My Scar Won’t Stop Itching, Is This Normal?

My Scar Won’t Stop Itching, Is This Normal?

Is It Normal for My Scar to Itch?

A wound can be inflicted in an instant. But the recovery process is never quite so quick. There are many reasons you may have a scar, ranging from an accident to a skin disease to recent surgery. Beyond that, there are a variety of different kinds of scars, each with a slightly different road to full recovery. But one fairly widespread symptom of a recent scar that may affect you, regardless of how you acquired your scar or what type it may be, is itching. This is most common for burn victims or others suffering from keloid scars. However, itching is known to be an issue for many other forms of scarring as well.

A study in Texas several years back revealed that as many as 87 percent of burn victims experience itchiness. Of those, 96 percent have three or more itching attacks per day. Conversely, more than half of these attacks last more than thirty minutes. So if you are suffering from such attacks, know that you are not alone and that the itchiness will slowly deteriorate over time.

So why does your scar itch in the first place? There are several possible reasons. For starters, itching is a normal part of the healing process, so if a newer scar itches, it may very well stop as it heals further. Itching in an older scar can mean that there was damage to the nerve endings. Also, itching can simply be due to dry skin. Scars need to be moisturized for optimal healing and being diligent with this step can also improve itching dramatically.

So Is It Okay for Me to Scratch My Itchy Scar?

The answer to this question is highly dependent on the nature of your scar and how you acquired it. If it is a recent wound, just like with any scab, scratching can cause the wound to reopen, which lengthens the time of recovery and increases the chances of permanent scarring. Scratching is risky because you end up scraping away the new tissue, setting back the healing process. Furthermore, if the wound is reopened, there is also the possibility of infection. In short, while scratching your itch may result in immediate alleviation of an annoyance, the potential ramifications far outweigh that relief.

When it comes to post-wound itching problems, you may be suffering from an acute itch, which lasts up to six months after the initial injury, or a chronic itch, which could last much longer. Since scratching has the potential to slow the healing process and a full recovery, the most effective solution is to resist the temptation and wait it out.

Some over-the-counter alternatives that may alleviate some of the discomfort include placing a damp towel or an ice pack on the scar or applying antihistamines. 

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

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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.

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Can a Tanning Bed Help Heal Acne or Scars?

Can a Tanning Bed Help Heal Acne or Scars?

The relationship between tanning beds and acne is a complicated one. Many believe that tanning beds can help heal or reduce the appearance of acne, either because of the drying effect of tanning or because they think that tanning will “even out” the skin tone and make acne less visible. However, neither theory is based on scientific evidence, and both are misguided.

Read: Does Tanning Get Rid of Acne Scars?

Indeed, the reality of tanning beds is that there is no scientific evidence that they can help clear up acne. In fact, tanning beds are more likely to worsen the skin’s appearance by contributing to fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging. Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence that tanning beds (similar to outdoor sun exposure) can lead to skin cancer.

It’s true that there’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence that tanning improves the appearance of acne. However, the truth is that any improvement is highly temporary, because even though the darkening of the skin can mask the redness associated with acne, it does not heal the acne and as soon as the tan fades, the acne will still be there.

How Do Tanning Beds Affect Existing Scars?

Just as with acne, there seems to be a common belief that tanning beds can mask the appearance of existing scars. Many people use tanning beds in an attempt to darken the skin around the scar, camouflaging the scar and reducing its visibility. But how an individual scar will respond to tanning is unpredictable. A newer scar may become inflamed in response to UV rays and the result may be delayed healing or even a permanent darkening of the scar. Older scars may not tan at all, resulting in a stark white scar made even more visible next to the darker surrounding skin. In either case, the result is obviously not desirable.

Besides, tanning beds are simply not advisable due to the reasons mentioned above. They contribute to skin cancer and premature aging, and simply do not achieve what many hope for: clearer skin and less noticeable scars.

A Safer Option

A much safer and healthier option likely to yield better results than a tanning bed is the spray tan. The response of a scar to a spray tan is also difficult to predict, but a spray tan is more likely to achieve the desired result than a tanning bed. Also, you won’t be exposing yourself to harmful UV rays in the process. The masking effects of a spray tan on a scar may vary depending on the age of the scar, but in general, spray tans are less likely to worsen the appearance of the scar than tanning beds.

Read: How Does the Sun Affect Scars?

Keep in mind that a spray tan does not provide protection against the sun’s UV rays, so you should still use sunscreen when you go outdoors to protect your scar and the rest of your skin. Be sure to test a small, inconspicuous area of your skin to make sure you don’t have an undesirable reaction to the product.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Tips to Conceal Scars as They Heal

Tips to Conceal Scars as They Heal

Scars tell a story, whether good or bad, and every individual will end up with a scar at some point in his or her life. However, not every individual wants to showcase that scar to the world.

