A minor scar can remind you of the time you ran into the coffee table, or jumped off the playground slide, or grabbed a pan that was way too hot. Other scars can make you uncomfortable or embarrassed. But scars are actually just an important part of the body’s natural healing process, and that shouldn’t make you feel anything but blessed- knowing you have an entire body system working to protect you. If you are looking for a way to reduce the appearance of various scars, you may be happy to know that there are many natural ways to go about it. Here we will touch on the cause of scars as well as many natural cures for them-including the use of some of your favorite pure essential oils.
What causes scars?
When you get a wound, your body instantly goes into repair mode. Blood cells come to the site of the wound to protect the body from invaders and begin the process of clotting up a wound. As blood clots over a fresh wound, it will dry and form a scab. Provided you don’t pick at it, a scab will usually last no longer than 2 weeks, and will fall off on its own.
If the wound is deep, the skin around the wound will start to protect the dermis from sunlight and invaders. It does so by pushing collagen under the forming scab. Collagen is the protein found in the skin which gives it structure and makes it elastic. This rush of collagen is a repair mechanism, and – and it doesn’t care much for cosmetics. It is this protective act that results in what we call scar tissue.
Types of Scar Tissue
To get technical, there are four types of scars. They are named for the marks they leave- so we don’t get confused.
Hypertrophic. The most common types of scars. They leave the common trademarks of a scar- the slightly off appearance over a healed injury that doesn’t quite match the surrounding skin.
Keloid. These scars are much like standard hypertrophic scars, but in the case of Keloid scars, the body has trouble turning off the collagen response. This results in an overgrowth of skin cells, which can look like a benign tumor.
Atrophic. These scars have a sunken appearance, and are usually due to acne, chicken pox, or skin infections.
Striae Distensae. Better known as “stretch marks”, this scar tissue appears from trying to contain enormous amounts of love into a small human body. Very commonly experienced by pregnant mothers and growing teens, stretch marks are caused by the skin stretching beyond its normal capacity.
Scar tissue is made of the same cells as regular tissues, but it acts differently. Scar tissue does not contain sweat glands or hair follicles. It also does not contain sebaceous glands, so a scar may become dried out and itchy if left moisturized. Scars are also very sensitive to sunlight, and should be protected whenever possible.
Treating Scars Naturally
There are many natural remedies for reducing the appearance of scar tissue. While some pharmaceutical companies try to create creams and ointments to remove scarring, many people trust the methods of healing which have been used for centuries. The list of natural remedies for scars is quite long. Though we couldn’t fit them all, here are just a few ways to reduce scars naturally.
All those medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are great for the skin, and ever better for scar tissue! As an untreated scar can take up to 2 years before reaching its final stage, anything which can make the process faster is very welcomed Massaging coconut oil directly into the skin or using it as carrier oil for your pure essential oil blends are great ways to get daily use of the amazing healing benefits.
If you have a fresh wound that you don’t want to scar, find some raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, un- “messed with” honey and cover the wound with it, putting a bandage on top. Raw, unprocessed honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal. It also reduces inflammation, and contains antioxidants, minerals and live enzymes which are all important for healing and repairing skin. Use raw honey early enough on a wound and you may find yourself without a scar at all!
These same properties in raw, unprocessed honey can be used to reduce the appearance of scars over time. Massage a small amount of honey over the wound twice daily for 5 minutes, and let it sit for an additional 5 minutes before gently rinsing it off.
Great for sautéing Mediterranean artichokes and fading scars? Yes, olive oil is quite versatile. Olive oil contains high amounts of vitamins E and K, which work together to eliminate the appearance of scars on the skin. It can also be used to dilute your pure essential oils for topical application.
Essential oils for scar treatment
Thanks to a high concentration of active ingredients, pure essential oils lend themselves well to many of life’s little worries. Helping to heal scar tissues is just one of the many benefits of these essential oils, and each one can be explored further to find countless ways to use them.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has become the go-to first aid essential oil. It is antiseptic, astringent, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory-everything you need to dress a wound. While tea tree oil won’t help you reduce an existing scar, it can help reduce or eliminate scarring from new wounds. Applied early and often, tea tree oil is a great way to reduce the appearance of scars and decrease healing time.
