Keloid Scars – How to Get Rid of Them

Anyone who has ever experienced some form of trauma on their body knows it takes proper aftercare to keep the impacted area from getting infected or developing a scar (including a keloid scar). Patients who are not sure what causes a keloid scar, or how to prevent them, should read this informative article to get the inside scoop on keloid scars and how to get rid of them.

Keloid Scars – What are They?

In general, a keloid scar can be defined as an overgrowth of scar tissue that often spreads outside the boundaries of the original scar or injury to the body. Keloid scars are often visible as itchy, firm and/or painful bumps that are present at the site of an earlier injury to the skin. The earlier injury can be some form of trauma to the body as well as a piercing or lesion that is located on the body.

It should be noted that it takes some time for keloids to form on the body. They tend to take anywhere from three to six months to appear and these scars normally begin as a raised scar that is located on the surface of the skin. The keloid scar tends to grow slowly.

It is also important to realize that keloid scars should not be confused with other raised scars. Overall, keloid scars have around three times more collagen than raised, thick scars that are known as hypertrophic scars.

What is keloid scars

Keloid Scars – Who Can Get Them and Why?

While almost anyone can develop a keloid scar, there are some factors that can increase the chances of one developing on the body. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, “About one-third of people who get keloids have a first-degree blood relative (mother, father, sister, brother, or child) who gets keloids. This family trait is most common in people of African or Asian descent.”

It is also recommended that people who are at a higher risk of developing keloids avoid having an elective procedure on an area of the body that is known for keloid formation (such as the chest and upper back). Even though keloids most often occur after a scar, there are also “spontaneous keloids” that can appear on skin that has not been injured. This most often happens to people who have a history of keloid formation, in their family or a personal experience, and it is highly likely that more than one keloid will present at the same time.

At the moment, it is not clear which mechanisms in the body cause some people to develop a scar in this manner. However, research has indicated that chronic inflammation can play a part in their formation.

Keloid Scars – How to Prevent Them from Forming

The ability to prevent keloid scars is difficult since there is not a lot of information on why some people get them and others do not after an injury. While there is not anything that can be done to prevent the occurrence of spontaneous keloids, there are some steps that can be taken to try and minimize the growth of these scars soon after an injury.

Proper wound care should be performed in order to prevent an infection. In addition, a scar sheet that is silicone-based should be applied as soon as possible to the wounded area on the body. In addition, the massaging of the scar tissue using a silicone gel is also helpful when trying to prevent a keloid scar from forming. If an ear piercing shows the skin in the piercing area is starting to thicken, the piercing should be removed and then replaced with a pressure earring.

Keloid Scars – Getting Rid of Them

There are some suggestions for home remedies to heal keloids, but the best advice is to schedule an appointment with a medical professional who is experienced in treating this condition.

For example, many dermatologists offer steroid injections that, after multiple treatments, can decrease the amount of thickness of keloid scars. Plus, laser and light-based therapies such as CO2 lasers and LED light therapies have been shown to improve their appearance.

If someone thinks they have a keloid or they are afraid that one is going to occur, the patient should consult with a dermatologist in order to address the issue with proper medical treatment. It is hard to predict when they will happen, and it is also hard to sometimes determine the extent of the keloid scar. An experienced doctor can examine the impacted area in order to determine the best course of action in treating the scarring.

There have even been some instances where resistant keloids have been treated via intralesional treatments with surgery, off-label chemotherapy products and radiation therapy to address the issue. These are

serious treatment options that need to be discussed with a medical professional before a final decision is made about utilizing them to address the keloid scarring on the skin.

Facial Scar Treatment – How it is Performed

Facial scar treatment is performed to minimize or improve the appearance of scars on the face with both surgical and nonsurgical methods. There are various facial scar treatments, and the best method depends on the type of scarring and the ability of their body to heal itself.

Scars can be raised, indented or flat in appearance and some nonsurgical options for facial scar treatments include corticosteroid injections, lasers, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Surgical facial scar treatment, which is also known as scar revision, involves the removal or cutting out of the scar so it can heal in a more aesthetically pleasing manner.

Facial Scar Treatment – Ideal Candidates

An ideal candidate for a facial scar treatment includes patients bothered by their facial scarring such as acne scarring or flat, raised, and red scars. It does not include patients with an active acne breakout or someone with certain skin conditions or skin diseases in the treatment area.

Facial Scar Treatment – How it is Performed

Facial scar treatment procedures are usually performed in an office and the procedure time and technique depends on the type of treatment.

Raised and/or red scars are typically treated with cortisone injections, but compression bandages can also be applied to help reduce the redness as well as flatten the scar. Microdermabrasion, laser treatments or chemical peels can treat indented scars and some flat scars. During these treatments, the facial area is numbed with a topical cream or a fan blowing cool air may be used to ease discomfort. A special sanding tip, chemical or laser is applied or passed over the skin to remove the top layers of skin and reveal new, fresher-looking skin.

