with scars use a moisturizing cream with ointment or petrolatum in the area two or three times a day for months (either just after training, or each time you start using them), as well as for perfect protection from the sun (by covering the area or use a sunscreen) to no longer darken the scar.

Your dermatologist may also use treatments such as laser treatments or corticosteroid injections to aid the healing process, which are particularly helpful in the case of: keloid scars. They could also prescribe a topical steroid or retinoid reduce the appearance of your scars.

With scars, however, it is essential to give them time to heal, which may be longer than you think. In fact, it could take months or even years for the scars to be less visible, says Dr. Lipner. As with so many other things about your skin, the speed and efficiency with which your scars heal vary a lot from one person to the other. It depends on the severity of the initial injury, how you treated the area at the time and the normal pigmentation of your skin (people with darker skin tend to have more difficulty presenting hyperpigmentation).

That said, if the scar is healed (say it's been a few years) and you use over-the-counter scar cream for months without luck, maybe it's time to try something new.

If you are frustrated with trying to treat your scars at home, your dermatologist can help you assess how realistic your expectations are for your personal constellation of scars and how best to fill them. "If you've waited long enough and your scars do not satisfy you, we can do a lot of things," says Dr. Lipner, including laser treatments and prescription steroids.


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