Fortunately, with today’s treatments, it is easier than ever to not only speed up the healing process but to allow a scar to heal to the point to where it is almost indistinguishable from the surrounding healthy skin on an individual’s body. But that doesn’t mean that a scar is invisible during the healing process, which means that people still have to find ways to conceal their injuries while they are allowing them to heal.

Apart from wearing long sleeves and slacks for months and months on end, is there really a way to thoroughly conceal scars as they heal? Some people may be surprised to know that there are ways to keep scars hidden. However, it is important to do it the right way.

Using Makeup to Cover Scars

One of the most common solutions for covering up any scar is to use makeup. This comes with an added bonus. Damage from the sunlight can worsen the appearance of scars, so choosing a foundation to cover up scars that has added sun protection in the form of SPF provides you with additional protection for your scar as it heals.

Read: How Does the Sun Affect Scars

Remember that if you do choose to use a concealer, as the foundation for the scar, opt for one that works with the tone of the scar itself. A pink or red scar is best covered with a concealer that has green undertones while one that is closer to the tone of the skin is better matched with skin-toned concealer. And of course, even when not using makeup, it is always a good idea to use a good sunscreen whenever the scar is going to be exposed to sunlight to ensure that it is protected.

Read: 4 Tips for Concealing Acne Scars

Priming Skin for Makeup Use

Remember that any time you plan to cover up healing skin with anything, including makeup, it is important to prime your skin with the appropriate healing treatments. For example, using products containing stable Vitamin C can be incredibly effective in helping to produce healthy collagen to replace the damaged, broken down collagen from the skin injury, and reduce abnormal pigmentation in the scar. This ensures that the scar continues to heal as well as possible even if it is covered up with a concealer and foundation during the healing process.

Remember to avoid skin lightening agents, bleaching agents, and other primers that contain harmful compounds such as hydroquinone, as these can be incredibly harmful to the skin, and can even damage the skin during the healing process. While you want to cover up your scars, you also want to help them to heal. Treat them with care and you can leave your skin looking bright, beautiful, and as healthy as it was prior to being injured.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

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What is Scar Desensitization Therapy?

What is Scar Desensitization Therapy?

Often, following surgery or an injury that leaves behind a major wound, the first thing that patients are worried about is how the scar will look when the wound has healed.

While the visibility of scars is a concern, though, it is equally important to think about the overall maneuverability of the area in which the scar tissue is forming. Scar tissue is, by definition, tougher and less pliable than normal skin. Read: Why Scar Tissue is Different from Normal Tissue.

For hands and joints especially, this lack of pliability is a problem, as it can significantly impair the range of motion that you are capable of achieving. Playing instruments is difficult with scarred hands, for instance, just because the scar tissue makes dexterous and accurate movement more difficult.

Scar Desensitization

Luckily, there are types of therapy that can, as a scar heals, help to ensure that it is as pliable and maneuverable as possible in the future. Scar desensitization therapy, for instance, is at least partially designed with this aim in mind. The basic idea behind scar desensitization is that, as a wound continues to heal and scar tissue forms and matures, that tissue becomes tighter, tougher, and less pliable. If allowed to heal without scar desensitization therapy, a scar will have a considerably more adverse impact on range of motion than it would have with therapy.

Scar massage and other similar procedures are the core basis of scar desensitization therapy. By rubbing and tapping on a scar region as it heals and as scar tissue continues to form, you can ensure that scar tissue is growing uniformly across the wound. More systematic growth, in turn, can reduce the feeling of tightness that often comes with a fully healed scar, allowing for a broader range of motion in that part of the body.

Dealing with Hypersensitivity

Scar desensitization also helps to reduce skin hypersensitivity in and around a scar. The site of an injury or surgical incision on the skin can often feel irritated, itchy, or sore for weeks or months after the spot has started healing. The soreness can radiate out from the site of the wound as well, affecting surrounding skin. The nerve fibers of the skin in these spots have been interrupted by the injury, which results in skin that is hypersensitive and often racked with discomfort.

Massaging or tapping the scar as it heals desensitizes these nerve fibers and helps to restore a feeling of normalness to your scar area. In the short term, this therapeutic action contributes to reducing pain and irritation. In the long run, it helps restore capability to the scarred area faster and more fully than would otherwise be possible.

Treating Scars Further

Scar desensitization therapy is smart because it minimizes the ongoing chronic pain of an injury and maximizes the range of motion. These factors are both highly relevant to your continued quality of life, and should be the first thing you address when you begin treating a scar. Afterward, once the scar tissue has formed and the hypersensitive nerve fibers have desensitized, you can start thinking about how to treat the scar to reduce its overall visibility. InviCible Scars can help with that part of the therapeutic process, with our powerful scar treatment cream.

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

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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.

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