Scar revision is a surgical procedure that involves cutting out the scar and then the doctor closes the new wound with stitches. A hollow, bladed instrument is used to punch out the scar from the skin. While these surgical procedures will still cause a scar, the new scar will be more cosmetically appealing in appearance.

Scar treatment

Facial Scar Treatment Recovery and Results

The recovery period after a facial scar treatment differs according to the procedure that is performed and the ability of the patient to heal. The patient might need a week of rest after the treatment depending on how big the scar is and how aggressively it is treated.

Patients might see some redness, bruising, peeling, or swelling after facial scar treatments. This will be followed by a pinkness that can last anywhere from several weeks to several months. Patients who have a surgical procedure may have some bleeding and will need stitches on the wound. Patients should avoid the UV rays of the sun as the skin will be sensitive to sunburns.

It can take some time for noticeable improvements to appear since many of the treatments rely on new skin growth as well as collagen stimulation. In addition, some of the treatments only require one treatment while others require multiple treatments. Patients that require multiple sessions that take place over a period of several weeks, or even multiple months, may have various recovery periods and will need to wait a longer time before the results can be appreciated due to additional swelling and/or peeling.

Approximately three months after most nonsurgical facial scar treatments, the patient can begin to easily visualize the results. Surgical facial scar treatment methods can produce an aesthetically pleasing scar which will replace the original scar. However, it can take a full year for this scar to effectively fade from red to a pale color. In order to maintain their results, patients will need to use sunblock when they are outside in order to protect the new skin and/or scars.

Facial Scar Treatments – Risks and Limitations

One of the main limitations of facial scar treatments is the fact that most scars cannot be completely removed. However, their appearance can be improved by a surgeon. Patients with darker skin tones might experience permanent skin discoloration after some facial scar treatments. Facial scars that are the result of an injury or surgical procedure are limited from most facial scar treatments until the scar has fully healed. The surgeon has to wait in this case because performing certain treatments too soon can actually cause the scar to become worse in appearance.

Some of the risks of facial scar treatments include:

  • Redness
  • Skin irritation (much like a sunburn)
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Damage to the underlying structures
  • Scarring

Many of the side effects that result from facial scar treatments are minimal and the risks are usually rare. Having said that, it is important for patients to understand all possible risks before agreeing to any cosmetic procedure. In order to minimize the risks and promote better results, patients need to use the services of a board-certified surgeon who is experienced in treating a facial scar. A board-certified doctor can accurately assess the type of scar and determine the most appropriate scar treatment option. Patients should also follow all post-treatment instructions in order to gain the best results.

Scar-Free Healing – Will it be a Reality Soon?

Scar tissue is often the result of an accident or a surgical operation and is also usually an unwelcome addition to the appearance of the body. Researchers at Stanford University have decoded the physical and chemical signals that work to trigger a certain type of skin cell to produce scars. In addition, the research team also have found a way to reprogram these cells in order to transform them into another type of cell that is able to regenerate intact tissues.

Research Team Results from Study on Mice

The team from Stanford University reported that mice that received the skin cell “trigger” were able to heal from wounds without the appearance of any scars. The mice regrew glands, hair, and other critical structures to the point that an image-classifying algorithm was not able to tell the difference between the area where the wound healed and the healthy part of the skin that was not damaged.

The research team says their next step is to try and achieve a similar type of skin regeneration in animals such as pigs (because they more closely resemble humans and have tighter skin). The Stanford team is optimistic these findings can lead to scar-free treatments becoming readily available in the future.

Scarless healing for wounds

Scarless Wound Healing – A Goal that has been Years in the Making

It has been estimated that around 100-million patients gain scars each year after a surgical procedure. In addition, there are also millions of people that have some sort of injury or accident that results in a scar.  The study by the team at Stanford represents the culmination of medical discoveries that date back to the 1970s.

In 1971, a Chicago pediatric surgeon discovered when he performed operations on fetal lambs, their wounds were able to heal without any type of scarring. Over the next two decades, the same healing ability was found in animals as varied as mice, sheep, pigs, and rats.

The early 1990s saw Michael Longaker, whose Stanford lab conducted the new research, working under Michael Harrison, a pediatric surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco. Harrison was performing surgeries on the unborn by removing a fetus from the uterus of the mother with the umbilical cord remaining intact. Once the medical issue or defect was addressed and resolved, the unborn child was returned to the womb.  Once the baby was born, there would be some redness around the surgery site but there were no scars after the procedure.

Harrison asked Longaker to determine why this was happened and Longaker has spent the past three decades attempting to answer that question.

For a good portion of that time period, the research on the subject has almost always focused on stem cells AKA the cells that make all of the mini organs of the skin. Longaker incorporated the work of other scientists that studied fibroblasts (a cell located in connective tissue that produces collagen as well as other fibers) and were able to identify that there are different types of fibroblasts.

