This week's widely anticipated new Bond film, Spectre, will no doubt present us with the franchise’s traditional, visibly-scarred baddies, and like comic book villains (for example Batman’s archenemies the Joker and Two-Face) we’ve learnt to associate these conspicuous disfigurements with evil, toughness or danger.
But do normal blokes living with visible scars – due to, say, an accident or even surgery – feel pressured to counteract or even play up to the ‘tough guy’ image?
Independent research commissioned by Science of Skin conducted on 250 men with visible (face, neck, hands) scars reveals that close to a third (31%) of them do feel the need to alter their behaviour to tackle negative impressions when first meeting people, in situations such as first dates or job interviews, to counteract the ‘bad boy’ image or even play up to it.
Delving into the psychological impact of visible scars in men, the study was carried out by independent survey company Onepoll on behalf of Science of Skin, the firm behind the world’s first-ever scientifically-proven cream ‘Solution for Scars,™, whose unique properties were developed by an internationally-renown wound healing scientist in collaboration with one of Britain’s leading plastic surgeons.
Nearly a sixth (15%) of men surveyed admitted feeling self-conscious when they first meet people and feel pressured to immediately joke about, or explain their scar to ‘get it out of the way’ quickly. A tenth (10%) felt the need to ‘work hard’ to counteract the negative image – stating they have experienced discrimination or judgment because of it. Yet a cheeky 6% confessed to feeling secretly proud and even actively playing up to the ‘bad boy’ image. Interestingly, older men were twice as likely to do this as their younger counterparts.
Solution for Scars is based on ground-breaking research led by clinician scientist Dr Ardeshir Bayat, conducted alongside Mr Douglas McGeorge, a former President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). For the first time, they uncovered a key active ingredient that has the power to completely change the course of scar formation, based on early intervention of a scar as it heals, actively shrinking the resulting marks.
An international expert in Keloid scarring (an invasive, aggressive and recurrent scar type) and one of the most published clinicians worldwide on the topic of wound healing, Dr Bayat has studied the psychological impact of these disfigurements and wanted to find a solution that combined the best that science and nature could offer. He explains;
“It comes as no surprise to me to hear how men with visible scars can feel prejudice and false first impressions owing to the ‘tough guy’ or even menacing connotations these markings conjure. From Hollywood to comic book villains, scars have been associated with negative representations – even evil. We have been programmed to associate them with danger and can therefore be quick to judge someone who has them.
“This is where this breakthrough research could help so many people in the future – through exhaustive experimentation we identified a particular extract and key active ingredient that can offer a potential new outcome for the appearance of scars. By educating people on early intervention, we have shown a novel approach in how it may be possible to change the fate of skin scar formation, a concept that had not ever been contemplated previously.”
Designed to be applied once a wound is completely closed or to existing scars that are still symptomatic (red, itchy, inflamed), Solution for Scars™ contains a particular active form of green tea extract, identified by their study as proven to actually shrink scars. It starts actively reducing irritable skin by immediately controlling the irritation and redness, enhancing the skin’s reparative response and thus already minimising the appearance of the scar as it begins to develop. It has a direct effect on the progression of the scar and promotes healthier recovery as the skin can heal without interference from constant itching and uncomfortable symptoms. This can therefore be instrumental, if applied whilst the wound is symptomatic, in reducing the visibility of a scar that may be left, resulting in a much smoother, less noticeable mark. Once the scar has formed and no longer shows symptoms of redness, inflammation, itchiness and heat, the product is no longer as effective.
Mr Douglas McGeorge, one of the most sought-after aesthetic plastic surgeons in the UK, had also noticed a lack of effective products on offer to patients after surgery. He explains:
“Patients could be treated by the world’s best surgeon yet most will focus on the visible aspect of lasting scars. As well as creating the must-have product for post-surgery aftercare, Solution for Scars is a first-aid kit essential for any bathroom cabinet. Based on naturally occurring actives, it’s as suitable to breast augmentation or facelift patients, as it is to children’s scraped knees.”
Available scar treatments have historically provided mainly inert silicone-based formulations, with little scientifically proven data behind them. They only offer temporary relief, by sitting on the upper layer of the skin, acting as a barrier and trapping moisture. Most contain no active ingredients. A new evidence-based study, published last month in the Archives of Dermatological Research on the role of topical treatments and dressings in the management of scarring, has reviewed the lack of data, and summarised concisely the ineffectiveness of some of these current treatments.
Ardeshir Bayat, who has given more than 450 presentations worldwide on the topic of wound repair and regeneration and published in excess of 390 original papers, reviews, scientific abstracts and book chapters, is an active member of the American Wound Healing and the European Tissue Repair Societies. He concludes:
“Our research has broken the mould when it comes to effective products to make a significant difference in the successful management of scarring. Solution for Scars™ works differently to some of the existing products on the market. Solid scientific research and harnessing the very best that nature can offer underpins all of our product development – and we now have the scientific evidence to back it up.”
The product, which is fragrance and paraben free, also includes microalgae and seawater minerals to keep skin hydrated and moisturised.
Survey Results in full:
- Whilst a confident half (50%) say they ‘hardly ever think about’ their scars, nearly a third (31%) said they feel the pressure to alter their behaviour when meeting people for the first time, in situations such as first dates or job interviews
- Close to one in six (15%) felt self-conscious enough that they would immediately joke about or explain their scars as soon as they meet people, to ‘get it out of the way’
- A similar proportion (14%) feel aware of the negative impressions but state there’s little they can do, and simply ‘hope that people can see past it’ as they get to know them over time
- One tenth (10%) have felt judgment and discrimination, and feel the need to ‘work hard’ to counteract the negative image given by their scars
- A cheekier one in 15 (6%) felt secretly proud of their markings, of which a third (2%) confessed to actively playing up to the ‘bad boy’ image, by acting tougher than they are
- Older fellas were more than twice as likely to bear their scars with a furtive measure of pride, with 7% of 55+ year olds admitting to being secretly pleased with their tough image v only 3% of 25-34 year-olds.
Solution for Scars is available via www.scienceofskin.com priced at £18.99 for 30ml.