Do Topical Steroids Fade Scars?

Do Topical Steroids Fade Scars?

What are Topical Steroids?

Steroids are chemicals that are produced naturally by the body. They have a variety of functions including decreasing inflammation. The body produces 2 main types of steroids:

Glucocorticoids

These carbohydrate-based hormones regulate the metabolic system, as well as expedite the creation of anti-inflammatory proteins. They allow the body to maintain appropriate levels of glucose, amino acids, and adipocytes.

Mineralocorticoids

These aldosterone-based hormones filter water and electrolytes through the body (specifically the kidneys). They regulate salt secretion, as well as the regulating potassium levels. They also affect the skin’s overall hydration levels.

Topical steroids are man-made chemicals that mimic these naturally-occurring chemicals we have in our bodies. Topical steroids are most commonly used to reduce inflammation and are often used in the treatment of skin disorders such as eczema, dermatitis, poison ivy or oak reactions, and rashes.

Topical steroids have been commonly used throughout the world for over fifty years, and they rank among the most popular methods for fading scars. Do they really work?

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Do Topical Steroids Fade Scars?

According to a landmark study published by the Journal of Burn Care and Research (and conducted by the Shriners’ Burns Institute of Cincinnati), topical steroids are not successful in fading scars. During a test of 159 patients – each suffering from post-burn contractures – doctors applied these formulas to skin and monitored the results for a year. No favorable changes were seen in scar thickness, texture, or pliability. Instead doctors discovered adverse reactions, including thinning of the skin and bruising, in 16.4% of patients.

Some physicians still prescribe topical steroids for the treatment of scars. Beyond decreasing inflammation however, there does not appear to be any real benefit in terms of improving scar appearance or texture.

Consult With Your Doctor

Those considering steroids should always consult with their physician first. Prolonged use can have long-lasting, negative side effects and is best overseen by a doctor.

Also be sure to ask about alternative topical scar treatments, particularly products containing silicone. Other topical therapies that have been shown to improve scar appearance include vitamin C, aloe vera, and Vitamin A.

Read More: Scar Treatments

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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.
How to Avoid Scars from Pimples

How to Avoid Scars from Pimples

Excess oil beneath the skin signals a variety of problems, with the most frustrating of these being pimples. These tiny pustules appear on the face and body, housing bacteria, dead cells, and sebum secretions. They cause surface inflammation, irritation, and even scars.

According to the Acne Resource Center Online, 25% of individuals suffering from pimples will have some form of scarring – whether atrophic, hypertrophic, or hyper-pigmented. To combat this statistic we suggest examining both the causes of scars and the available treatments.

The Causes of Pimple Scarring

Acne is far more than a series of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. It’s also a medical disorder, triggering several effects beneath the skin. These effects – which include cyst production, nodular inflammation, and blood vessel penetration – directly impact surface and interior tissue, damaging them both.

With this damage comes a sudden production of collagen, with the body trying to repair itself. These repairs, however, often fail:

Too Much Collagen: the body produces an excess amount of collagen and causes tissue build-up. Scars then form, with raised appearances and reddened edges.

Too Little Collagen: the body produces too little collagen and the skin begins to sink, pitting the tissue and causing scars.

Read More: Acne Scars

How to Avoid Pimple Scarring

Pimple scarring is unfortunate. It’s also often avoidable. Those wishing to reduce their chances of atrophic or hypertrophic effects should:

Treat Acne Immediately

Utilize OTC or prescription treatments as soon as acne appears. This will interrupt the damage cycle and maintain tissue health.

Avoid Picking at the Skin

Popping a pimple may seem wise. Too often, however, does this cause further complications, releasing bacteria back into the skin (which often creates more acne) and triggering collagen production. Don’t do it.

Follow Hygiene Regimens

Daily, gentle scrubbing of the skin often proves essential in avoiding scars. Remove excess oil, dead cells, bacterial pus, and other free radicals to maintain appropriate moisture and elasticity levels. Tissue remains balanced and less likely to require collagen.

Study Genetics

Multiple factors shape the body’s healing process. None are more important, however, than genetics. Pimples are prevalent in some families, with members prone to breakouts and scarring alike. See how often these issues have occurred in the past to better prepare for their developments in the future.

Utilize these suggestions to reduce acne and avoid scarring.