In 2015, his Stanford team amassed an inventory of the multiple types of fibroblasts that live on the skin located on the back of a mouse. The team found there was only one fibroblast subset (EPFs because they expressed a protein by the name of engrailed-1) that was responsible for the creation of most scar tissue. When this cell line was knocked out, the mice had less scarring along with a slower recovery period.

Their next task was to determine how the EPFs worked and if they could be turned off with a drug. If so, medical personnel might be able to stop scarring in humans. Longaker and his team have been working on this task for the past 3.5 years.

Scar-Free Healing and the Study of EPFs

The first step in the process was using fluorescent markers to track the origination of the EPFs. The research team learned scar-producing cells arise from another type of fibroblast, that regenerates healthy skin, and is “turned on” when the animal being studied was wounded. Longaker said the group hypothesized the trigger might be mechanical in nature such as the force of the skin being split apart.

The group then studied how fibroblasts respond to a number of different mechanical cues. When they were grown in soft substrates, they did not flip on engrailed-1. The group also studied the tension of wounds in mice and made the same discovery. They noticed that the application of more tension resulted in the production of a greater amount of a protein known as YAP.

In order to determine if YAP was the main chemical signal that started the scarring process, they blocked YAP with verteporfin (a YAP-disrupting chemical) and by genetically modifying the mice they were testing so they did not express YAP in their fibroblasts. In both cases, the cells that flooded into the wounds of the mice were not the EPFs that produced scars. Instead, they were the fibroblast that told the skin to regenerate instead of simply repairing the damaged area.

The mice that were treated using the YAP-blocker were able to recover their normal collagen structure as well as grow back their hair follicles and glands within a period of 30 days. In addition, their mechanical breaking strength was comparable to normal skin.

Scar-Free Healing – What the Future Holds

Even though the group led by Longaker was able to show the return of some skin structures, it was not a complete list so more work will need to be performed by the research team. The additional research is needed to see if YAP-blockers are able to turn on all of the necessary signals to regrow all of the needed elements for healthy skin to be able to function.

Surgery Scars – Steps to Reduce or Prevent Them

Surgery scars can be reduced or prevented in a variety of ways. If you are planning on having surgery, it is a good idea to understand how to prevent or minimize your scarring. Of course, one of the first things to consider is good incision care. Taking care of your incisions post-procedure is the first step in minimizing long-term scarring.

Surgical Scar Causes

There is the possibility of scarring anytime the skin is damaged. Most of us have a few scars from childhood from skinned knees or elbows. No matter the skill of your surgeon, any surgery results in damage to the skin. A surgical incision causes damage through all of the layers of the skin and can result in scarring no matter where the incision is on the body or what type of surgery is performed. Of course, surgery performed by a less-skilled surgeon can result in greater scarring but, in most cases, the skill of the surgeon has little effect on the amount of long-term scarring. Any surgeon is unable to control all of the multitude of factors that determine your risk for long term scarring.

Surgical Scars how to avoid them

Scarring Risk Factors

Many of the risk factors for scarring are beyond your control. Your ability to heal without scarring depends on factors that cannot be changed. The information below can help you determine your likelihood of post-surgery scarring.

  • Age – The skin becomes less elastic and thinner as we age. The fat layer under the skin thins out and collagen production slows down. When you combine these two facts with sun exposure and other environmental and lifestyle issues, older skin does not heal as quickly or as well as younger skin. There is a silver lining, though – sun damage and uneven tone to older skin can help to hide scars that would be more visible on younger skin.
  • Race – Some skin tones are more likely to scar than others. Keloid scars and hypertrophic scars are much more common with African American patients. With both of these types of scars, there is an overgrowth of scar tissue at the site of an injury. With more fair-skinned races, scars are generally thinner and the color will stay near the color of the surrounding skin. These scars tend to be red or pink when they are new but they will fade with time. Patients with darker skin may experience scars that remain darker than the surrounding skin.
  • Genetics – If your parents have the tendency to scar badly, you will most likely exhibit the same tendency. If you know that you have a family tendency toward scarring heavily, you may want to discuss this with your surgeon ahead of the procedure.
  • Type of Incision – A larger incision is more likely to cause a lasting scar than a smaller incision. The width and the depth of the incision directly affects the length of the healing process and the opportunity for deep scars. Another thing to consider is that a longer incision in the skin may be exposed to more stress with body movements which can delay the healing process in many cases.
  • Skin Healing – Some people are just lucky in that their skin heals quickly and easily with minimal to no lasting scarring. Others are not so lucky and their skin tends to heal more slowly. Sometimes this is due to underlying medical conditions. Having a disease like diabetes can cause your skin to heal more slowly. How quickly the skin heals varies from person to person and can change over time depending on illnesses or current medical conditions.