2. Lemon Essential oil
Lemon essential oil is a known antiseptic, and acts as an astringent on the skin. It can help to remove excess oil on the face as well. This can make it a great essential oil to reduce acne. This can be seen as a preventative measure if you are prone to acne and the atrophic scars that come along with it. Adding a drop of lemon essential oil to your astringent daily can be a great way to tighten the skin, reduce scarring and prevent acne. Lemon oil is also full of vitamins which can help to nourish and balance the sensitive skin on your face.
3. Lavender Essential Oil
The benefits of lavender essential oil are far reaching and very impressive. From reducing headaches to notably improving your mood, modern science continues to find more uses for this amazing oil.
One recent study found that lavender essential oil speeds wound healing. Researchers looked at the difference of wounds treated in various ways. They found that lavender essential oil was more effective in increasing wound healing than an iodine treatment as well as a saline treatment. The less time your wound spends healing, the less of a chance it has to scar. Using lavender essential oil as a preventative measure can save you an unsightly scar in the long run.
Another article found Lavender essential oil helps women heal from episiotomy quickly. Women who had just given birth had their perineal incisions either treated with an iodine solution or lavender essential oil. While both groups’ healing times were similar, signs of healing were better in the lavender essential oil group. This may be due to lavender essential oil’s anti-inflammatory properties. The study suggests lavender essential oil for episiotomy wound care.
Lavender essential oil also shows promise healing stretch marks. Researchers of this recent study noted lavender essential oil helps heal degranulated mast cells, which are the cells responsible for the appearance of stretch marks. The study suggests a topical application of a mixture of lavender essential oil and thyme essential oil for at least 21 days.
4. Helichrysum Essential Oil
Helichrysum italicum essential oil is considered to be the wonder oil for the skin. A recent review of helichrysum essential oil noted its amazing benefits for the skin. The review called Helichrysum essential oil ‘the super-arnica of aromatherapy’. The many benefits of Helichrysum italicum essential oil are believed to be because of just how many bioactive ingredients there are within the oil. Depending upon the purity of the oil and location it was farmed, there may be well over 30 different components in the oil! All these different components make for many different uses.
To reduce scarring, add two drops of helichrysum italicum essential oil to a small amount of oil in your hand. Gently massage the oil over and around the scar for ten minutes. The act of massaging can help break up the tight tissues of the scar itself and bring fresh, oxygen rich blood to the area. This can greatly aid in scar elimination.
Scar Reducing Recipes
Reduce Scar Appearance:
- 30 drops helichrysum italicum essential oil
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 4 oz coconut oil
- Mix the oils together and gently massage into the scar tissue for 10 minutes, two times a day.
For Stretch Marks
- 32 drops lavender essential oil
- 16drops thyme essential oil
- 4oz olive oil
- Add ingredients together in a sealable 4oz container. Massage well over the stretch marks for at least 21 days, until stretch marks noticeably reduce.
To Speed Healing
- 2 drops lavender essential oil
- 2 drops tea tree essential oil
- 2 drops lemon essential oil
- 1oz raw, unprocessed honey.
- Mix ingredients together as best you can, and dab onto site of wound. Cover with a bandage, and repeat as needed until wound has healed.
One Last Consideration
Pure essential oils like these are very powerful, and should always be used with care. The pure oils should always be diluted before applying to the skin, as allergic reactions can occur. You always want to pay attention to any reactions your body may have to oils when applied on the skin, and should start by applying them to a small area before moving onto a large area of the body. Children and pregnant women should use any essential oil under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner.
The most important thing to consider when purchasing your essential oil is the quality of the product. Always look for pure essential oils. Pure oils are not only the most beneficial – they are the safest.
These are just a few of the tested methods to heal scars naturally using essential oils. Do you have a scar healing method we have not mentioned? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!