How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal?

How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal?

There are several different types of scars that result from an injury and among them is the hypertrophic scar.

The hypertrophic scar varies somewhat from other scars in that its appearance tends to be red and elevated. They can also be itchy or even painful. However, unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars stay within the boundaries of the initial area of injury.

Hypertrophic scars tend to start developing within the weeks following an injury, and they may continue to redden and thicken for months. Their raised appearance can improve with consistent scar massage over the course of several months. However, depending on the severity of the scar and the nature of its origin, it can take a year or even longer for the scar to begin to flatten and fade. [Read more…]

The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Do Scars Spread?

Do Scars Spread?

The answer is yes and no. Typical scars, like acne scars, surgery scars or c-section scars do not spread. Of course, if you gain weight, then it is merely the skin stretching rather than the scar actually spreading.

However, there is one type of scar that will spread beyond the bounds of the wound, and that is a keloid scar.

Keloid Scars

In the simplest of terms, keloid scars are scars that become enlarged because your body is producing too much collagen—and therefore, too much tissue—at the site of the wound. Typically, keloid scars become raised in a dome-shaped fashion and begin to expand beyond the original location of the wound. Keloid scars are usually pink, shiny, and tender to the touch.

Read: Do Genes Determine Keloid Scars?

Needless to say, developing keloid scars can be bizarre and frightening for those who have never experienced keloids before. The good news is that keloid scars are no more dangerous than other types of scar tissue. Some patients complain about them being more painful, but usually, they are just itchier as they heal. The bad news is that they are often more unsightly than other scars, leading patients to seek surgical methods or other solutions to try to shrink them or have them removed.

Read: Who is at Risk for Developing Keloid Scars?

The Difference Between Scar Types

Though many people aren’t familiar with the lingo, there are several different types of scars out there. The first and most common type, of course, is a simple flat scar. If you cut your skin, you will normally heal quickly, with nothing but a pale white line on your skin to mark the spot where you had your wound. These scars can’t spread at all and don’t even become raised above the skin. In other words, they are the least invasive of all scars.

The second type of scar is called a hypertrophic scar. The word hypertrophic means “enlarged” or “excessive growth,” but unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars don’t spread beyond the wound. Instead, these scars may thicken and appear to be raised above the skin. Hypertrophic scars are typically redder and more visually obvious than flat scars.

There are other types of scars—including contracture scars, which actually tighten your skin, usually after a burn, and pitted scars, which can result from picking or itching at acne or chicken pox. Of all of the types of scars, keloid scars are unique in their ability to spread beyond the area of the original wound.

Have a question about your scar? Post a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

What is Therapeutic Ultrasound for Scars?

What is Therapeutic Ultrasound for Scars?

Most people equate the word “ultrasound” with fetal imaging. Indeed, one of the most common applications of ultrasound technology is allowing a pregnant woman to see her unborn child, know its gender ahead of time, or learn other things about a pregnancy.

However, while ultrasound technology is probably most often used for fetal imaging, it can serve several other valuable applications as well—including, believe it or not, scar therapy.

A “therapeutic ultrasound” is a type of ultrasound that utilizes ultra-high sonic frequencies as an aid in the healing of wounds or other injuries. When an ultrasound probe covered in a gel is touched to a wounded area, the probe transfers high-frequency vibration into the tissues at that site. These vibrations can relax the local tissues and direct extra blood flow into the area, which can in turn help to relieve pain and speed up healing.

Why Therapeutic Ultrasounds Are Good for Scars

It is important to note that therapeutic ultrasound technology can have positive effects on many different kinds of injuries. Chronic back pain, muscle sprains or strains, pain in the tailbone, joint issues (including certain types of arthritis), and more. With injured or arthritic joints, the increased blood flow provided by a therapeutic ultrasound can actually assist in collagen reformation. The positive effects of therapeutic ultrasound, in other words, are versatile and far-reaching.

In scar therapy, a therapeutic ultrasound might be used for the purpose of scar tissue breakdown. Previously injured tissue can lose its elasticity as scar tissue grows back in its place—a phenomenon that isn’t only limited to skin, but which also occurs in muscles, tendons, and other body tissues. This more hardened tissue can be a significant problem depending on the location of the scar on the body. Since scar tissue is less elastic than the intact skin, it can impair range of motion and overall function in parts of the body that tend to move or flex on a regular basis. Scars on the hands, at joints, or on the face are examples.

Therapeutic ultrasound can help “break down” the fibrous, collagen-rich tissue that forms at the site of scars. The fast vibrations of the ultrasound probe can contribute to making scar tissue more elastic, which in turn can restore range of motion and reduce scar pain or irritation.

Similarity to Scar Desensitization

The effects of this type of therapy, then, are similar to the benefits of scar desensitization—which involves rubbing or tapping scars as they heal to eliminate sensory nerve fibers and ensure more evenly distributed and pliable scar tissue. The main difference in these two forms of scar therapy is that one (scar desensitization) is only efficient during the scar healing process while the other (therapeutic ultrasound) can be effective both during healing and after scar tissue has formed and hardened.

Do you have a question for us? Leave a comment and let us know!

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

Which is Better for Scars: Silicone Creams or Silicone Sheets?

Which is Better for Scars: Silicone Creams or Silicone Sheets?

There are endless treatments for scars – lotions and gels, ointments and injections. They’re stuffed into pharmacy aisles and online inventories alike, promising fast results and easy healing. However, two of these treatments manage to keep those promises.

