Scar Therapy

The lowdown on at-home and cosmetic procedures to minimize the look of scars.
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Silicone Sheeting, Mederma, and Microdermabrasion

Looking at a woman's scars is like taking a walk through her history: There's the one she got when she fell off a bike as a kid, the one left by a cesarean section. Although some scars are barely noticeable or covered up most of the time, prominent scars -- especially on the face -- can be problematic. Scars from injuries, surgeries, acne, and other traumatic effects are likely unhappy reminders as well as cosmetically unsightly. And while in the past people had to live with their scars, today, there are many options for making yours less noticeable. Here, some of your choices.

The method: Silicone sheeting
What it's good for: Raised scars and keloids (overgrown scar tissue)
How it works: Silicone sheeting is placed over a scar and surgically taped down. Dermatologists believe that the combination of the occlusive layer over the scar and the friction from the silicone sheeting actually reduces raised scars over time. And in fact, silicone sheeting can take weeks or months to work (and can make your scar itchy when you wear it).

The method: Mederma ointment
What it's good for: Smaller scars and new stretch marks
How it works: Mederma uses an ingredient derived from onion skins to help treat scar height and discoloration. Its manufacturer claims it will soften hardened scar tissue, too. Mederma comes in a gel formula, so you can apply during the day and no one has to know. Visible results, however, can take awhile to show up.

The method: Microdermabrasion
What it's good for: Raised and slightly pitted scars
How it works: Microdermabrasion uses tiny crystals to aggressively slough off the top layers of skin. By sloughing off enough skin, microdermabrasion can help even out differences in tissue, thereby smoothing out a raised scar or making a pitted scar less deep. If you have very sensitive skin, however, microdermabrasion may not be for you. The process naturally irritates the skin, which can cause further discoloration if you're particularly sensitive.

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