Read More: Get Rid of Acne Scars

Consult With a Dermatologist

Acne is a disease. Seeking help from a dermatologist, therefore, is highly recommended for those who suffer from frequent breakouts. These specialists deliver key information about prescription options and OTC cleansers. They also prove helpful for patients wishing to improve the appearance of existing pimple scars, offering access to dermabrasions, tissue injections, and more.

Read More: Dermatologists

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Why is my Scar Darker Than my Normal Skin?

Why is my Scar Darker Than my Normal Skin?

Scarring can lead to rough texture in the skin, an increase of collagen bundles, and a lack of hair follicles or sweat glands. However, it may also create discoloration within the skin, with damaged tissue taking on a darker shade. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and it ranks among the most common effects of hypertrophic, keloid, and atrophic scarring.

What is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs when a body’s cellular process is changed. Damaged tissue is detected and several chemical responses occur, with a sudden increase of collagen, protein, and melanin (the property that determines the color of a person’s skin, eyes, and hair). These elements are meant to heal the scar. However, they often trigger a sudden darkening of the skin.

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How Does Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation Affect Scars?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation directly targets scars, sending an excess of melanin to the damaged tissue. This causes instant discoloration, especially around the edges, and can create a variety of shades: brown, black, gray, or even red. Spotting, freckling, or patching can also occur.

It should be noted that no pain is associated with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Its effect on scars is purely cosmetic. However, those suffering from the condition may still wish to treat it.

What Solutions are Available for Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation has no cure, but it does have several treatments – all of which can lessen its severity and restore most of the skin’s original texture. These include:

Topical Scar Creams

Topical scar creams prove ideal for treating most post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation cases. They offer much-needed nutrients (such as Vitamin C) that penetrate the skin and restore balance to the melanin production cycle.

Chemical Peels

Those experiencing extreme post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation may find topical creams lacking. Chemical peels may instead be needed to address the issue. These options remove layers of damaged skin, softening both the appearance of scars and the starkness of discoloration.

Sunscreen

Ultra-violet rays can exacerbate the effects of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Those wishing to correct the issue must therefore protect their skin. Use lotions with high SPF counts and avoid extended exposure to the sun.

These methods have been proven as successful in the treatment post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. However, it is important to note that the healing process can never be guaranteed. Results will vary.

Hydroquinone: A Warning

A common treatment for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is Hydroquinone. This skin-bleaching agent is meant to counter discoloration and lighten skin’s overall appearance, but these results come with a cost.

Hydroquinone has a high toxicity level. This means it can cause severe damage to the skin, including blistering, burn marks, new discoloration, and extreme tightness. While the product is legal and available without a prescription, it should be avoided. There are better, safer alternatives.

Read More: The Dangers of Using Hydroquinone to Fade Scars and Hyperpigmentation

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5 Ways to Get Rid of Acne Scars

5 Ways to Get Rid of Acne Scars

Scars used to be untreatable. Skin, once damaged, could not return to its former texture, and redness was permanent. This has been a source of lingering discomfort for many faced with acne in their teens and the remaining acne scars throughout adulthood, making it a problem that never really goes away.

However, times have changed, and individuals now have a seemingly endless array acne scar solutions – but which solutions actually work? Five in particular have been proven to provide superior results.

Topical Scar Cream

Topical creams combine natural ingredients (such as Vitamin C or Aloe) with fortified synthetics (such as silicone) to heal, protect, and restore skin. They infuse the body with much-needed hydration and soothe irritation through their antibacterial properties. They provide non-invasive results and can be obtained without prescriptions.

Read More: Topical Scar Lotion

Facial Scar Revision

Facial scar revision redefines the appearance of scars, combining topical treatments – which expedite the healing process and improve pigmentation – with surgery. The procedure, known also as layered closure, involves cutting out the old scar and reclosing it, repositioning  the edges of the scar so it heals better. This is a medical procedure and must be conducted by a certified plastic surgeon.

Dermabrasion

Dermabrasion is a process that involves the removal of scarred skin. It utilizes a series of sharp-edged brushes, rotating them quickly across tissue to “sand away” uneven areas and promote more even texture as the skin heas. This bolsters the body’s ability to heal (as exposing unaffected dermal layers restores balance to collagen production) and helps to improve the appearance of scars. Dermabrasion is a medical procedure but does not require a plastic surgeon. Many dermatologists also perform it.

