What Is the Difference Between Atrophic and Hypertrophic Scars?

What Is the Difference Between Atrophic and Hypertrophic Scars?

No two scars are alike. Each one is shaped by genetics, metabolism, perfusion cycles, oxygenation rates, and more – and different wounds respond to different treatments. It’s important, therefore, to understand how the most common tissue tears can be healed. Let’s examine atrophic and hypertrophic scarring.

Read More: Types of Scars

What are Atrophic Scars?

Atrophic scars are flat lesions that appear on the face and body. They’re formed when fatty deposits beneath scar sites disintegrate, causing a sudden recession of collagen and muscle. This decreases the overall elasticity of the skin and creates a shallow, pitted effect.

Atrophic scars are typically associated with skin disorders, such as: chickenpox, cystic acne, or extensive ultraviolet damage. Their sizes, textures, and depths vary greatly. They’re not generally considered painful, but they are often prone to irritation or inflammation.

What are Hypertrophic Scars?

Hypertrophic scars are, unlike their atrophic counterparts, raised lesions. They occur when an excess of collagen builds within the body, causing the tissue to thicken dramatically. They’re clustered around the scar site (unlike keloids, which spiral outward) and feature red, textured appearances.

Hypertrophic scars have many causes – cuts, surgery, burns, or even acne. They will often heal on their own, but the process is slow and sometimes painful (extreme irritation or itching may occur).

How Do Patients Treat These Scars?

Treatment starts with identification. Once patients establish whether they’re suffering from atrophic or hypertrophic scars, they can then quicken the healing process.

Atrophic Scars

Atrophic scars occur when external factors interrupt the body’s collagen process. There are, however, several treatments available to reinvigorate this process:

Dermabrasion

Cylindrical pads move across the scar site, buffing away olds cells and encouraging the growth of new ones. Skin is gently stimulated and collagen production resumes.

Soft Tissue Injections

Soft tissue injections introduce patients to new collagen, pumping controlled doses directly into the scar site. This slowly rebuilds elasticity and fullness.

Silicone Gels

Silicone gels restore natural hydration levels, helping skin achieve greater mobility. They also soften pitted tissue and minimize the appearance of atrophics.

Hypertrophic Scars

Hypertrophic scars occur when the body releases too much collagen, but several treatments are now available to maintain proper production, including:

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy utilizes bursts of light to penetrate the skin, with high-frequency pulses reversing the collagen flow.

Compression Therapy

Compression therapy relies on varying degrees of pressure (often achieved through bandages) to slowly eliminate build-ups of collagen.

Vitamin C Complexes

Vitamin C complexes infuse tissue with key nutrients, helping to stabilize collagen production. They also reduce redness, irritation, and rigidity.

Before starting any scar treatment program patients should consult with their physicians.

Read More: Get Rid of Scars

Atrophic and hypertrophic scars rank among the most common afflictions worldwide. They affect men, women, and children alike. Learn how to identify them to ensure successful healing.

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5 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne

5 Surprising Causes of Adult Acne

It’s an unfortunate fact for many that blemishes don’t magically disappear at the age of 18, with high school’s end signaling the arrival of a flawless complexion and vanishing pores. Acne follows men and women throughout their adulthood, affecting approximately one-third of the total population. It ranks among the most common – and most frustrating – conditions in the world.

What is Acne?

Acne is a long-term skin infection. It occurs when the glands are clogged by oil, dead cells, or ingrown follicles. This interferes with the body’s sebum production and causes a series of bumps and blemishes to appear.

Read More: Acne

What are Five Unexpected Causes of Adult Acne?

Most adults are familiar with the common causes of acne – stress, hormones, or a diet high in dairy, to name just a few. There are other ways to experience breakouts, however, and these can be easily overlooked.

Salt

Salt contains iodines. These properties are sometimes difficult to sweat out, leading to them being embedded inside the pores. This causes inflammation and, subsequently, the development of pimples.

Styling Products

Sprays and gels, conditioners and lifters – there are endless styling options. When these options are applied to skin instead of hair, however, acne tends to occur. This is because heavy formulas cause a sudden imbalance of oil, clogging the pores with serums, creams, and pomades due to the alcohol content and the build-up of chemicals over time. Breakouts happen.

Liver Toxins

The liver is natural “detoxifier”. It processes harsh toxins and converts them into less harmful substances that the body can then get rid of safely. When this organ cannot perform at optimum levels, acne can occur. This is because toxins remain in the bloodstream, eventually circulating to the pores and causing inflammation.

Sweat

Sweating is a necessary process. It purifies the body, flushing away contaminants, bacteria, and other toxins. These toxins can sometimes cause irritation within the glands and form pimples. This typically occurs when sweat isn’t properly washed away, but is instead allowed to stay on the skin. Always shower and/or wash your face after a good work out.

Tight Clothing

Acne is often associated with the face. However, adults can experience full-body blemishes due to tight clothing. Fabric that constantly touches the skin (such as undergarments, athletic wear, or slender-cut jeans) can aggravate the pores. This – when combined with harsh dyes or detergents – can cause breakouts.

Solutions

These causes are frustrating. Their solutions, however, aren’t. Treat these acne-issues through:

Salt – Eliminate table-salt whenever possible. Rely on sea salt or other flavor alternatives.

Styling Products – Try not to use them daily and when possible, look for styling aids with a low alcohol content, are oil-free and contain more natural ingredients.

