There are several different types of scars that result from an injury and among them is the hypertrophic scar.
The hypertrophic scar varies somewhat from other scars in that its appearance tends to be red and elevated. They can also be itchy or even painful. However, unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars stay within the boundaries of the initial area of injury.
Hypertrophic scars tend to start developing within the weeks following an injury, and they may continue to redden and thicken for months. Their raised appearance can improve with consistent scar massage over the course of several months. However, depending on the severity of the scar and the nature of its origin, it can take a year or even longer for the scar to begin to flatten and fade.
What Causes Hypertrophic Scars?
All scars are caused by some type of injury to the skin, whether the injury is elective (as in surgery or piercing) or accidental. Everyday occurrences known for causing hypertrophic scars include burns, cuts, and body piercings. Hypertrophic scars are typically the result of an injury to the deeper layers of skin or the dermis. The reason they become elevated is that the body creates excess amounts of collagen to repair the damaged skin.
How to Treat Hypertrophic Scars
Although hypertrophic scars can improve somewhat over time on their own, it’s worth doing what you can to aid the process because the process can take a long time, as mentioned above. Also, hypertrophic scars located close to joints may restrict movement.
For topical treatments, look for ingredients such as aloe vera (to combat inflammation), dimethicone silicone (to increase elasticity and flatten the scar), licorice root extract and vitamin C (to fade the discoloration.) Avoid hydroquinone and kojic acid (all of which are potentially harmful and might worsen rather than improve the scar), as well as Vitamin E, while good for anti-aging, is not good for scars.
When using a topical treatment know that it requires an exercise in patience. There is no overnight or quick cure. It will take several months before you begin to see results. You’ll need to employ scar massage when applying your scar treatment twice daily. Scar massage will help to flatten the elevation of your scar.
More invasive treatments are available as well for stubborn hypertrophic scars. These treatments include scar revision surgery, steroid injections, and laser therapy, to name just a few. However, topical treatments are a good first resort and are often highly successful all by themselves.
There are some things to keep in mind to make improvements in the appearance of any scar, including the new scar created by scar revision surgery. You should avoid sun exposure, which can permanently darken any scar; also, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water, both of which keep the body in optimal health and its healing capabilities functioning at their best.
Exercise gets the blood pumping healing oxygen to the site of the scar and throughout the body. Massaging the scar and the skin around the scar can also help with circulation and stimulate the body’s healing action. Keeping a scar moisturized will also help, and may even help with the itching often associated with hypertrophic scars.
Take heart; hypertrophic scars may by frustrating, but with time and proper treatment, they are likely to shrink and fade significantly.
Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!
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