Myths About Blemishes and Scars, Popped!November 28, 2016
Who doesn’t want smooth, blemish-free skin? Unfortunately, this is not always possible. When your skin has been damaged, scarring may take place during the healing process. Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replace your normal skin after an injury. Scarring doesn’t just occur because of injuries. Acne, which is a long-term skin condition, is characterised by patches of blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, and greasy skin, and may result in scarring if the skin become inflamed.
It can be distressing to have unsightly patches of acne or scars on our body, which is why there are scores of articles out there offering “home remedies” to get rid of these blemishes and scars. Growing up, you may have also received a mixed bag of advice for dealing with blemishes and scars. However, before trying any of these DIY skin treatments, it is worthwhile finding out what the experts have to say.
Dr Ang Por, consultant dermatologist at Dermatology Associates, debunks some of the common myths surrounding blemishes and scars.
Myth 1: Taking dark soya sauce when you have chicken pox may result in the spots darkening.
“Not true. It’s a common Chinese belief that taking dark soya sauce while healing from any wounds causes marks. There is no logic for this. Exposure to sunlight, on the other hand, can stimulate pigmentation. So it is advised not to get too much sun after treatments like laser.”
Myth 2: If I have pimples, I should shrink it with Axe Oil.
“Not true. Pimples are best treated with acne medication like benzoyl peroxide, topical antibiotics or prescription medication like retinoids. Axe Oil has menthol and methylsalicylate, which can cause irritation if too much is used on the face.”
Myth 3: Tanning can help to “hide” my scars and/or blemishes.
“Yes, tanning may darken the skin so pigmented marks are less obvious but frequent or uncontrolled tanning may cause other skin problems like pigmentation, sun damage or even skin cancer. So it is best avoided.”
Myth 4: There is no way to remove scars, short of going for laser treatments.
“Yes, only if the scar is caused by an injury that affects the deeper dermis level. But all scars improve with time. Even lasers can only improve the appearance of scars, not remove them completely. Marks are different. These are temporary red or brown blemishes that will resolve with lightening creams, intense pulsed light or certain lasers, or just time.
Silicone gel may prevent keloids and hypertrophic scars. Many doctors prescribe it post-surgery, for example, after a Caesarean section. Old established scars are treated with either lasers (fractional laser, laser resurfacing for depressed scars; or pulsed dye laser for red scars), surgery (excision or subcision) or steroid injection into the scar tissue (for keloids).”
Myth 5: “Popping a pimple only when it is ‘ripe’ can prevent scarring.”
“There is no scientific evidence for this. If the pimple is deep, like nodulocystic acne (a severe form of acne), it can cause scarring with or without popping. Having said that, repeated squeezing can probably do more damage to your skin so it’s safest not to squeeze any pimples. The best way to prevent scarring is to seek treatment as early as possible.”
Myth 6: “I can lighten my scars by squeezing lemon juice on it.”
“Just like there’s no evidence for soya sauce darkening scars, there is no evidence for lemon juice helping to lighten scars. In fact, lemon and limes can cause phytophotodermatitis, which is a chemical reaction that makes one hypersensitive to ultraviolet light. This is why you often see people coming back from tropical holidays with bizarre streaky red or brown marks on their hands or legs. This could happen if they came in contact with lemon or lime while eating, and then going under the sun.”
Unfortunately, skin inflammation or damage will always be part and parcel of life. However, you can prevent infection and ensure more rapid healing by ensuring that you treat skin inflammation or trauma early. Keep your skin clean, and do not scratch or peel wounded skin.