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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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.
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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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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Scar Healing Time

Scar Healing Time

If the trauma is minor, healing time for the wound should be quick, and scar formation minimal. If your scar is deeper, as is often the case with surgical scars, healing time will take longer. However long it takes, a scar goes through three stages of healing. The first phase of wound healing is a period of inflammation that may last anywhere from two to six days, depending on how severe the initial trauma. During this period, you’ll experience warmth, some redness, swelling, and pain.

When the initial trauma spot begins to subside and ceases inflammation, your skin begins to produce collagen to knit the edges of the wound or trauma area together. This is the period when scarring may develop. Most scars start to improve within 2 – 3 weeks, and will continue to improve for up to six months. Finally, your skin will continue to break down the excess collagen that created your initially raised and reddish scar, and turn it into a thin, flat scar that may be visible or almost invisible. This period take from six months to several years with the finalized appearance of your scar in about 1-2 years.

Read: How to Help Your Skin Heal Scars

It’s important to respond to a wound or trauma to your skin immediately, even before healing begins. If you’re a smoker, stop! It causes blood vessels to contract, decreasing healing oxygen to the body and skin. Avoid direct sunlight while your skin heals. This may seem impossible, but it is necessary! When your skin is fully knit together, begin exercising regularly. Exercise will increase oxygen to all of your body tissues, including the deep levels of your skin. Your scar will heal more quickly, and your body will be healthier, too.

If you haven’t been eating properly, now is the time to rethink your eating habits. A balanced diet is very important to proper scar healing. Try to get the most nutritional foods possible into your system, especially foods rich in Vitamin C. Be sure to include protein-rich foods for the collagen your skin needs to heal properly, and increase your Vitamin B and zinc levels, too. Eat plenty of foods rich in Vitamin A to enhance your skin’s ability to absorb moisture, and drink plenty of liquids.

Most importantly, stay out of the sun and apply a sunblock with SPF 30 to ensure total protection when you go outside. At the same time, begin applying a scar healing cream to your traumatized skin or scar, as soon as your skin has completely closed up. For instance, if you have a surgical scar, laceration or burn that required sutures, use InviCible Scars on the area as soon as the sutures are removed. If you’ve had a skin resurfacing, wait until there is no “rawness” before beginning to use Invincible. For scars or dark marks from acne, apply InviCible at least twice a day, directly on the affected areas, but not on active acne spots.

With proper exercise and nutrition, avoidance of the sun and application of InviCible Scars, your scar will heal beautifully, and more quickly than you might think.

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

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Lupus Scar Treatment Tips

Lupus Scar Treatment Tips

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks its own organs and tissues. Lupus causes inflammation, which can affect a number of different body systems including the skin, joints, brain, heart, lungs, and blood cells.

Since lupus causes symptoms that can mimic those of other disorders, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. There is no cure for lupus, but there are treatments available that focus on relieving symptoms depending on the organ(s) involved. Even when most lupus symptoms are well-controlled, one side-effect of skin involvement often remains – scarring.

Lupus skin lesions come in a variety of forms. Once treated and healed, these lesions can leave permanent scars and dark spots, or hyperpigmentation, anywhere on the body. Lupus scars can be light, dark, or red; they can form in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and locations depending on the underlying skin lesion that caused it.

Normal scars naturally fade and flatten over time, but if you want to improve the results as much as possible, use a scar therapy that contains silicone. Topical silicone has been clinically proven to flatten, lighten, and soften scars and is the gold standard in scar care. A scar therapy that combines the unmatched safety and benefits of silicone with other ingredients proven to fade scars that are also safe and natural – such as aloe vera and licorice extract – packs a powerful punch when it comes to fading scars as much as possible.

Keeping your scars out of the sun is an important first step, as the sun can permanently darken scars further.  Read: How Does the Sun Affect Scars?

Exercise and healthy eating are also beneficial in scar healing; exercise brings more oxygen-rich blood to the scar which optimizes healing during the initial stages of wound healing. Healthy eating also ensures your body has all the necessary nutrients it needs to heal as well as possible.

Read: How Nutrition Affects Scar Healing

Work with your doctor to come up with the best treatment plan for your lupus, and use the tips above to treat the scarring that may result from skin lesions and rashes, in order to feel and look your best every day.

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

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