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Do Topical Steroids Fade Scars?

Do Topical Steroids Fade Scars?

What are Topical Steroids?

Steroids are chemicals that are produced naturally by the body. They have a variety of functions including decreasing inflammation. The body produces 2 main types of steroids:

Glucocorticoids

These carbohydrate-based hormones regulate the metabolic system, as well as expedite the creation of anti-inflammatory proteins. They allow the body to maintain appropriate levels of glucose, amino acids, and adipocytes.

Mineralocorticoids

These aldosterone-based hormones filter water and electrolytes through the body (specifically the kidneys). They regulate salt secretion, as well as the regulating potassium levels. They also affect the skin’s overall hydration levels.

Topical steroids are man-made chemicals that mimic these naturally-occurring chemicals we have in our bodies. Topical steroids are most commonly used to reduce inflammation and are often used in the treatment of skin disorders such as eczema, dermatitis, poison ivy or oak reactions, and rashes.

Topical steroids have been commonly used throughout the world for over fifty years, and they rank among the most popular methods for fading scars. Do they really work?

Read More: Steroids

Do Topical Steroids Fade Scars?

According to a landmark study published by the Journal of Burn Care and Research (and conducted by the Shriners’ Burns Institute of Cincinnati), topical steroids are not successful in fading scars. During a test of 159 patients – each suffering from post-burn contractures – doctors applied these formulas to skin and monitored the results for a year. No favorable changes were seen in scar thickness, texture, or pliability. Instead doctors discovered adverse reactions, including thinning of the skin and bruising, in 16.4% of patients.

Some physicians still prescribe topical steroids for the treatment of scars. Beyond decreasing inflammation however, there does not appear to be any real benefit in terms of improving scar appearance or texture.

Consult With Your Doctor

Those considering steroids should always consult with their physician first. Prolonged use can have long-lasting, negative side effects and is best overseen by a doctor.

Also be sure to ask about alternative topical scar treatments, particularly products containing silicone. Other topical therapies that have been shown to improve scar appearance include vitamin C, aloe vera, and Vitamin A.

Read More: Scar Treatments

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How to Get Rid of Scars Fast

How to Get Rid of Scars Fast

There’s good news and bad news for those who are trying to get rid of scars fast.

The skin is a seamless organ, smooth and soft; as such, its appearance can be altered significantly by even a minor scar.

Usually, scars aren’t a big deal when they are small or easily hidden under clothes. However, when a scar is larger or visible even when you’re wearing clothes, you most likely want to find a way to treat it and help it go away as quickly as possible.

The bad news is that there’s no way to get rid of a scar “quickly;” scars take time to fade and, even then, most scars are permanent and will never completely disappear. Scarring is a natural part of the healing process following an injury, and the way your scar heals depends on many factors including the size and depth of the wound, your age, your ethnicity, and more.

The good news, however, is that there are things you can do to help your scar become flatter, lighter, and generally much less noticeable. [Read more…]

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How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal?

How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal?

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. [Read more…]

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Acne Scar Consultation – What to Expect

Acne Scar Consultation – What to Expect

Many people who have acne are embarrassed by it, and feel as though it interferes with their social lives. When you have acne, the last thing you want is a permanent reminder of it with the scars that are left behind. Fortunately there are ways to treat acne scars that can give you a much clearer complexion. The first step to any treatment begins with an acne scar consultation. If you have never had one before, you may be wondering what to expect.

Starts With a Discussion

Typically, the initial consultation will be with your dermatologist, although you might start discussing scar treatment with your general practitioner. The consultation begins with a discussion about your acne and the residual scars. Your doctor will ask questions to learn your goals, as well as your history with acne, and previous acne treatment. Before your appointment, compile a list of the medications, skin products or other treatments you have used for both your acne and the scarring, as this will help your doctor plan further treatment. Do not be shy about your feelings about your acne scars, and be honest about what you have tried. The more information your doctor has, the better he or she will be able to help you. You will also need to answer questions about your general health.

Examination

The next step in the consultation will be a skin examination. Your doctor will look closely at the acne scars and any active acne lesions you may have to better understand your specific condition. The doctor may also take pictures that can help with monitoring the efficacy of treatment.

Discussing Treatment Options

Next, your doctor will talk with you about the available treatment options. If you still have acne, your doctor will work on treating the acne before starting scar treatment. Depending on the extent and type of scarring, the treatment may include a cream, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, collagen-induction therapy, fillers, skin resurfacing using laser therapy, chemical peeling, or injections with corticosteroids or other medications. Your doctor will talk with you about the options best suited to your situation.

When you discuss treatment options, be sure to ask questions so that you feel comfortable with the plan. Some important questions include: how long does the treatment take, is there any pain involved in the treatment, will there be a period of healing time after the treatment, how long will it take to see results, will the treatment even out the skin tone, and what is the cost of the treatment? Most importantly, be sure to get all your questions answered!

You have many options for acne scar treatment. Seek professional help to find the best option for you.

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

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Scars and Self-Esteem

Scars and Self-Esteem

When you have scars, your self-esteem can be affected, especially if the scars are in an area not easily hidden by clothing. Although facial scars often cause the most problems for self-confidence, any visible scar can make a person self-conscious. However, you do not have to let your scars affect your self-confidence. There are several treatment options available for reducing the appearance of scars.

Why Scars Affect Self Confidence and Self-Esteem

A healthy body image leads to a healthy self-esteem and self-confidence. However, the opposite is also true. An unhealthy body image often contributes to low-self esteem, a negative self-worth and a lack of confidence. Often, scars cause a person to have a negative body image. When these scars are in a prominent location, especially the face, they can lead to even more problems with self-confidence. First impressions are largely based on looks, and if a person feels self-conscious about his or her appearance, it can make him or her more timid. A person will feel as though other people only see their scars, and believe it affects their attractiveness and ability to make friends.

Scarring also often leads to feelings of depression, which also affects a person’s self-worth and confidence. If the scar came from a traumatic event, there could also be some lingering emotions and feelings associated with that event. Other feelings may be associated the scar, including shame and embarrassment, that also affect a person’s confidence. Studies have shown that people with visible scars feel that the scars affected how others perceived them. In these studies, most people with scars felt that they had some sort of stigma attached to them and that others see them as less attractive. These feelings lead to self-consciousness and a lack of self-confidence. If these feelings of depression are affecting you so much that it is detrimental to your mental health, please seek out the help of a local therapist who can best assist you.

Non-Invasive Scar Treatments

You can get help with your visible scars. There are many topical scar creams available you can put on the scar to help it to heal and lighten faster, although it still takes time for them to work. You want to find a cream that uses effective but safe ingredients, such as silicone, licorice root extract and vitamin C. You should stay away from vitamin E, as it can cause contact dermatitis. If you experience pain or develop a hypertrophic scar or a keloid scar, you should to your doctor about steroid injections, which soften the scar and prevent it getting any worse.

Read: How Long Does it Take for a Scar to Heal?

Invasive Scar Treatments

There are also more invasive scar treatments you can discuss with your doctor to see if they work in your situation. Some of the most common include laser skin resurfacing, skin grafts, excision, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion. Surgery and skin grafts are usually reserved for scars that impair function or are otherwise problematic. Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are two different treatments that help to reduce the appearance of scars and even out the complexion.

Some of these treatments may be used in conjunction with others, or a person might try a few different methods over time if one does not work. The best place to start is usually scar treatment cream, which you can begin using as soon as your wound is healed.

As we like to say, fade the scar not your confidence.

How has your scar(s) affected you? Share your story in the comments, it may just help someone reading.

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