Do Over the Counter Scar Treatments Really Work?

Do Over the Counter Scar Treatments Really Work?

There are so many different types of over the counter scar treatments that it can be difficult to know whether or not they actually work. The ingredients of the treatments play a significant role in their effectiveness. The right ingredients, especially in the right combination, will facilitate the natural healing process, reducing the appearance of the scar, while other ingredients may not work, or even cause more damage.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is commonly found in skin care ingredients since it is a powerful antioxidant that promotes beautiful skin. However, there is no real evidence that using vitamin E actually improves the scar. Instead, the benefits are most likely due to continued moistening of the area, rather than the infusion of the vitamin. Many people also develop contact dermatitis from vitamin E, so it is another ingredient to avoid.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is another powerful antioxidant, and it plays an important role in the body’s healthy immune response, which includes wound healing. Furthermore, it is essential for proper formation of collagen and elastin in skin, which helps build healthy skin cells, rather than damaged scar tissue, after the skin is injured. Vitamin C also fades the hyperpigmentation that can come with scarring. Therefore, it is an effective and safe ingredient in an over the counter scar treatment.

Silicone

Silicone is another ingredient that has been shown in studies to aid in the treatment of scars, while not promoting any danger. It reduces any redness, pain and itching associated with the scarring, while also improving the elasticity of the skin.

Aloe Vera

Another beneficial, and effective, ingredient for over the counter scar treatment creams is aloe vera. This plant has long been used in cosmetics and first aid creams due to its moisturizing and healing effects. It protects the wound while also promoting healing, reducing inflammation, and strengthening the collagen structure.

Hydroquinone

Many popular over the counter scar treatment creams contain hydroquinone, and it has a reputation for effectively lightening scars. However, it is a very dangerous ingredient that has been banned in several countries. Even in the smaller doses found in over the counter creams, it can lead to problems such as impaired wound healing, irritation, nail discoloration, and ochronosis (permanent skin darkening).

Kojic Acid

Another seemingly effective scar treatment ingredient that is commonly found in over the counter creams is kojic acid. Like hydroquinone, it may work, but the negative effects are not worth its lightening abilities. Studies have found that prolonged use leads to more sensitive skin and contact dermatitis. It also is not effective at improving the appearance of scars, beyond lightening the skin color.

When OTC Treatments Do Not Work

If you have a keloid, indented scar, or certain other scars, then over the counter treatments will not work. These scars require more invasive treatments, such as laser therapy, collagen injections, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, dermabrasion, or microneedling. If you are unsure about the best form of treatment for your scar, then you should discuss it with your dermatologist.

When looking for an effective over the counter scar treatment, you should look for all natural ingredients that do not include preservatives or fragrances, as this could also aggravate the skin. You do not want to use any harsh ingredients; instead, you want to support your skin’s natural healing process, which will reduce the appearance of any scars.

Have a question about your scar or a particular ingredient? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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Scars Heal Differently. Here’s Why

Scars Heal Differently. Here’s Why

After the skin becomes injured, scar tissue forms as a part of the natural healing process. This tissue looks and feels different than normal skin tissue because there is excess collagen produced. Different scars also appear different and heal differently based upon the amount of collagen produced during the healing process. Lifestyle, genetics, age, depth and size of the injury, the location, and the treatment of the wound all affect how the scar heals.

Read: Scar Tissue is Different Than Normal Tissue 

Genetic and Lifestyle Influences on Scar Healing

As with any body function, your genetics, which include your ethnicity and gender, influence how your body heals from injury, which is why each person scars differently. These genetic influences cannot be changed, but they can be mitigated through lifestyle changes and certain treatments. Your age will affect scarring as well, because your ability to regenerate cells and heal is reduced.

Lifestyle factors, including exercising, drinking plenty of water, and eating a healthy diet, influence your skin’s natural healing process as well. To heal properly, you need to be strong and healthy. Your skin also needs certain nutrients that it can get from food, especially vitamin C and E. You skin also needs plenty of moisture to heal correctly, which is why keeping your scar moisturized is vital. You should also keep active, as long as it does not disturb your wound and your doctor approves it, to promote healing.

The Affect of Wound Treatment

Because scars are caused by injury to the skin, the element that has the greatest influence on its healing process is the treatment of the wound. When you experience a deep cut, including an incision from surgery, the skin needs to be aligned correctly when it is glued, stapled, or stitched back together, or else it will have a larger scar. Your scar will look different whether you have staples, glue, or stitches as well. If the injured skin is brought back together perfectly, then the chance of scarring is reduced, although you may still have a small, almost invisible line. You also want to allow the area to heal completely, and not reopen the wound or get it infected, as this will increase the chance of a larger scar.

How the Type of Scar Alters the Healing Process

There are different types of scars that affect the ability for the scar to heal over time. You may have a hypertrophic scar, acne scar, contracture scar, or keloid scars. Keloid scars are the most difficult to heal, because they are raised scars due to excess collagen that extend beyond the original injury. Contracture scars typically occur after a burn, and they often tighten the skin and can make it difficult to move. Hypertrophoic scars are also raised, similar to keloids, but remain within the area of the wound. Some of these different types of scars occur because of the type of wound, while others form due to genetics, the environment, or other factors.

Read: Scar Healing Time

There is no real way to predict how a scar will heal, as it is highly influenced by genetics, environment, lifestyle factors, and treatment. Regardless of the type of scar, you can help it heal by taking care of the wound, eating a healthy diet, and drinking plenty of water.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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How to Get Rid of Purple Scars

How to Get Rid of Purple Scars

When the skin has experienced trauma due to injury or surgery, the healing process produces scar tissue, which usually creates a visible scar. Although most scars are initially red in color, many scars turn purple. This is very common in scars caused by burns, boils, and acne. The purple color can make the scar stand out even more, which can be embarrassing, especially if it is in a prominent location such as your face. Although the purple coloring can be a natural part of the scar maturation process, there are steps you can take to fade it.

Proper Wound Healing and Prevention

One way to reduce the abnormal purple pigmentation is to ensure that the wound heals properly. When you experience a skin injury, treat it right away. Clean it to reduce the risk of infection. Be sure to keep the wound covered and moist during the healing process. Use of an antibacterial cream can help to reduce infection while keeping the wound moist. Acne, too, can cause purple scarring so avoid causing more inflammation and avoid picking at it. (Read: Skin Care Tips for Acne Prone Skin)

Treat the Scar with the Right Ingredients

One of the best ingredients in a topical scar therapy is vitamin C, which helps the skin create normal collagen, an important component of healthy skin. It also helps fade the excess pigmentation seen in some scars. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports the body’s natural healing and fights free radicals that contribute to scarring by damaging the skin at a cellular level. Vitamin C also reduces the risk of inflammation and infection, which can also contribute to the abnormal purple color and other forms of hyperpigmention.

Another ingredient to look for in your scar cream is silicone, which helps to flatten and fade scars. Licorice root extract is also a powerful ingredient as it promotes healing while also lightening hyperpigmentation.

When to See a Doctor

Complete healing from any trauma to the skin can take time, which can be frustrating. However, if you find that your scar seems to be getting worse, see your doctor to make sure everything is healing properly. A doctor can also discuss other options for treating scars and hyperpigmentation, such as laser surgery or microdermabrasion.

Have a question about your scar or dark spot? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer!

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Can a Sunburn Cause Scarring?

Can a Sunburn Cause Scarring?

The dangers of sunburns are well known, especially the increased risk of skin cancer. However, one little known effect of sunburns is scarring. Scars form any time there is injury or trauma to the skin, and sunburns can harm the skin enough to injure it and form scar tissue. However, you can prevent and treat sunburns to avoid scarring.

What Kind of Sunburns Cause Scars?

Not every sunburn will cause a scar, but a bad enough sunburn will lead to scarring. The biggest risk factors for scars caused by sunburns are peeling and blisters. Peeling is part of the natural healing process the skin goes through after having been damaged by the sun’s UV rays. Once your skin begins peeling, it is tempting to pull off the peeling skin; however, this increases the risk of scarring. Severe sunburns also lead to blisters, and blisters that do not heal properly can cause scarring.

Read: How Does the Sun Affects Scars

How to Prevent Scarring from Sunburns

The best way to prevent scarring from sunburns is to avoid getting one. You should wear a high SPF sunscreen anytime you go out into the sun, especially if you plan to sunbathe. You should wear sunscreen and protective clothing even on cloudy days, as cloudy days actually increase the risk of sunburn. You can also prevent scarring by correctly treating your sunburn.

