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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How to Lighten Elbow Scars

How to Lighten Elbow Scars

Your elbows are a surprisingly vulnerable part of your body. You often hit them on something as you walk by, and when you trip and fall your elbows can often take the brunt of the fall. Bumps and bruises are one thing, but significant skin damage such as a laceration usually results in scarring.

When scarring does occur on the elbows, it is often worse than scarring on other parts of the body. Since the elbow is a joint, constant stretching of the skin can make scars wider and darker compared to scars away from joints. There are safe ways to fade and lighten elbow scars to make them less noticeable.

Watch out for Dangerous Skin Lighteners

Some products on the market promote themselves as skin lighteners, and they do work. However, they have potential side effects that make it dangerous to use the products. One example is hydroquinone, a popular ingredient in scar treatments. It works by inhibiting melanin, the substance that produces skin pigment. Although this does lead to a lighter skin tone, the product can be toxic especially in higher concentrations. Kojic acid is another popular skin lightening ingredient that works, but at also sometimes at a cost. It can cause heightened skin sensitivity and can increases the risk of allergic reactions.

Choose Products that Promote Skin Healing

One of the best ingredients to look for is vitamin C. It promotes healthy collagen production and fights free radicals which damage the skin cells. Vitamin C also decreases the excess pigmentation after skin injury that can lead to scars becoming darker and more visible than the surrounding skin.

Licorice root extract is another ingredient that helps to lighten elbow scars. Compounds in licorice inhibit melanin activity, which in turn fades abnormal skin pigmentation. However, it does not have the side effects of harsh ingredients such as Kojic acid or hydroquinone.

Do you have a question about your scar? 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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Postpartum Skin Care Tips

Postpartum Skin Care Tips

The hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy and after the birth of your child can create changes in your skin that sometimes lead to unsightly problems. You can find yourself facing the acne you thought you left behind in your teen years, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, dry skin, stretch marks, and other problems. If you had a cesarean, then you will also be left with a scar. Luckily, there are some natural, healthy, and easy solutions to help your postpartum skin look great and that can help reduce the appearance of any scars.

C-Section Scars

If you have a cesarean, c-section scar prevention begins with treating the wound. You should follow any instructions from your doctor, but generally you want to keep the incision covered so it will remain moist, which helps it to heal with less chance of a scar. Once the incision has healed, then you can apply a scar treatment cream. You want one with natural and safe ingredients, such as dimethicone silicone, vitamin C and licorice root extract. These ingredients have been found to promote the body’s healing and fade scars over time.

Acne and Acne Scars

The excess estrogen in your system during pregnancy often led to glowing, beautiful skin. Now, the hormonal imbalance mixed with stress, lack of sleep, and no time for your normal skin care regime might have left you with acne, which may lead to unsightly scars. The first action you need to take is to treat the acne. Make sure to clean your skin, use oil-free ingredients, and use a topical cream or gel that fights acne. If you have scars, you can treat them with a scar treatment cream that will help to even out the skin and lighten the scars. You can also talk to your doctor about treatment for acne scars, including dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, laser surgery, or acne scar surgery.

Hyperpigmentation

Many women find themselves with dark patches of skin on the forehead, upper lip, and cheeks, known as chloasma or melasma. They develop due to an increase of melanin production that occurred during pregnancy. Your body will most likely find its balance once again, no longer producing as much melanin, and those dark patches will fade. Until then, you can help by staying out of the sun and wearing sunscreen. You can also use a skin lightening cream, but you want to stay away from certain ingredients, namely kojic acid and hydroquinone. These can have dangerous side effects, including hormonal imbalance, toxicity, and carcinogenic effects.  Licorice root extract is a natural ingredient that has been shown to safely lighten skin.

In addition to using special creams to help your skin find its balance after pregnancy, you should also pay attention to your overall health. Be sure to eat healthy and get as much sleep as your new baby allows. This promotes your body’s healing process and can help heal any skin problems.

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