A man with scars on his chest and torso.What is a scar?

Scar is a buildup of fibrous protein called collagen after any injury to the skin. Some scars are invisible to a naked eye, while others can be very thick.

How can I treat the scar?

The best treatment is the prevention, so one week after surgery, if approved by your surgeon, you may start applying Embrace Scar Treatment once weekly for up to eight weeks. This commercially available dressing will reduce post-surgical skin tension and make scars less visible. Other options include silicone gel (brand name ScarAway gel, Scarguard MD) or silicone gel sheet (brand names Scar FX, ScarAway sheets, ScarSheet MD). Silicone gel is applied twice daily. Silicone gel must be perfectly dry before you put clothes on. You can speed up drying by using a hair dryer. Silicone sheets are left over the scar 12  to 24 hours per day for 6 to 12 months.

Should I see my health care provider?

If you are not entirely sure that you are dealing with a scar (some skin cancers such as basal cell carcinomas may look very similar to a scar), if scar is rapidly growing, if scar is itchy or painful, you should see your health care provider.

How can my health care provider help me?

There are several treatment options such as very strong steroid ointments (e.g. clobetasol or halobetasol) that can help with itching and can reduce the thickness of the scar, steroid shots into the scar (e.g. triamcinolone acetonide), surgical revisions (cutting out the scar) and lasers (e.g. Fraxel). If nothing is helping, then cosmetic camouflage, or even decorative tattooing are options for selected individuals.

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