The Best Way to Treat Sunburns

If you do get a sunburn, then take care of the burn to support the natural healing process. One of the best treatments for sunburns is aloe vera, especially for the first few days. This soothes the burn, while also helping the skin to heal. After a few days, you will notice that your skin begins to peel. Do not force the skin to come off. Instead, let the skin fall off naturally. If you do want to help the process, soak in a lukewarm bath. Then, gently wipe your peeling skin with a soft washcloth. This avoids harming the layer of healthy skin underneath. While your skin is peeling, never rub it with anything harsh, including a towel. This can irritate the skin and increase the risk of scarring.

Treat blisters with care to ensure they heal properly. If they are unbroken, then simply protect it with a loose bandage. If the blister is very large and painful, then you might want to carefully break it with a sterilized needle. When the blister is opened, be sure to keep the area clean and treat it with antibiotic cream and cover it with a bandage.

What to Do if Your Sunburn Does Scar

If you notice that your sunburn does begin to scar, then you can treat it with scar cream to reduce the appearance of the scar and enhance the continued healing process. When you search for a scar cream, be sure to find one with the best ingredients, including vitamin C, aloe vera, silicone and licorice root extract.

You can prevent and treat the scars caused by sunburns. The best treatment, other than prevention, is just allowing your body the time to heal itself. You can enhance the body’s natural healing process with scar cream, but it will still take time to fully heal and minimize the appearance of scars.

Have a question about your scar or dark spot? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer!

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Scars and Self-Esteem

Scars and Self-Esteem

When you have scars, your self-esteem can be affected, especially if the scars are in an area not easily hidden by clothing. Although facial scars often cause the most problems for self-confidence, any visible scar can make a person self-conscious. However, you do not have to let your scars affect your self-confidence. There are several treatment options available for reducing the appearance of scars.

Why Scars Affect Self Confidence and Self-Esteem

A healthy body image leads to a healthy self-esteem and self-confidence. However, the opposite is also true. An unhealthy body image often contributes to low-self esteem, a negative self-worth and a lack of confidence. Often, scars cause a person to have a negative body image. When these scars are in a prominent location, especially the face, they can lead to even more problems with self-confidence. First impressions are largely based on looks, and if a person feels self-conscious about his or her appearance, it can make him or her more timid. A person will feel as though other people only see their scars, and believe it affects their attractiveness and ability to make friends.

Scarring also often leads to feelings of depression, which also affects a person’s self-worth and confidence. If the scar came from a traumatic event, there could also be some lingering emotions and feelings associated with that event. Other feelings may be associated the scar, including shame and embarrassment, that also affect a person’s confidence. Studies have shown that people with visible scars feel that the scars affected how others perceived them. In these studies, most people with scars felt that they had some sort of stigma attached to them and that others see them as less attractive. These feelings lead to self-consciousness and a lack of self-confidence. If these feelings of depression are affecting you so much that it is detrimental to your mental health, please seek out the help of a local therapist who can best assist you.

Non-Invasive Scar Treatments

You can get help with your visible scars. There are many topical scar creams available you can put on the scar to help it to heal and lighten faster, although it still takes time for them to work. You want to find a cream that uses effective but safe ingredients, such as silicone, licorice root extract and vitamin C. You should stay away from vitamin E, as it can cause contact dermatitis. If you experience pain or develop a hypertrophic scar or a keloid scar, you should to your doctor about steroid injections, which soften the scar and prevent it getting any worse.

Read: How Long Does it Take for a Scar to Heal?

Invasive Scar Treatments

There are also more invasive scar treatments you can discuss with your doctor to see if they work in your situation. Some of the most common include laser skin resurfacing, skin grafts, excision, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion. Surgery and skin grafts are usually reserved for scars that impair function or are otherwise problematic. Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are two different treatments that help to reduce the appearance of scars and even out the complexion.

Some of these treatments may be used in conjunction with others, or a person might try a few different methods over time if one does not work. The best place to start is usually scar treatment cream, which you can begin using as soon as your wound is healed.

As we like to say, fade the scar not your confidence.

How has your scar(s) affected you? Share your story in the comments, it may just help someone reading.

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