Scarring Prevention

Even with all of the factors listed above, it is possible to prevent scars by focusing on the factors that you can control. They include:

  • Not Smoking – If you smoke, go ahead and stop as smoking increase the risk of scarring as well as slows down the healing process. Many plastic surgeons will not operate on patients that do not quit smoking for at least two weeks before surgery.
  • Avoid Alcohol – The consumption of alcohol dehydrates your body which causes slower healing. While your incision is healing, you should avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Stay Hydrated – During the healing process, you should make sure your body is hydrated properly. Dehydration diminishes your overall health and healing can be impacted.
  • Weight Management – Overweight patients are at greater risk of scarring. The fat deposits under the skin can work against the efforts of the doctor to close your incision seamlessly. Watch your weight as much as you can leading up to your procedure.

Scarring and Wound Care

One of the best ways to prevent scarring after surgery is to perform good, consistent incision care. Follow these guidelines:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Perform incision care consistently
  • Watch for signs of an infection
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure
  • Minimize stress on your incision

Treatments for Scars

There are available treatments for scar minimization that can be performed in the office of a doctor or at home. If you are concerned that you might not heal as well as you would like, consider discussing these treatment options with your surgeon. The doctor can likely recommend options such as silicone wound treatment or prescription medications to help the healing process.

The Future of Scar Healing – What Scientists are Predicting

Following an injury or surgical procedure, scars often form on the body. These serve as reminders of the physical trauma the body has endured. Not only do people not like the look of scars, the scars on the body can also heal incorrectly and cause further damage. Scars can cause tissue to contract which can limit the mobility of that area of the body, induce pain and cause basic functional problems soon after.

Scar Treatments are Highly Requested

Many experts agree that seeking treatment for scars is one of the most requested treatments in the world. “It’s an astronomical burden on our healthcare system,” says plastic surgeon Steven Moran, chair of the Division of Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery at the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery.

As long as people can remember, they have wanted to make their scars disappear. Whether it is because of a painful memory or just an unsightly scar in a very visible spot, people have looked for any way to get rid of scars for centuries. They have gone to extreme lengths to try and remove them including surgical removal and freezing scars with liquid nitrogen. These procedures have produced middling to unsuccessful results. For years people have spent large amounts of money for their scars to only look marginally better.

What if there was a way, instead of trying to get rid of scars after they form, to prevent scars from forming at all? While there is no magical fix to make scars disappear forever, medical experts have discovered ways to prevent them all together. Two recent studies have shown researchers discovering new ways to do exactly that. While it may sound like something straight out of a movie, topical or injected medicines may actually cause tissue to grow back. This tissue can also grow back complete with hair follicles, sweat glands, skin oil and even pores. It may sound like science fiction, but it might soon become a reality for many. Before looking into the future, let’s discuss different types of scarring as well as the current treatment methods for dealing with them.

Scar treatments to heal scars

Types of Scarring

When the layer of skin, called the dermis, is injured or damaged, the tissue usually heals improperly. This forms a scar. Scars can also form when, during surgery, muscle is stitched together. Another common cause of scarring is when a ligament or tendon is torn.

Cells are arranged in a highly organized fashion in healthy, non-injured tissue. But when that tissue becomes damaged, collagen can flow in to fill up the wound. Collagen is of the utmost importance to the proper healing process. However, the body will sometimes send in too much collagen. When there is too much collagen in a small space of skin, as is the case with many different scars, there may be visible side effects on the surface of the skin. These include raised tissue or reddened tissue.

The scars caused by too many proteins like collagen are called hypertrophic scars. These often appear red in color, elevated and hard to the touch. They will look quite different compared to the surrounding tissue. In other cases of different scar types, collagen and other proteins can accidentally move outside the boundaries of the wound, causing bumps in the surrounding skin called keloids. This is another type of scar. These may become noticeable months or even years after the original injury. This type of scar can also cause intense itching and discomfort. The likelihood of developing a severe scar such as keloids mainly depends how well the wound was treated. However, ethnicity and genetics also play a part in their formation.

Present-Day Treatment Methods

Doctors currently have many different ways to treat scars. Dermatologists apply tape to relieve the tension around, or on, the wound which lessens the chance of developing a scar. They also use silicone gels, sheets and other products that can prevent scars by keeping the injury properly hydrated. Some medical providers also inject cortisone or other steroids to reduce the thickness of an incoming scar. Other treatment methods include laser therapy, freezing, onion extract, and even radiation therapy! Currently, the best way to prevent an injury from turning into a severe scar is to keep the wound clean and wet, avoid more trauma to the impacted area and apply sunscreen.

Scar Treatment Methods in the Future

Recently, scientists have discussed studies that indicate injecting a drug into the surrounding edge of a skin injury could prevent keloid and hypertrophic scars from forming into severe scars. In the discussed study, scientists were able to induce the regeneration of cells. When the body starts regenerating cells, it also naturally starts to produce more skin cells and hair follicles. If this treatment continues to show success, any tissue that was once a wound or a scar can actually operate like normal, healthy tissue.

