Scar removal, what works and what doesn't

June 10, 2013 2:55:37 PM PDT
There's folklore out there that says the juice of an onion can prevent a scar from a cut or a medical procedure. But putting the same stuff that burns your eyes on an open wound? There are other folk remedies out there to debunk, as well as some simple things that do work.

You can use a laser to make a scar disappear, but we're getting ahead of ourselves in preventing scars. Prevention certainly doesn't begin at the supermarket. We can at least debunk lemons as a scar reducer. There's folklore that lemon juice helps. But it probably hurts.

"I would not use onions or lemons on a scar,. You want to use something that soothing not irritating," said Dr. Gary Goldbenberg, with Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

Shopping for soothing? How about honey, that sounds soothing. Again, bunk.

"I dont recommend using something sticky after a procedure, especially on a very fresh wound," adds Dr. Goldenberg.

We're talking about little wounds like Amelia Whitney's after a mole removal.

To larger scars from surgical procedures. And reducing any scar is about keeping it moist.

Most times simple is best. Vaseline is oily. It keeps moisture in, and keeps germs out.

Aquaphor is another inexpensive grease. They're all designed to prevent hard scab formation, which can lead to ugly scars. The antibiotic in this ointment may do no better than vaseline, and can make you allergic to the antibiotic. Vitamin e oil may reduce inflammation in a scar. But the Vaseline is your basic starter.

Lauren Ditzian used it first on a mole removal, then on a cyst removal on her face.

You may have squeezed the sap from an aloe leaf on the skin to reduce irritation. It's a good moisturizer, but no better than a over the counter cream. Laser treatments get rid of the red color in a scar, and cost several hundred dollars for each treatment. They are not covered by insurance.