Liver Toxins – Consult with a doctor to test the liver’s performance. A change in diet – such as reducing alcohol or eliminating fatty acids – may be needed.

Sweat – Wash skin thoroughly after any excessive sweating. Use cold water to improve pore appearance and maintain moisture balance.

Tight Clothing – Eliminate tight fabrics. Be sure to launder necessary clothing items such as undergarments regularly, and use all-natural detergents.

Read More: Acne Tips

Try InviCible Scars to fade acne scars.

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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

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How to Treat and Fade Appendectomy Scars

How to Treat and Fade Appendectomy Scars

Records of the first appendectomy date back to 1735, with French surgeon Claudius Amyand removing perforated tissue from an 11-year-old boy. Since then the procedure has become one of the most common in the world, with approximately 270,000 performed each year in the United States alone.

What is an Appendectomy?

An appendectomy is the removal of the appendix, usually because of appendicitis. The appendix is a vestigial organ which means that the body doesn’t really need it anymore. It is part of the large intestine.

Appendicitis occurs when the appendix becomes inflamed, usually because of a blockage. Appendicitis can cause intense pain and high fevers.

An “open appendectomy” involves a single short incision in the abdominal wall. A “laparoscopic appendectomy” involves several smaller, less obvious incisions. The base of the appendix is tied off where it joins the colon allowing its safe removal.

Does Scarring Occur After an Appendectomy?

Though considered minimally invasive, an appendectomy will still leave scars. These are typically shallow marks along the stomach or across the hip, and they are usually no more than 2-inches to 3-inches long.

Read More: Surgery Scars

Which Treatment Options are Available?

Appendectomy scars will fade naturally over time with most people – if treated properly (sun protection, proper wound healing, etc.) However, some patients may want to expedite this process. Others may develop quite prominent scars which they feel self-conscious about.

Help the Incision Heal Properly

Infection can cause healing problems and scarring. One of the most important things to do after surgery is to care for the incision properly. Keep it clean, applying both a bandage and antibiotic ointment to minimize infection. Be certain to dry the site after bathing, avoid sun exposure, and maintain a healthy diet (foods rich in protein and antioxidants will strengthen the healing process.)

Topical Scar Creams

Scarring occurs when the body creates excess collagen, which changes the texture and appearance of the tissue. If your body over produces melanin, then your scar will be dark (hyperpigmentation) or if it is under-produced, your scar will be void of color/white (hypopigmentation.) Topical treatments can help improve you scar’s appearance and feel. When applying your scar treatment, be sure to firmly massage the scar. This will help to soften the scar tissue and flatten it (unless it is a keloid or hypertrophic scar.)

Have a question about your appendectomy scar? Leave us a comment!

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Old Scars: Treatment Options

Old Scars: Treatment Options

There are many types of scars, just as there are many types of scar treatments. Individuals are forever bombarded with endless creams, ointments, and abrasion pads – and it can prove confusing to choose between them. For many, the best option is to utilize a variety of natural and medical options when trying to improve the appearance of scars.

Read More: New Or Old Scars

Topical Remedies:

Aloe Vera

This gelatinous extract (from the leaves of the Aloe Vera plant) delivers superior relief during the initial stages of scar healing. It contains anti-inflammatory properties that heal wounded skin, soothing irritation and helping to increase moisture. This softens the scar, keeps is moisturized and improves its appearance, however it does not fade the scar.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the best ways to fade scars. Always choose a stable form of Vitamin C (such as in InviCible Scars.) Healthy collagen production is necessary to reduce the size and appearance of scarring overall, and that is something that Vitamin C can play a big role in, as this vitamin is essential in the collagen production that is required to formulate healthy connective tissue in a wound.

Dimethicone Silicone

Silicone is one of the best ways to treat old scars. It relieves scar redness, pain and itching, improves scar elasticity and can treat and prevent difficult scars like hypertrophic scars.

Honey

Scars often create a lack of moisture in the skin. Honey helps to provide that moisture, providing the tissues with alkaline-rich properties and antioxidants. This revitalizes the hydration process and reduces scarring. Raw honey (not pasteurized) should be used.

Read More: Nutrition

More Invasive Options:

If topical scar treatments don’t help, there are several more invasive options for people to consider. Dermabrasion is the process of carefully removing layers of skin. It utilizes a series of rotating brushes, which spin quickly across raised tissue to reduce its thickness and rigidity. It’s used most often for facial scars, such as ones left by acne or surgeries.

Tissue fillers are aptly named, with dermatologists injecting the skin with substances like hyaluronic acid or calcium hydroxyapatite. These mimic the effects of collagen and help to redefine the skin’s natural contours. This reduces the appearance of scars, as well as improving their overall textures.

Read More: Dermabrasion

Surgical scar revision can also be a very good option for some problem scars, especially scars that healed poorly or unevenly, and ice-pick acne scars. This of course creates a new scar, but replaces the problem scar with a scar that heals better and more predictably.

Consult With a Board Certified Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon

Before starting any scar treatment program – whether natural or medical – individuals should consult with a specialist. This will allow them to choose the right products for their particular needs, as well as help them avoid dangerous OTC options (such as hydroquinone or kojic acid). Be aware that no treatment is guaranteed and results will vary based on a patient’s specific scar type, skin type, healing rate, and genetic profile.

Have a question about your old scar? Leave us a comment! Be sure to subscribe to Scars and Spots as well to have all updates delivered right to your inbox.

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