Different Scars and Four Natural Ways to Treat Them

Everyone has scars but they often react differently to having them on the body. Some consider their scars to be cool and something to be proud of while others are embarrassed and want to hide them from the view of others. Whether you are self-conscious about your scars or do not mind displaying them, the fact is many people seek treatment to try and get rid of them. Almost everyone would want to reduce or remove a scar, but they need to understand what a scar really is and the way to approach removing them.

Scars – How do They Form?

A scar is formed due to the natural healing process of the body after an injury. The layer of skin known as the dermis forms collagen fibers to repair any damage done to it. The formation of those fibers results in your scar. Most scars follow the rule of the faster the wound heals, the less collagen fibers there will be, which means a less noticeable scar. To go along with this, the severity of the scar is usually dependent on the severity of the injury to the body. There is also the variable of how scars form differently based on different parts of the body and based on the age of the injured person.

Types of Scars

  • Learn how scars are formed and natural methods to treat themAtrophic scars are defined by the loss of tissue on the skin of the injured person. They can appear in different ways including depressed or flat against the upper layer of the skin. If you see a scar with darker skin pigmentation than other areas of the skin, it might be an atrophic scar. A couple of examples of atrophic scars are acne scars and chickenpox scars.
  • Hypertrophic scars can be identified by excess tissue that forms over the injured skin as it heals. As with an atrophic scar, hypertrophic scars are typically darker than the other skin in the surrounding area of the body.
  • Keloid scars, like hypertrophic scars, involve too much tissue formation. Keloid scars are what happens when aggressive healing causes an overproduction of tissue. They can be identified by a thick, puffy, or raised appearance and are normally darker than the pigment in the surrounding area. One of the unique things about a keloid scar is that it can grow beyond the initial injured area of the body.
  • Contracture scars are most commonly formed after suffering burns on the body. They involve lots of areas of the skin being damaged or lost completely. They can be identified by shiny, tight skin that can restrict movement in the injured part of the body.

Top Four Easy Fixes for Scars

How to reduce scar appearance at homeScars will become naturally lighter over time, but they will never fully disappear. However, there are many efficient treatments to help speed up the healing process. The following four remedies have helped people in making their scars less noticeable:

  1. Aloe vera should be applied directly to the scar, using circular motions, after removing the dark green “skin” from the flat side of the aloe vera leaf and scooping out the light green gel. Once 30 minutes goes by, remove the gel by washing it off with cool water. Patients should repeat this process twice each day.
  2. Vitamin E should come in a capsule so cut open the capsule and squeeze the Vitamin E oil onto the scar. Massage the oil on, and around, the area of the injured skin/scar for about ten minutes. After this, wait approximately 20 minutes and wash off the oil with warm water. Patients should repeat this whole process a minimum of three times a day.
  3. Believe it or not, a household potato can help treat the appearance of scars. First, slice the potato into medium-sized rounds and then rub the potato slice on the scar in light, circular motions. The potato slice will eventually dry out. When it does, simply throw it away and continue with another slice. Continue the rubbing for about 20 minutes and then let the scar “air-dry” for about 10 minutes. Finally, wash the injured area with cool water. This process should be performed at least one time per day.
  4. Another easy household item that can be used on scars is baking soda. For this technique, mix distilled water into two tablespoons of baking soda until it forms a paste. Wet the injured area with the distilled water and then rub the paste on top of the wet scar. Hold the paste on the scar continuously for about 15 minutes and then rinse the area surrounding the scar. This process should be performed once per day.

Scars and Natural Remedies

Natural remedies are a great way to make a scar look less noticeable in an easy, efficient, and healthy way. Many experts believe in the healing power of natural remedies. They also recommend having a conversation with a board-certified doctor before attempting to perform home remedies.

Fillers for Acne Scars – How They Work

A common issue for many people during their teenage years is acne (which is primarily a hormonal condition). Sensitivity to these male hormones, combined with bacteria and fatty acids within oil glands, can cause acne. Common sites for acne are the face, chest, shoulders, neck and backs they are all sites of oil glands. Acne can sometimes leave behind scars that can be corrected with fillers. One of the many treatments for acne scars is fillers that can be used on areas of the face including the cheeks, nose, lips and chin as well as around the mouth.