Silicone creams and silicone sheets counter the effects of scarring. They both relieve inflammation while also decreasing rigidity and improving elasticity. They also both deliver concentrated polymers to the skin, improving its appearance, texture, and collagen responses. This makes them ideal for treatment – but which is best?

What is Silicone’s Effect on Scars?

Silicone proves essential in the healing process. It infuses the skin with key amines (organic nitrogen-based compounds) to maintain proper hydration and oxygenation levels. It also interrupts the body’s excessive collagen composition, stabilizing levels to reduce the build-up of tissue. This ensures that scars heal quickly and minimizes their overall appearance.

Read More: Scar Healing

What is Silicone Cream?

Silicone cream, as its name suggests, is a spreadable topical formulation fortified with silicone. It allows for direct skin contact, with individuals applying it to their scar sites. This introduces amines into the body and expedites healing.

Read More: Silicone Creams

What is a Silicone Sheet?

A silicone sheet is an adhesive product. It’s a two-sided design similar to a bandage that combines a latex shell with silicone gel padding. This padding rests against the scar and delivers steady nutrients throughout the day. It’s typically reusable.

Read More: Silicone Sheets

Which is Best: Silicone Creams or Silicone Sheets

The effectiveness of silicone creams and sheets are undeniable. Both products, according to studies conducted by Dr. Thomas A. Mustoe, a member of the Feinberg School of Medicine, promote accelerated healing within the body and reduce the effects of scarring. They’re useful against keloids, hypertrophic scars, contractures, and more. However, one does offer distinct advantages over the other.

Silicone creams are more efficient for daily use. Their lightweight formulas absorb directly into the skin, rather than requiring adhesives (which can roll, twist, or come undone.) Cream is easily used with other topical options such as sun block, make-up, moisturizers, or cleansers, and they’re undetectable. It’s also easily applied to facial areas, where sheets often prove cumbersome. These benefits make them ideal for the treatment of new and old scars alike.

Read More: New and Old Scars

Consult With a Physician

Silicone creams offer the same advantages as silicone sheets, but are much easier to use. Some individuals, however, may require more extensive procedures to treat their scars – such as dermabrasion, micro-needling, chemical peels, facial revisions, and more. Be sure to consult with a physician if you have a very complex scar.

Read More: Scar Treatments

Silicone scar products are the gold standard in scar therapy. This makes them perfect for treating inflammation, rigidity, and more.

Have a question about silicone creams, sheets, or other options? Leave us a comment! We’ll be happy to provide more information. Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered to your inbox.

What Is the Difference Between Atrophic and Hypertrophic Scars?

What Is the Difference Between Atrophic and Hypertrophic Scars?

No two scars are alike. Each one is shaped by genetics, metabolism, perfusion cycles, oxygenation rates, and more – and different wounds respond to different treatments. It’s important, therefore, to understand how the most common tissue tears can be healed. Let’s examine atrophic and hypertrophic scarring.

Read More: Types of Scars

What are Atrophic Scars?

Atrophic scars are flat lesions that appear on the face and body. They’re formed when fatty deposits beneath scar sites disintegrate, causing a sudden recession of collagen and muscle. This decreases the overall elasticity of the skin and creates a shallow, pitted effect.

Atrophic scars are typically associated with skin disorders, such as: chickenpox, cystic acne, or extensive ultraviolet damage. Their sizes, textures, and depths vary greatly. They’re not generally considered painful, but they are often prone to irritation or inflammation.

What are Hypertrophic Scars?

Hypertrophic scars are, unlike their atrophic counterparts, raised lesions. They occur when an excess of collagen builds within the body, causing the tissue to thicken dramatically. They’re clustered around the scar site (unlike keloids, which spiral outward) and feature red, textured appearances.

Hypertrophic scars have many causes – cuts, surgery, burns, or even acne. They will often heal on their own, but the process is slow and sometimes painful (extreme irritation or itching may occur).

How Do Patients Treat These Scars?

Treatment starts with identification. Once patients establish whether they’re suffering from atrophic or hypertrophic scars, they can then quicken the healing process.

Atrophic Scars

Atrophic scars occur when external factors interrupt the body’s collagen process. There are, however, several treatments available to reinvigorate this process:

Dermabrasion

Cylindrical pads move across the scar site, buffing away olds cells and encouraging the growth of new ones. Skin is gently stimulated and collagen production resumes.

Soft Tissue Injections

Soft tissue injections introduce patients to new collagen, pumping controlled doses directly into the scar site. This slowly rebuilds elasticity and fullness.

Silicone Gels

Silicone gels restore natural hydration levels, helping skin achieve greater mobility. They also soften pitted tissue and minimize the appearance of atrophics.

Hypertrophic Scars

Hypertrophic scars occur when the body releases too much collagen, but several treatments are now available to maintain proper production, including:

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy utilizes bursts of light to penetrate the skin, with high-frequency pulses reversing the collagen flow.

Compression Therapy

Compression therapy relies on varying degrees of pressure (often achieved through bandages) to slowly eliminate build-ups of collagen.

Vitamin C Complexes

Vitamin C complexes infuse tissue with key nutrients, helping to stabilize collagen production. They also reduce redness, irritation, and rigidity.

Before starting any scar treatment program patients should consult with their physicians.

Read More: Get Rid of Scars

Atrophic and hypertrophic scars rank among the most common afflictions worldwide. They affect men, women, and children alike. Learn how to identify them to ensure successful healing.

Want to know more about this topic? Leave a comment below or subscribe to the Scars and Spots blog!