MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Throughout the years, many people have found ways to show their gratitude toward American service members for their contributions and sacrifices to defend the nation’s freedom.
The Scar Treatment Center of the Desert, Inc., in Palm Desert, Calif., is one of hundreds of businesses, large and small, who have decided to make an effort to give back to the military.
“We want to offer a service to the men and women who serve, and have fought for us,” said Guadaloupe Ponte, D.M.P., president and chief executive officer of The Scar Treatment Center. “We’re designing this program for the wounded veterans who have fought for us in battle.”
The clinic is looking at donating two Saturdays every month as well as extended evening hours to facilitate the needs of wounded war veterans, added the Tuscon, Ariz., native.
Ponte began her work in 1981 as a registered nurse working for various plastic surgeons and opened her own clinic in 1992. In 2000, The Scar Treatment Center went corporate and became dedicated solely to scar revision.
She said one form of treatment the clinic uses is called the raque technique, which scrapes the scar flat and helps restore collagen to the skin. They also use LightWave, a machine designed to shock the skin to promote new cellular growth and detoxify the scar, diminishing its appearance.
“As a result of using LightWave, we can reduce the appearance of scars by up to 80 percent,” said Ponte. “Using other machines, we can diminish the appearance almost 100 percent.”
According to the Web site, the clinic treats many types of scars, burns and skin disorders, like vitaligo, a malady which causes the skin to lose its pigmentation and make it appear blotchy.
One issue Ponte feels she is tackling is not just the physical appearance of a scar on a patient’s skin, but the emotional pain associated with the scar.
“Bad memories are just one of the negative ways that scars may affect someone,” said Ponte in an April 30 press release about the clinic. “Self esteem can be affected if the person is self-conscious about how they look.
“Time’s have changed since the ‘tough guy’ mentality of the past,” she added. “When people feel good about their appearance, their self esteem is going to be better.”
The clinic’s Web site is not only home to information about The Scar Treatment Center, but to testimonials of people who have been helped by Ponte and her staff. One testimonial came from the clinic’s press release.
“I felt pretty bad when I looked at my scar,” said former Gunnery Sgt. Arturo Escobedo in the press release. “I felt like my scar was growing every day.
“I feel a lot better now,” he added. “Since coming to The Scar Treatment Center, little by little, my scar is becoming invisible.”
Ponte has eight scar treatment specialists working on staff at the clinic and, as a state board certified instructor, has trained many more people.
“I try to make a difference by training my students to want to help people,” she said. “I think some people get into this line of work to make a ton of money, but it shouldn’t be about that.
“Every scar has a story and you really get to know your patients throughout the treatment process – you form a bond with them,” added Ponte. “You learn all about what happened to them. I think that’s what keeps us growing as professionals and as people. We never know what stories might come through our door.”
Ponte said she and the clinic have been working to publish a book about scar revision by the end of 2009.
“I think it will be a great informational resource for people who want to learn about scar revision,” she said. “They can read about the procedures and look at pictures to see the improvements made by them.”
Ponte added she will also be looking at more ways for the clinic to donate to wounded war veterans in the future as well.
For more information about The Scar Treatment Center, log on to http://www.scarsgone.com or call (760) 340-1136.