Is a Red Scar a Permanent Scar?

Is a Red Scar a Permanent Scar?

If you have a scar that appears very red, you may be wondering how long it will stay red or whether it is permanent. First of all, all scars are permanent. Some scars can be lightened and softened so much that they barely show, but scars do not disappear completely, leaving normal, healthy skin behind. Also, the redness of a scar does not tell how permanent the scar is or how much it will heal and improve in the future.

If you want an idea of how long a red scar will last (or stay red), a better question is what kind of scar it is, or why it is red. For example: Is it a keloid scar? A hypertrophic scar? Which type of acne scar is it?

Almost all new scars are red, although they tend to be redder in some people than in others. When a wound first begins to heal, a lot of scar tissue is produced. This healing process is nourished by lots of tiny blood vessels that the body produces to (temporarily) provide an extra blood supply. This causes the area to appear red.

In children, scars often get redder and redder for the first few months. The scar may be slightly raised and feel firm to the touch. In adults or children, there is typically a peak of redness within the first few months, and then the scar will become flatter, softer, and lighter in color.

Once you have a scar, you will always have it. However, a mature scar will in most cases be much less noticeable than a new scar. If your scar is red because it is new, give it some time – it’s too early to predict its final appearance. Some people heal with finer, thinner, lighter, or otherwise less obvious scars than others. It can take up to a year or more before you see the final scar.

Some quick tips to treat scars: Gently massage scar as soon as the wound has healed over (about 2 weeks), progressively becoming more aggressive as the scar matures. Old scars that are firm and raised can be massaged aggressively to break up the abnormal collagen creating the firmness. Use a scar treatment containing specific ingredients to treat redness and dark pigment such as dimethicone silicone, Vitamin C and licorice extract.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave us 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.
How Is Scar Tissue Different from Normal Tissue?

How Is Scar Tissue Different from Normal Tissue?

Scars are a completely natural part of the way the body heals itself. The biologic process of wound repair in skin (as well as other tissue) results in scarring. Only the most minor wounds heal without forming visible scars. They can be caused from any type of skin damage, from accidents and surgeries to diseases and acne.  The resulting scar tissue will have different characteristics than the surrounding normal tissue.

Changes is Tissue Structure
When normal tissue is viewed under a microscope, it can appear in different ways, depending on what kind of tissue it is. It might be dense, irregular, and loose with fibers that run in various directions, or there might be dense, regular, elongated fibers that all run in the same direction. Either way, when the tissue is damaged, it heals in a haphazard pattern. This is what is known as scarring, and it can sometimes be severe enough to restrict movement and even cause pain.

Changes in Appearance
There are different types of scars, and no two scars are identical. In most cases, a scar will be flat and pale. But in some cases, the body produces too much collagen, resulting in a raised scar. Raised scars are either hypertrophic or keloid scars, and both are more common in dark-skinned people as well as younger people. A scar may appear red or pink at first and then fade.

Sometimes, a scar can appear sunken. The reasons for this is that underlying structures that support the skin such as fat and muscle have been damaged or lost. This is common with surgical scars as well as acne scars. A scar may also have the appearance of stretched skin. Stretch marks occur when the skin stretches rapidly, as it does during pregnancy and growth spurts. This can also happen when, during the healing process, the skin is under tension – for example, near a joint.

Differences in Scars
Scars form differently on different people, and even in different locations on the body in the same person. In addition, each scar is subject to a different set of environmental factors. For example, how much vitamin A is consumed, how much sunlight the developing scar is exposed to, and whether or not the person smoked or exercised regularly are all examples of things that can affect the way a scar heals.

Regardless of the type of scar, certain ingredients in your scar treatment can help minimize its appearance as well as any itching, discomfort, or pain, such as dimethicone silicone. Massage and moisture also play key roles in scar healing. Understanding how scar tissue differs from normal skin and how certain treatments affect it can help ensure that you are able to effectively minimize your scars.

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

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Does Onion Extract Get Rid of Scars?

Does Onion Extract Get Rid of Scars?

