Beauty Bible asks an expert

Pharmacist Shabir Daya on dealing with scars

We've always loved Fran Landesman's poem 'Scars', and its philosophy.  It starts, 'Don't be ashamed, everybody's got scars, from our various wars, on the way to the stars...'  (Singer Kitty Dimbleby, who had a lot of surgery as a child, once told us that she found Fran's poem tremendously consoling.) 

Nevertheless, most of us would like to minimise the appearance of scars as much as we can.  So for his wisdom on this healing challenge, we've turned to our go-to pharmacist Shabir Daya, of Victoria Health.  (To find any of his recommendation for products on-line, simply click on the name of that product.)

'A scar is a blemish left behind after a surface injury or once a wound has healed. The human body was designed to sustain a variety of aggressions including cuts, grazes, burns and bruises. All these incidents set into motion a complicated and orchestrated chain of events that are involved in the healing process. When an injury occurs, be it a cut or an acne infection, a variety of cells are sent quickly to the wounded region and the complex healing process begins.

When you have a superficial wound, a scab develops to protect the wound. Over a few days the scab falls off leaving the skin to produce pigment which over a few days or weeks would match the colour of skin. On the other hand, a deeper wound causes damage to the pigment producing layers of upper skin. Due to the excessive inflammation as a result of this trauma, scarring is more likely.

Scars are composed mainly of collagen, a protein fibre found mainly in the lower layer of skin. The look of a scar tissue varies in individuals and is governed by several factors which include the depth of injury, skin tone and even genetics.

One of the best treatments to minimise the appearance of scars is HealGel Intensive (see below for details of how to buy). Created by five of the UK’s leading plastic surgeons, this advanced skin rescue gel works to soothe, repair and protect damaged skin. HealGel Intensive contains arnica, madecassosside, peptides and biodynes which all work in synergy to reduce inflammation, aid cellular renewal, boost collagen production and improve the appearance of skin.

Collagen fibres are made up of chains of amino acids, with glycine and proline being the most common. Glycine, by way of supplementation, bonds with other amino acids to form new collagen fibres and may therefore be of value in promoting the health and integrity of skin and for improving wound healing.'

• HealGel Intensive/£37.50 for 30 ml - buy here

Solgar Glycine/£9.06 for 100 capsules - buy here

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.