Dark skin, by nature, is likely more prone to getting scars as it has more naturally occurring melanin in the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. Similarly, a little injury, wound, or hormonal change can make the production of melanin robust in darker skin compared to lighter skin.
Given any scenario, scars may impair the aesthetic of your skin. For this reason, it is vital to pursue a proper scar removal treatment, one that pinpoints the fundamental causes and begins a customized treatment regimen.
What are the types of Scars on Black Skin?
Absolutely, the types of scars that individuals with black skin (or darker skin tones) can experience are not exclusively unique to them but the appearance, treatment, and healing process might be different. Here are several types of scars:
Acne can leave different types of scars, often depending on the severity of the acne and the individual’s skin. Scars can be atrophic (depressed) or hypertrophic (raised), and keloid.
Atrophic scars are the most common type of acne scars and they can be distinguished from keloid and hypertrophic scars by their appearance – indented and depression in the area– after healing. They occur when underlying structures supporting the skin, like fat and muscles, are lost. Atrophic scars can be further classified into ice pick scars (deep and narrow), boxcar scars (wide and shallow), and rolling scars (wide and deep).
Hypertrophic scars are thick and raised scars that develop often after an injury. They can be red, itchy, or painful, but this usually improves over time. Hypertrophic scars or keloids are less common in acne and are more likely to occur after a more severe form of acne such as cystic acne. These scars remain within or grow beyond the boundaries of the original wound, respectively.
Keloid scars appear when the skin has excessive collagen production or can occur after any injury such as a cut, burn, or surgery. These scars are an extreme form of hypertrophic scarring where the scar grows beyond the boundaries of the original wound. Keloids can occur anywhere on the body, but they are most common on the chest, back, shoulders, and earlobes.
These scars occur when a large area of skin is lost or damaged, as in the case of a burn. The scar contracts as it heals, which can restrict movement if it occurs over a joint.
Chronic scratching or rubbing of eczema-affected skin can lead to skin thickening and scarring, a condition called lichenification. Eczema can also lead to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), leaving darker patches on the skin after eczema has cleared. PIH isn’t technically a scar but is a common skin change after inflammation in darker skin types.
What are the treatments for scars?
Scars and dark spots are two different things. As for dark spots, sometimes they can be removed using over-the-counter creams and ointments along with some home remedies. Still, it is recommended to use all the creams and ointments only on the prescription of a qualified healthcare provider.
Scars, on the other hand, require a little more care and concern than dark spots. The best way to get rid of scars on black skin is to opt for cosmetic procedures. There are numerous minimally invasive cosmetic surgery procedures that can help you treat scars.
At-home remedies for treating scars on black skin
Though scars can be more visible on darker skin, many remedies for scar care are universal, regardless of skin color. However, people with darker skin can be more prone to developing keloids, or raised scars, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, where the skin darkens following an injury. So extra care may be needed.
Here are some general tips and home remedies for treating scars:
Aloe Vera for scars
In some cases, applying fresh aloe vera can alleviate scars to the most extent. Aloe vera, by nature, is known for its healing properties and can help to soften and reduce the appearance of scars.
As a precautionary measure, protect your skin from direct sun exposure to avoid worsening scars. For this purpose, you can use clothes, hats, or a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Honey is a natural moisturizer and has been shown to expedite wound healing. Apply raw honey to the scar and cover it with a bandage overnight.
Healthy Diet and Hydration
A diet rich in protein, vitamin C, and zinc can promote wound healing. Staying hydrated is also essential for skin health.
Regular exercise improves circulation, which can help the scar to heal and reduce its visibility.
Remember to consult a dermatologist or other healthcare provider before starting any new treatments, especially if the scar is large, raised, painful, or located on a sensitive area of your body. Also, keep in mind that while these remedies can help to reduce the appearance of scars, they may not completely eliminate them. Laser treatments, fillers, or surgical revision may be necessary for some scars.
Over-the-counter medicines for scars
Several over-the-counter (OTC) products can be used to help manage and reduce the appearance of scars. These include:
Due to the antioxidant properties of Vitamin E, it sometimes helps people to reduce the deteriorating effects of scars by applying its oil to the scar. You should keep in mind that some people can experience a skin reaction when applying Vitamin E oil directly to the skin.
Silicone Sheets or Gel
Silicone sheets or gels are often recommended by doctors for scar care. They can help to soften and flatten scars and reduce redness. These are typically used once the wound has fully healed.
Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent that can help to lighten hyperpigmentation that can occur with scars. This should be used with caution as overuse can lead to further darkening of the skin. It’s important to use sun protection when using this product.
Products containing onion extract, such as Mederma, may help to improve the appearance of scars by reducing redness and softening scar tissue. However, some studies suggest these effects may be minimal.
Note: OTC treatments are most effective for newer, smaller scars. Large, older, or hypertrophic scars or keloids may require prescription treatments or procedures such as injections, laser therapy, or surgery.
Cosmetic Treatments for Scars on Black Skin
Cosmetic treatments have the potential to enhance your appearance by fading away scars and stubborn dark spots. However, the effects of every cosmetic treatment don’t last forever. You will have to undergo repetitive sessions for a specific time to maintain its results. Following are some of the prominent cosmetic procedures for getting rid of scars and dark spots on black skin;
Dermal fillers for scars have been in use for years now. In the process, the dermatologist injects collagen or any other appropriate substance under your skin to plump up your skin and fill the depression. For optimal results, you will have to inject dermal fillers every 6-18 months depending on your case.
A chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing it to exfoliate and eventually peel off. The new, regenerated skin is typically smoother and less scarred. However, some peels can cause pigmentation issues in darker skin, so it’s essential to choose a professional who has experience with diverse skin types.
This procedure uses focused light technology to remove or resurface damaged skin cells. Some lasers, such as fractional lasers, are safer for darker skin tones. Your dermatologist can help select the right laser treatment for you, considering the depth and color of your scarring.
This procedure uses small needles to puncture the skin and create a controlled skin injury. This triggers the body to heal itself, producing collagen and elastin, which can reduce the appearance of scars. Micro-needling tends not to induce hyperpigmentation, making it a potentially suitable option for darker skin tones.
This technology combines the benefits of microneedling with the skin-tightening effects of radiofrequency energy, and it has been shown to be safe for all skin types.
Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP)
PRP therapy uses injections of a concentration of a patient’s own platelets to accelerate the healing of injured tendons, ligaments, muscles, and skin.
This procedure uses a special instrument to gently remove the outer layers of skin, promoting new skin growth. However, it may not be recommended for darker skin types due to the risk of changing the skin’s pigmentation.
This surgical treatment involves the use of a small needle to break up the fibrous bands that are causing the scar, allowing the skin to lift and the scar to become less noticeable
Scars can be challenging to treat, regardless of skin type, but the approach can be even more complex with darker or black skin due to the risk of hyperpigmentation. Additionally, the goal of scar treatment isn’t necessarily to completely erase all scars – many scars fade over time on their own. Instead, the goal is often to reduce the appearance of scars to a point where they no longer cause distress or significantly impact the quality of life.
Why do you live with your scars when there is a tailored treatment available for you? Euromed Clinic is your go-to place if you really want to get rid of scars and dark spots on your body. Here, we have hired the services of qualified dermatologists and laser specialists who have years of experience under their belts. To book your appointment, please fill out and submit the following form or call us +971 4 394 5422