Learn how dermal fillers work to treat and reduce acne scars

Fillers for Acne Scars Explained

  • Dermal fillers are injected into the skin to raise depressed areas of acne scars or stimulate the natural production of collagen in the skin. Different options for fillers include the use of hyaluronic acid (Restylane and Juvederm), poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) microspheres with collagen (Bellafill), poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra) and autologous fat transfer that is fat transferred from your body into the acne scar.
  • If the filler you have decided to take contains bovine collagen, you will have to take part in an in-office allergy test and share both your medical and allergy history to make sure you’re not allergic. In this test, collagen will be injected into your forearm and you will be monitored for any negative reactions. If you show no reaction to the test, you will be able to go ahead with your appointment. Your doctor will mark your face in order to know the exact spot to be injected. Each syringe of filler will contain the numbing agent lidocaine to make the procedure less painful. The procedure can take anywhere from 15 minutes to about an hour depending on the depth of the scar and the size of the treated area.
  • Bellafill is dermal filler that is used to treat acne scarring. It is made of collagen which is used to add volume to the skin and small poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) beads used to structurally support the skin. Keep in mind that you must be over the age of 21 to receive Bellafill and not have any allergies to bovine collagen. Bellafill is said to work on both men and women with a variety of skin types. Bellafill is considered long-lasting or permanent and is the only FDA-approved filler to treat acne scars.
  • In some cases, hyaluronic acid fillers, like Juvederm or Restylane, may be used to treat acne scars. These fillers aim to improve the contour of the skin and reduce depressions in the skin caused by said acne scars. However, these fillers are considered temporary and you will need to have them injected every few months. Another type of filler, poly-L-lactic acid (Sculptra), is used as well. This substance is not like other fillers in that it won’t immediately plump your skin. Instead, it boosts the production of collagen to reduce the appearance of acne scars over a few months.
  • An autologous fat transfer can be considered more in-depth or invasive in comparison to fillers as fat is pulled from your body to be injected into your acne scars. The final results depend on how much of the injected fat will develop a blood supply and survive.

Safety of Dermal Fillers for Acne Scars

All dermal fillers are generally considered to be safe even if it is necessary to perform skin testing for allergies prior to certain procedures such as the use of certain fillers with bovine collagen. Many of the newer fillers are made from sugar that is naturally found in the skin and the overall chances of them causing allergic reactions are rare.

There are still certain side effects that you need to be aware of including swelling, bruising, itching, redness and an allergic reaction to the lidocaine. Another risk is blood vessel occlusion which is when a blood vessel becomes blocked and can cause the skin to break down. It should be noted that this is rare for fillers used for acne scarring because they are typically placed in such a way where the risk of occluding a major vessel is unlikely.

The procedure is rather easy to perform so, after any fillers, you can resume most activities right away and you should be able to drive yourself home. Avoid strenuous activities and try not to itch or rub the injection site for a number of days after your treatment. Filler injections should only be performed in-office by a trained medical professional for safety and the optimum results. Be sure and consult with the medical professional before having fillers for acne scars to discuss any questions to concerns and to find out the type of results you can expect to see after the treatment. Once you and the medical professional are in agreement about the procedure, you can schedule your fillers treatment to address your acne scars.

– JM

Vitamin E – Does it Reduce Scars?

While it is known that vitamin E assists in moisturizing the skin, research also shows that vitamin E oils and supplements have little to no effect on scars. Vitamin E’s extensive range of benefits includes maintaining both the health of the eyes as well as strengthening the immune system of the body. There is a common belief that vitamin E will help reduce the appearance of scars but there isn’t much evidence to prove this belief is accurate.

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E consists of a group of fat-soluble compounds with antioxidant effects. Antioxidants will protect cells from the effects of free radicals as they are known to damage cells and contribute to the progression of both cardiovascular disease and cancer. Vitamin E can exist naturally in some foods while some manufacturers are also known to add it to other foods. The most naturally-occurring sources of vitamin E include, but are not limited to, nuts, spinach, whole grains, olive oil, and sunflower oil. In other instances, the vitamin is available as an oral supplement or as oil that people can apply to the skin.

Vitamin E and Treating Scars

Scars for Vitamin EWhen treating burns and scars, vitamin E is often a very popular option. However, there have been multiple studies conducted to prove the validity of that use and unfortunately the results have been disappointing in some cases.

In a study from 1999 that looked at the effects vitamin E had on scarring, it was actually shown that one-third of those studied actually had allergic reactions to it. In fact, 90% of the people reported that they either had an allergic reaction to the vitamin E or there were no visible effects on their scarring. It was proven that vitamin E does help other skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis AKA eczema. As of today, there isn’t much information available to prove that vitamin E will help diminish scars. Plus, a 2016 review concluded that there has to be more research conducted to come to a conclusion on the matter.

Vitamin E and the Skin

While vitamin E’s assistance in reducing the appearance of scars may seem questionable, one fact out of these studies concludes that moisturizing the skin during the process where the wound is healing will definitely help. If the person isn’t allergic to vitamin E, they can use moisturizers that contain the vitamin. This still discounts the effects of vitamin E’s presence in moisturizers but the act of moisturizing the skin is still beneficial. If someone wants to use vitamin E oil or take the supplements, it is suggested that they speak to a healthcare provider.

Alternatives to Vitamin E

Hydrogel (also known as silicone gel) adhesive dressings are an option to apply over, and flatten, scars. The silicone helps to hydrate the scar and slow down the production of collagen fibers. In doing so, the scars will begin to come in flatter, softer and paler than usual.