Many people have scars they want to get rid of, whether the scar is new or it has been there for years. So it’s understandable that people try many different methods of scar healing. Part of the problem is that there is so much conflicting information out there that it can be hard to know what is accurate and what isn’t. Choose the wrong product, and the results will be disappointing. At best, you’ve wasted money and your scar remains unchanged; at worst, you could actually worsen your scar, damage your skin or overall health, or have an allergic reaction. This is why it’s so important to separate truth from speculation when choosing skin care products, and to choose products that are safe, natural, and known to be effective.

Many purported scar treatments on the market contain onion extract. Proponents claim that onion extract reduces redness and decreases scar size. Therefore, studies have been conducted that examine whether these beliefs are true. The results of the studies have not been favorable. In studies such as this one, where patients applied topical products to scars regularly for a set amount of time, no benefit was shown in the group using onion extract.

For starters, onion extract has not been shown to be any more effective than plain petroleum jelly. That is, not very effective at all, since neither offers any real benefit beyond moisturizing. Further, researchers have been unable to show that onion extract reduces redness or itching, or that it improves the appearance of hypertrophic or other scars. In addition, onion is acidic and could possibly even cause damage to the skin. Similarly, onion extract shows no real benefit when used on stretch marks, either.

If you want to use onion extract in your scar healing routine, you’d be better off eating it. Onions contain powerful antioxidants and have a healthy dose of vitamin C, both of which are good for scar healing. No one who wants a scar to heal should smoke, since smoking reduces oxygen in the bloodstream and therefore inhibits healing – but in patients who smoke anyway, antioxidants are especially important. Foods with antioxidant properties such as beans, berries, and many other fruits and vegetables should be part of any scar healing regimen. Onions certainly have a place in an overall nutritional strategy for improving scars, but when applied topically, the extract appears to be generally useless.

You will get much better results with a product that contains proven scar healers like dimethicone silicone. Staying out of the sun, avoiding smoking, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet will all work to diminish scars and improve the overall appearance of your skin. The best choice for a scar healing product is one that contains ingredients that scientific studies have proven to be effective and safe, combined with lifestyle choices that promote overall health and healing, as well as good circulation.

The verdict? Stick with these tips for the best result, and don’t bother with the onion extract.

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Who Is at Risk for Developing Keloid Scars?

Who Is at Risk for Developing Keloid Scars?

Unfortunately, even though many people might want reassurance that their surgery, piercing, or other skin injury will not lead to a keloid scar, there is no accurate way to predict this. A keloid scar is a scar that remains large, raised, dark, and possibly painful or itchy after the injury is healed; it also may continue to grow, resulting in a large, lumpy, puffy, or otherwise unsightly scar.

The fact is that it is not well-understood why some people develop keloids and why some people don’t, or why the same person might form a keloid scar in one area and not in another. It is known that the cellular signals that control growth change somehow, causing the keloid formation, but it is not understood why or how these changes occur.

Keloids Sometimes Run in Families
Men and women are equally likely to develop keloids. In the past, keloids were more common in women, because women got more earlobe and body piercings. Now this is no longer the case, and keloids are found with roughly equal frequency in men and women. The tendency for keloids to form may also run in families in some instances, so if someone in your family has a keloid, you may want to rethink a piercing, tattoo, or nonessential surgery.

At What Ages Do Keloids Form?
Although a keloid scar can form at any age, they do seem to occur most often between the ages of 10 and 30, with the average keloid sufferer in his or her early 20s. Keloids are less common in children and in the elderly, but they do occur at these ages, too.

Read: Do Scars Grow With Age?

Keloids More Likely to Form in Certain Skin Types and In Certain Areas
Keloids can occur in all skin types, although people with certain skin types may also be more vulnerable. There is a higher incidence of keloids in people with darker skin types as well as extremely fair skin types. Keloids can also occur on any part of the skin, but certain areas may be more likely to see keloid formation. Areas where there are piercings are particularly susceptible, as are areas where the skin stretches or otherwise experiences tension during wound healing.