Read More: Dermabrasion

Micro-Needling

Micro-needling is aptly named. It utilizes countless tiny needles, pricking the skin again and again in a series of controlled bursts. These bursts are intended to stimulate the healing process (as the body will respond to the minor injuries, producing collagen to fill in the minuscule holes). This reduces the appearance of scars by improving facial contours and enhancing the skin’s elasticity. Micro-needling is typically performed by a dermatologist.

Chemical Peel

Chemical peels deliver a low concentration of acid to the skin. They’re typically composed of glycol or TCA (trichloroacetic acid), and they’re used to (gently) remove affected dermal layers. The peels are spread across scars and penetrate the ridges, revealing the softer tissue beneath. These treatments can be done at home, but due to potential risks with improper acidic balances, it is strongly recommended that individuals visit their dermatologists for treatment instead.

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Treatment Successes – Patience Required

All scars are different, and will therefore respond differently to treatments. The healing process is determined by a variety of factors, including genetics, collagen production, metabolism, nutrition, stress levels, and age, and it’s impossible to accurately calculate the amount of time needed to experience results from creams, peels, and other solutions. Some individuals may see instant improvements. Others may instead have to try multiple avenues before seeing real results.

When attempting new treatments, it’s important to be patient and allow the body to heal at its own pace. Don’t give up, and don’t try to rush the effects.

Are you curious about the scar solutions mentioned here? Contact us today! We’ll be happy to provide you with more information. Don’t forget to subscribe to our blog as well for instant inbox updates!

Old Scars: Treatment Options

Old Scars: Treatment Options

There are many types of scars, just as there are many types of scar treatments. Individuals are forever bombarded with endless creams, ointments, and abrasion pads – and it can prove confusing to choose between them. For many, the best option is to utilize a variety of natural and medical options when trying to improve the appearance of scars.

Read More: New Or Old Scars

Topical Remedies:

Aloe Vera

This gelatinous extract (from the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant) delivers superior relief during the initial stages of scar healing. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that heal wounded skin, soothing irritation and helping to increase moisture. This softens the scar, keeps is moisturized and improves its appearance, however it does not fade the scar.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the best ways to fade scars. Always choose a stable form of Vitamin C (such as in InviCible Scars.) Healthy collagen production is necessary to reduce the size and appearance of scarring overall, and that is something that Vitamin C can play a big role in, as this vitamin is essential in the collagen production that is required to formulate healthy connective tissue in a wound.

Dimethicone Silicone

Silicone is one of the best ways to treat old scars. It relieves scar redness, pain and itching, improves scar elasticity and can treat and prevent difficult scars like hypertrophic scars.

Honey

Scars often create a lack of moisture in the skin. Honey helps to provide that moisture, providing the tissues with alkaline-rich properties and antioxidants. This revitalizes the hydration process and reduces scarring. Raw honey (not pasteurized) should be used.

Read More: Nutrition

More Invasive Options:

If topical scar treatments don’t help, there are several more invasive options for people to consider. Dermabrasion is the process of carefully removing layers of skin. It utilizes a series of rotating brushes, which spin quickly across raised tissue to reduce its thickness and rigidity. It’s used most often for facial scars, such as ones left by acne or surgeries.

Tissue fillers are aptly named, with dermatologists injecting the skin with substances like hyaluronic acid or calcium hydroxyapatite. These mimic the effects of collagen and help to redefine the skin’s natural contours. This reduces the appearance of scars, as well as improving their overall textures.

Read More: Dermabrasion

Surgical scar revision can also be a very good option for some problem scars, especially scars that healed poorly or unevenly, and ice-pick acne scars. This of course creates a new scar, but replaces the problem scar with a scar that heals better and more predictably.

Consult With a Board Certified Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon

Before starting any scar treatment program – whether natural or medical – individuals should consult with a specialist. This will allow them to choose the right products for their particular needs, as well as help them avoid dangerous OTC options (such as hydroquinone or kojic acid). Be aware that no treatment is guaranteed and results will vary based on a patient’s specific scar type, skin type, healing rate, and genetic profile.

Have a question about your old scar? Leave us a comment! Be sure to subscribe to Scars and Spots as well to have all updates delivered right to your inbox.