In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) has suggested applying the silicone sheets for 12 hours a day for three months. A treatment that many choose is a scar massage which is said to soften the scar while helping reduce pain, itching and sensitivity. Be sure and massage, for five minutes at a time, 3-4 times throughout the day. Trusting a scar specialist will ensure proper advice on the best technique to use on a particular scar.

A dermarolling procedure involves rolling tiny needles over the surface of the skin. There are people who think that by puncturing the skin and creating injuries, the skin will heal itself and improve the appearance of scars. In a clinical trial done on dermarolling, it was found, after three treatments, there was a visible improvement of the scars. There have been a few participants that reported instances of pain from the procedure so consult with a dermatologist before having the procedure.

Other procedures that may reduce the appearance of scars include:

  • Laser therapy which requires the use of light to target blood vessels that make scars appear inflamed. According to the NHS, the procedure will also boost collagen production and reduce pitting. However, there aren’t many long-term studies on the effectiveness of laser therapy.
  • Dermal fillers are placed in the body in order to plump the skin. This can reduce the appearance of pitted scars but it isn’t a long term treatment as the results are not permanent.
  • Cryotherapy freezes keloid scars in order to prevent them from growing or spreading. It also flattens the appearance of the scars. This procedure uses liquid nitrogen and can lighten the skin in the area.

The time it takes for a scar to fade on the skin can vary and depends on the initial size and depth of the injury. According to the NHS, scars from injuries such as cuts or surgical incisions usually takes up to two years to flatten before they begin to fade. Hypertrophic scars can continue to thicken for six months before they start the process of fading for the next few years.

Vitamin E and Scar Treatment – Is it Worth It?

There is not much clinical evidence that proves that vitamin E oil or supplements can help reduce the appearance of scars. However, there is good evidence to support the fact that the positive effects people notice from vitamin E can be the result of moisturizing or massaging the scar and not the vitamin E itself. Patients might be better of considering other scar treatments like silicone sheets, massages and dermarolling.

Acne Scar Treatment Options for You

For many young people, dealing with acne can be tedious and frustrating. Acne flare-ups can be bad for your confidence as it isn’t visually or aesthetically appealing. Dealing with scars from acne can seem like double punishment since you’ve dealt with the pimples and now you have the scars to show as a reminder. The occasional picking and squeezing that tends to happen with dealing with the acne further increase the risks of scars appearing. Acne scars tend to be stubborn and there is no one solution that makes it easy to deal with them. Instead, there are many options whose effectiveness depends on the severity of the scars, the scar type, and the quality of your skin.

Common Acne Scars

The different types of acne scars vary depending on skin types and severity of the acne. The most common scar is the atrophic scar as it forms when not enough collagen is being produced when the wound is healing. There are many instances of this type of scar that includes the wide U-shaped boxcar scar, the narrow V-shaped ice pick scar (that tends to be the most difficult to treat) and the rolling scar.

The hypertrophic (or raised) scar tends to appear after a serious case of chest and back acne as they appear above the surface of the skin caused by too much collagen when healing.

Discoloration and dark spots that appear after a case of acne are often mistaken to be a scar but this is not the case. These spots tend to go away or fade after a few months without treatment.

Types of Acne Scars

Acne Scars Treatment

When starting your treatment for scars, it is important to treat your acne first and seek the help of a dermatologist. A dermatologist will be able to tell you exactly what is going on with your skin so you will know what treatment would be best for you. As stated before, the type and condition of the skin makes the effectiveness of treatments vary. The dermatologist can also let you know if your condition is related to the acne or not.

  • AHAs – or alpha hydroxy acids – tend to be found in products treating acne and work to remove dead skin and prevent clogged pores. This process is done by exfoliating the outer layer of the skin. Lactic acid is found in many products and is often recommended as a home treatment with it being in many peels, ointments and even distilled apple cider vinegar.
  • Many lotions and face cleansers contain salicylic acids which are also found in many different treatments. Salicylic acids work to reduce redness and swelling while exfoliating and clearing pores. Products containing salicylic acids can be used in daily routines or they can be used for less frequent chemical peels. One of the side effects of salicylic acids is that it tends to cause dryness or irritation and it is recommended that those with sensitive skin use it less often.
  • Given the fact that sun exposure can make scars much more visible or darken them, it’s also recommended that you wear sunscreen every day. However, while “at home treatments” can help mild or moderate situations, some cases will require the care of a skin specialist or healthcare provider.
  • One of the more effective and common treatments for acne scars is dermabrasion. Dermabrasion employs the help of a wire brush to deeply exfoliate the skin. Chemical peels use a strong acid to strip away the top layer of skin and tends to have much more dramatic results in comparison to the ones used at home.
  • An option that works similarly to both dermabrasion and chemical peels is the use of laser resurfacing. This removes the top layer of skin and actually has a faster healing time. However, when undergoing this treatment, you must remain bandaged until you are fully healed. There is also the fact that laser resurfacing isn’t as effective on those with dark skin.
  • The use of injectables has become an option to treat acne scars as some healthcare providers have started to use them. Fillers can be made with collagen and/or commercial filler and injected into the skin to fill out areas that need a more plump and smooth look. If you deal with boxcar and rolling scars, fillers would be your best option. For the most part, fillers would have to be redone every 6 to 18 months but there are some out there that are permanent and wouldn’t require more than the initial injections.
  • For the more deep and raised scars, there’s always the option of surgery. Dermatologists or surgeons can completely remove the scar and, while it leaves behind a scar of its own, it can eventually fade with time.

While most these treatments may work, there is also the possibility of more permanent scars that may not be able to be eliminated. However, providers can offer solutions to reduce their appearance. At the end of the day, in order to reduce the chances of further scarring it is required that you refrain from picking at your skin during acne breakouts as it can irritate and damage the tissue that will eventually lead to scarring.

– JM

Scar Treatment Options – What You Need to Know

The appearance of scars on the body is quite common after an accident. Some of the scars might fade on their own while others might be permanent additions to the appearance of a person. While the appearance of a scar is normally not a reason for a person to be concerned, there are many people that want to lessen the appearance of them.

Here are some of the most effective, and popular, scar treatment options to reduce or eliminate the appearance of scars:

Scar Treatment Techniques to Try at Home

Scar Reduction at HomeThe use of home remedies for scars can help to reduce the appearance of the scars located on the body. In general, home remedies are ideal for treating new scars or scars that are relatively minor in their appearance. If a scar on the body is older, or considered to be extensive in its appearance, it is best to visit a doctor to discuss medical cosmetic treatment options instead of home remedies.

  • It is important to start treating a scar as soon as possible to achieve the best results in reducing its appearance. Patients should keep the scar clean by washing it daily with water and a mild soap. Petroleum jelly can be applied to the wound to keep it moist and stop scabs from forming. A wound can be covered with a bandage or, if the wound is larger, a silicone gel sheet.
  • Once the wound has healed, a regular regimen of exfoliation can help to remove any dead skin cells so the wound can enjoy a faster recovery time. Patients can exfoliate the area that surrounds the scar and then apply natural oil or moisturizer after the exfoliation is completed.
  • A gentle massage with oils on the area around the scar can help to reduce the amount of collagen that builds up in the targeted area and flatten the scar. Patients are advised to massage the skin three or four times each day for 5 minutes at a time. One of the most popular natural oils for treating scars is coconut oil. Studies have shown that coconut oil can encourage the healing of skin tissue.
  • Aloe Vera gel has been shown to improve wound healing in patients. While Aloe Vera gel might not improve the appearance of scars, it can hydrate the skin to reduce the amount of tightness in the scar.
  • Sunscreen will not get rid of scars but it can help them to fade and also reduce the amount of skin discoloration.
  • OTC medicated gels and creams are able to improve the level of wound healing as well as reduce the appearance of scars.

Scar Reduction – Medical and Cosmetic Treatments

Cosmetic Scar Reduction Medical TreatmentOlder scars that tend to be more visible might only respond to medical or cosmetic treatments of the scars. Here are some examples of the most effective medical and cosmetic scar treatments:

  • Dermal fillers can be injected into the area where the scar is located. The fillers work to plump us the area where the skin is indented to make the scar less noticeable to others.
  • Chemical peels are placed on the skin to remove its top layers and reduce scars that range from moderate to severe.
  • Botox injections reduce the visibility of the scar and smooth out the skin.
  • Cryotherapy is when a doctor uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the scars in order to flatten and reduce their overall growth
  • Corticosteroid shots work to flatten out scars that are raised as well as reduce the size of the scar.
  • Microneedling is when a small pen or roller is used to poke small holes in the top layer of the skin where the scar is located. The small pen or roller contains hundreds of tiny needles. The punctures from the holes encourage the production of collagen in the body to reduce the appearance of scars.
  • Laser therapy is when a focused beam of light is used to treat scars that are classified as severe. The laser light removes the outer layer of the skin or it stimulates the production of new skin cells to replace the damaged skin cells.
  • People that have a scar that is very tight can have scar reduction surgery to lessen the scar and also reduce any restrictions in the movement of the body where the scar is located.

Choosing how to Treat Scars

Patients should be aware that different types of scars can require different treatment options. It is important to consult with an experienced doctor about the best treatment option for a scar. Scars from a sports accident or mishap at home will need to be addressed differently than a scar that is the result of a burn.

The final result of any type of scar treatment varies depending on the age, depth and type of scar. While the scar treatment might not be able to completely reduce or eliminate the appearance of the scar, there should be some improvement in the overall appearance of the area of the skin where the scar is located.

MA