Prevention Is Key
Because keloid scarring is difficult to treat, people should make choices that minimize their risk of developing a keloid scar in the first place. People who know that they are in a high-risk group – because they have dark skin, for example, or are the right age or have had a keloid scar before – should avoid any type of piercing or elective surgery. If you do get piercings or surgery anyway, or have some other type of skin injury, then steps should be taken to ensure fast and complete healing, avoid infection, and reduce skin tension as the area heals. Be sure to eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise, and avoid smoking for optimal healing of any wound.

Treatment
If you do find that you are developing a keloid scar, immediately becoming proactive in treating it may minimize the size and appearance of the scar. A silicone-based scar treatment will definitely help. See your dermatologist or plastic surgeon as soon as you see changes that you find concerning. If you are developing a keloid, the next step in terms of treatment options is a steroid injection into the scar. This can make the scar much softer and prevent it from getting worse. Occasionally you may need more than one steroid injection over time, but be sure to discuss the risks with your physician beforehand. If steroid injections don’t work, more invasive options are available for really severe cases. These include re-excision, often in conjunction with another steroid shot, and even radiation therapy if the keloid is exceptionally severe.

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

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Can You Tattoo Over Hypertrophic Scars?

Can You Tattoo Over Hypertrophic Scars?

In recent years, tattooing over or around scars to hide or camouflage them has become increasingly popular. Some people want to reduce the visibility of their scar, while some people want to make a scar that reminds them of a significant time or event even more meaningful with a tattoo. However, if the tattoo does not turn out well because of the type of scar a person has, the desired results are not achieved and the person will deal with unnecessary pain and disappointment. That’s why it is important to find a tattoo artist with extensive experience covering scars who can give you the information you need on whether or not your scar can be tattooed over.

Most scars will take tattoos just fine as long as they are completely healed and if the person waits at least 2 years after the injury or surgery. When it comes to hypertrophic scars, however, there is some uncertainty regarding whether a tattoo is a good option or not. First of all, it is crucial to distinguish hypertrophic scars from keloid scars. Keloid scars grow beyond the original shape and size of the skin injury, and cannot be tattooed. Even if a keloid scar has been stable for some time, it’s possible that a tattoo could irritate it into resuming growth.

A hypertrophic scar, however, while often thick, raised, and darker in color than the surrounding skin, does not grow and can often be tattooed. A person should wait until the scar is completely healed, avoid tattooing scars that are still red, and make sure the tattoo artist they choose has experience tattooing over this type of scar.

Having Realistic Expectations
As long as an experienced tattoo artist feels that your scar can be tattooed successfully, and you have a good understanding of what to expect, then feel free to start discussing tattoo designs and scheduling appointments. Realize that there won’t be any guarantee that the tattoo will meet your expectations, especially because it’s impossible to predict how scar tissue will react to being tattooed. Sometimes the ink may look lighter or lines may look blurrier than on regular skin. A small test line on a scarred area may be advisable to see how the tattoo looks on the scar before doing the complete tattoo.

Read: Can You Tattoo Over Scars?

Another thing to expect is that a tattoo on a scarred area may require multiple touch ups. Be prepared for these types of tattoos to take longer and require multiple visits. Discuss pain with the artist ahead of time. In different people, scars react to pain in different ways. Some scars have reduced sensitivity and the tattooing process may actually be less painful than normal; other scars, particularly those where nerves have been damaged, may cause the person more pain when getting the tattoo.

Read: Do Temporary Tattoos Cause Scars?

Finally, consider options for the design. If you have something specific in mind, discuss this with the artist and see how he or she feels about its effectiveness in camouflaging your scar. The tattoo will probably need to be larger than the scarred area for the best coverage. The artist will probably have some good ideas for the best design, so be sure to ask about this. And keep in mind that even if it is determined that the scar cannot be tattooed, it is still possible that a tattoo could be designed around the scar to conceal it somewhat. This may be an especially effective technique when the scar is thin or in the case of several smaller scars.

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