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.

Read More: Hyperpigmentation

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

Want to know more about post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation? Leave a comment! We’ll be happy to respond. Don’t forget to also subscribe to Scars and Spots. Our posts will be sent directly to your inbox.

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.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
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.

Read More: Chemical Peel

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!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
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.

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
How to Get Rid of Ice Pick Scars

How to Get Rid of Ice Pick Scars

Severe cases of acne not only cause problems during breakouts, but they can also leave lifelong reminders in the form of scarring. One common type of acne scar is known as ice pick scars, which caused depressions in the skin. Because this type of scarring affects deeper layers of skin, you often have to treat it with more aggressive scar treatment measures.

Read: What Are the Different Types of Acne Scars?

What Causes Ice Pick Scars?

Ice pick scars typically form after an infected blackhead or whitehead becomes excessively irritated and inflamed. This infection can lead to pressure on the skin that causes further inflammation and damage to the skin, especially if it remains untreated. This can lead to the formation of nodules or cysts, which is a more serious type of acne that affects the collagen in the skin. Because the collagen and fibrin is damaged, the regular structure of the skin breaks down, causing the scar tissue in the area to sink into the skin.

What are the Best Ways to Get Rid of Ice Pick Scars?

Because of the nature of ice pick scars, you typically have to undergo more aggressive treatments rather than relying upon an over the counter treatment cream. You should talk with your dermatologist about the best options for treatment. Many doctors will use a treatment known as punch excision, which removes the scar from the skin, allowing the collagen to form correctly when the skin heals. It may be used in conjunction with other treatments. Other common treatments for ice pick scars include laser treatments, dermabrasion, and chemical peels.

Laser Treatments

Laser treatments are a common form of aggressive treatment for all types of acne scars, including ice pick scars. During a laser treatment, your doctor will remove the top layer of skin, which is the most damaged. Depending on the severity of the scarring, you may have to undergo several treatments. There are three different types of laser treatment: CO2, YAG, and fractional laser. The YAG laser treatment promotes the new growth of skin and often has reduced side effects and healing time. Fractional laser is gentler, so it typically is used for ice pick scars that are not as severe.

Other Ways to Remove the Top Layer of Skin

There are other ways to remove the top layer of skin to promote healing, including dermabrasion and a chemical peel. Dermabrasion uses an abrasive tool that scrapes off the damaged skin on top, allowing the healthier skin underneath to come to the surface. A chemical peel works in a similar manner by removing the top layer of skin but uses acids rather than an abrasive tool. You may have red and inflamed skin for a few days to a week after these treatments, and you may have to do it more than once to get the effect you want.

It is possible to reduce the appearance of your acne scars, including your ice pick scars. With the help of your doctor, you can decide which aggressive treatment will work best for you. If you have less severe scarring, you can try a topical acne scar treatment to see if it works before using a more aggressive form of treatment.

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

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
Dermabrasion vs. Microdermabrasion

Dermabrasion vs. Microdermabrasion

Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are two skin treatments that may sound similar, but they are actually two very different procedures. Dermabrasion works on more layers of skin, so it can treat deep wrinkles, scars, and hyperpigmentation. Microdermabrasion, on the other hand, only provides an intensive exfoliation that rejuvenates the skin, but does not work on skin problems that run deep. Before getting one of these treatments, you should understand the difference so that you get the right treatment for your situation.

What is Dermabrasion?

Dermabrasion is a treatment in which a dermatologist or plastic surgeon uses a special instrument to basically sand your skin. This allows new, smoother skin to replace the skin that has been treated. Dermabrasion is often used to remove scars on the skin, especially the face, such as acne scars or pox marks. It can also work on deep wrinkles and other skin problems. However, it cannot help with some skin problems, such as pigmented birthmarks, moles, or burn scars. It can also cause discoloration or scarring in those with darker skin. Dermabrasion is typically performed in a doctor’s office and requires some type of anesthetic. You might also be given medicine to help you relax.

What is Microdermabrasion?

Microdermabrasion is performed by spraying small exfoliating crystals on the skin to remove the unsightly or damaged sin. It is basically an intensive exfoliation and skin rejuvenating treatment, rather than any type of surgery and does not require any anesthetic. It works best on skin problems such as age spots, dark spots, or dull skin, although it can also help with fine lines and wrinkles. It does not work on removing skin problems that effect many layers of skin, including stretch marks, wrinkles, scars, or deep acne scars. It only makes subtle changes, improving your complexion, and does not affect the skin’s pigment, so it is safe on all skin types and skin colors.

What is the Difference Between the Two?

Dermabrasion is more invasive than microdermabrasion. It affects deeper layers of the skin, so it can work on scars and other significant skin problems. However, it also means there is a longer healing time. You might feel a burning sensation for a few days, and you might be given medicine to help with the discomfort. The healing time lasts between 7 and 10 days, although the skin may remain pink for about six to eight weeks. You have to avoid sunlight until the pink color fades. Microdermabrasion, on the other hand, has a smaller window of healing. The skin will be temporarily pink, but within 24 hours it is well.

Because dermabrasion is a more invasive treatment, it also has more possible side effects. It could cause uneven changes in skin color that may be temporary or permanent, it might cause a scar, infection may occur, and there may be a darkening of the skin. Microdermabrasion on the other hand has minimal side effects, typically just the potential for irritation if the crystals get into eyes. Once you have undergone the treatment, be sure to take care of the skin to ensure it heals well and does not lead to more problems.

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

© 2013-2017 All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright