“I wanted to talk a little bit today about scars and I’ve had a lot of questions about them lately. A patient came in that had a long standing red scar that was caused by road rash. Basically fell, was in an accident and had a scrape on the pavement or asphalt and in many of those cases actually, you can have pigment get in to the skin which can cause permanent tattooing.

In this case, it really just caused a prolonged redness to the scar and redness means inflammation in the skin, in general. We can almost always treat that often times just with a topical medicine like a steroid. So those cases where I see a reddened scar, the first treatment of choice would be to use an anti-inflammatory and see if we can get that redness or something that might be causing a continuing redness to be reduced.

In many cases, its patients putting on home remedies, things like Vitamin E which is a plant protein that can cause inflammation and I’ve even seen cases of inflammation around scars from the use of aloe. While people think that aloe plants are magic, in many patients, they can be hypersensitive to aloe and because there’s other materials in there beside the healing ingredient in aloe and so we have to be careful about using these home remedies or homeopathic options if we’re seeing continued redness or irritation of this area.

If patients are seeing continued redness after the use of a trial with medical anti-inflammatory, there are other options such as photo rejuvenation or intense pulse light therapy which target the small capillaries or vessels that are in the scar that are a reflection of ongoing inflammation.

They do this by providing a flash of very bright light which can be limited just to the scar and it shrinks these vessels down. It will either sclerosis them, which means that they’re wall shrinks on themselves or burst them in which case you’d have a small bruise but the redness then would be permanently gone.

The downside to treating red scars is often we will unmask an area that is hypo-pigmented. In other words, we’ve gone from red , its redder than the surrounding skin to actually white or lighter than the surrounding skin. In those cases obviously, we have to do something about the width of the scar or the position or location.

In general, my experience with very superficial scars that are red are if we want acute treatments, we can do photo rejuvenation with good results and good blending with the surrounding skin or, in many cases we can use medical therapy to get the redness better. Redness is never permanent, redness is an inflammatory condition in the skin and one that we can always treat. So if you have a red scar somewhere, my advice would be to just get a topical cortico-steroid, or any of the number of brands that are out there. Court zone is another one, 1% that’s an over the counter, OTC type of product, and apply that twice or three times daily for several weeks and see if you can’t get that redness to fade. If that doesn’t work, you should see your local dermatologist or plastic surgeon and have them give you advice on how you can reduce the redness or options that might be available to improve it. It’s certainly not something that you have to live with.

If you have any questions about scars and red scars in particular, or just scars in general, you’re welcome to send me a picture at DrMaas.com, visit our website MaasClinic.com or you can always give us a call, I’d be happy to see you in consultation.

This is Corey S. Maas MDTM on Looking Your Best.””

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