Do’s and Don’ts of Scar Prevention

Do’s and Don’ts of Scar Prevention

Scar tissue is a normal part of the skin’s healing process from any wound, including those caused by surgeries or accidents. Scars form because the collagen production works quickly after the skin has been wounded to mend the injury and protect the body from any further injury or infection. Since it goes through a more rapid healing process, the tissue does not have the exact same makeup of normal skin cells, which is why it looks different. (Read: Why Scar Tissue is Different from Normal Tissue.) Many variables influence the look of scars, including the size, depth and shape of the wound, as well as how much blood is able to visit the area during the healing process. Luckily, there are easy prevention methods to ensure that your injury or surgery does not end with a lifelong reminder in the form of a visible scar.

Do Get Stitches

Deep wounds, or cuts that can spread apart, heal faster and better when stitched by a professional doctor as soon as possible after the injury. Stitches minimize the wound area and make it easier for the body to heal the injury. This reduces the area of new skin forming, which minimizes the amount of scar tissue.

Do Protect the Wound

When you have a wound, you should keep it moist to prevent scabbing and allow the healing process to commence by applying a first aid cream like Neosporin. You should also keep it covered with a non-stick bandage to protect further injury and keep it from drying out. Once you see new skin forming, you can stop covering it with a bandage and begin applying your scar treatment.

Read: What Affects Wound Healing?

Do Massage the Scar

Gentle massage should start as soon as it’s tolerable, usually a couple of weeks after the skin has healed over. Massaging your scar breaks up the collagen and reduces the size of scar tissue forming; use the time when applying your scar treatment to massage the newly formed scar.

Read: How Do You Soften Scar Tissue?

Don’t be Impatient

When you wait for your injury or wound to heal, be patient. You should not pick at any scabs or use hydrogen peroxide. Although hydrogen peroxide provides beneficial first aid to the initial wound, subsequent use kills both good skin cells as well as bacteria making the wound more susceptible to infection. Instead, just allow the body to heal naturally. It takes 1-2 years for a scar to fully mature and there is no quick fix despite what you’ve heard.

Don’t Linger in the Sun

The damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun can interrupt the healing process, making it more likely that you will develop a scar. Additionally, UV rays discolor the scar tissue by stimulating pigment-producing cells. Skin is more vulnerable to discoloration when it is healing, so it is even more important to protect the area from the sun by covering it up with clothing or using sunscreen.

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

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Which Scars Are Permanent?

Which Scars Are Permanent?

The simple answer? Most scars are permanent.

While you may not be able to remove scars completely, you can get rid of scars, per say, by using a scar treatment in combination with the right diet, exercise and massage.

Fading a Scar

The ultimate goal for most people is to reduce the appearance of their scar. There are many ways to help a scar fade over time and one of the biggest contributors to scar fading is nutrition. By having the right balance of nutrients, the body is able to supply the scar tissue with the nutrients required to heal properly and reduce the appearance of the scar. Just as it is important to ingest these nutrients, regular application of creams with vital nutrients is also helpful to minimize your scar’s appearance.

Read: How Nutrition Affects Scar Healing

Read: How Does Zinc Affect Skin and Scar Healing?

Exercise is another element that can help fade scars. Giving the muscles, ligaments, and skin movement around the scar is going to help reduce the amount and severity of the scar tissue; thus, reducing the appearance.

Beware of the Sun

Some people are under the misconception that regardless of whether or not a scar is new or old, they can simply sit in the sun to even it out or attempt to hide it under a tan. Nothing could be further from the truth. The last thing a scar needs is exposure from the sun.

Scar tissue is not like normal skin. When it comes to how it feels, they way it functions, and its overall appearance it is quite inferior. Old and new scars alike are prone to sunburn, especially when they are brand new, they are less resistant to ultraviolet rays and can permanently be darkened with too much exposure from the sun. This is even truer for people who have dark skin complexions.

Read: How Does the Sun Affects Scars?

To prevent these things from happening, you should take extra care when preparing to be in the sun. All year long you should make every effort to protect your scars from direct sun exposure.

  • Sun block with high SPF should be applied directly onto the scar.
  • Using a water resistant sun block is important, but remember to re-apply every 2 hours.
  • If you are unable to avoid the sun entirely, you should wear sun protective clothing over scars. Clothing with a high UPV of 50 would be just right.

Avoid Smoking

When it comes to skin healing, smoking is known to be linked to complications. Typically, plastic surgeons recommend that at least a month before any plastic surgery procedure, patients give up smoking.

Read: How Does Smoking Affect Scar Healing?

When any cuts or wounds occur, scars simply are a part of the healing process. They need to mature for healing to be completed. This can take many months to happen. Infections can be related to smoking as one of the complications to healing. Scars may worsen if infections should develop.

For those that are looking to reduce the appearance of their scars, avoiding certain behaviors is going to be the best way to make the scar less noticeable. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help promote healing and diminish the look of any scar, as well as using your scar treatment regularly and consistently.

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How Do I Fade My Melanoma Scar?

How Do I Fade My Melanoma Scar?

Melanoma is diagnosed about 68,000 times each year in the U.S., and it’s estimated that another 48,000 people have an early form of the disease that only affects the top layer of skin. Each of these people are left with a melanoma scar after treatment.

The word ‘melanoma’ sounds pretty ominous in itself, but it’s called this because the cancer starts in the pigmented cells called melanocytes. The melanocytes are found on any skin surface; thus melanoma can occur anywhere in the body.

Because melanoma is likely to spread to other parts of the body, doctors don’t like to take any chances and will remove not only the entire growth, but also a substantial tissue around it. If the average melanoma is about the size of a pea, that can be a pretty big wound, especially if it’s on the face or other visible part of the body. Doctors at the Saarland University Hospital in Homburg, Germany at the Department of Dermatology report that the currently required safety margins for melanomas lead to extensive and profound wounds.

If you’ve already had melanoma, you have probably been wondering what to do about the melanoma scar, and how to shrink or fade a melanoma scar.

The answer is to use a scar treatments that avoid skin irritants and uses natural ingredients proven to work on reducing the redness and size of the scar. The reason why you want an all-natural formula is because you don’t want to disturb the skin cells that are remaining. By using a chemical that is a known carcinogen or possibly carcinogenic, you weaken the remaining cells and can potentially induce genetic changes within the cell’s DNA.

Cancer occurs in three steps:  initiation, promotion and metastasis. Initiation is where sunlight, chemicals, radiation, viruses or tobacco change the cell’s genetic material. Step 2 is called promotion. This is when cells that have already been altered genetically are changed to form cancer cells by drugs or substances in the environment. Metastasis is where the cancer cells spread throughout the body.

Here’s a shocking fact:  the medical literature is full of case studies where melanoma scars turned cancerous years after the cancer was removed. Finding out that you have cancer not once but twice is too much of a shock to the body, soul and mind.

Researchers report that genes involved in wound healing may play a role in determining melanoma scar outcome. Poorer scar outcome of melanoma scars were associated with thyroid problems and infection, among other things.

By using an all-natural scar removal formula, common sense would tell you that you decrease the risk of developing cancer in the area. Of course, you still have to change habits of sun exposure and exposing your skin to other carcinogenic compounds, but researchers believe that the skin of a scar is different than regular skin and may be more sensitive to changes from environmental influences.

Sources:

J Dtsch Dermatol Ges 2013 Mar 6 (Epub ahead of print)

Arch Dermatol Res 2012 Jul;304(5):342-51.