The word “scarring” can bring to the mind unsightly images of the skin being unclear and having blurred patches. Scars are the formations on the skin after an incidence of wound or disease that affects the skin, and they always come as a byproduct of the natural skin’s healing process. Scars occur when the tissues underneath the upper surface of the skin suffer from significant damage, and then get repaired by the fiber tissues, making the formation of the scar essential in order to complete the repairing process.
Types, Reasons and Symptoms
Whenever there is a scarring, know that the lower skin layers have been damaged. Scarring is characterized by the marks that form on the skin following any sort of surgery, or an injury. Whatever the situation, physical injuries that damage the skin will always lead to the formation of scars, contrary to injuries which trigger internal damage that is not visible.
Among studies on hypertrophic scarring, the prevalence rate of this condition varied between 32 and 72 percent. Identified risk factors for scarring include dark skin, young age, multiple surgical procedures, female gender, young age, burn site on neck and upper limb, meshed skin graph, burn severity, and time to healing.
Diagnosis and Treatment
As being of a physical nature, scarring is characterized to be detected by visual observation. However, there situations may arise when the scar needs to be studied in depth in order to know the level of damage to the internal layers of the tissues. These situations ascend from abnormal skin conditions that may end up forming a scar.
Scars occur naturally as a healing aid for the wound, and many are not considered serious enough to be given removal treatment. Also, studies suggest scars cannot be completely removed, so treatment often focuses on making the scar less visible and less of a distraction. Only the ones that appear to be undesirable cosmetically are given attention and regarded as important to be given treatment.
The various treatments include surgery, microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing, fillers, steroid injections, and topical treatments. While the surgical treatments can be used to remove the scars, they do not attain a 100 percent success. They just work to alter the shape of the scar, or flatten the skin so the scar appears cosmetically desirable.
Topical medications are always helpful when treating the scars. Even after the surgery, the tissues of the skin that were damaged need to be constantly nourished in order to regain their shape. Though it may be difficult, massaging topical medications on the scarred sites will help the tissues beneath the skin be rejuvenated and improve the appearance while reducing pain.
List of Topical Ingredients for Compounded Formulations
• Hyaluronic acid – This is a naturally occurring substance used as an injectable filer. It can moisturize and plump the skin, and is a proven to penetrate readily.
• Vitamin E – Recent research shoes that vitamin E can help prevent sun damage, but has little effectiveness for the scar itself.
• Vitamin C – This essential vitamin is used for collagen synthesis, which is a necessary part of scar healing. Also, vitamin C applied topically improves collagen formation, reduces inflammation, and lightens dark scars. Most creams have unstablized vitamin C, which will turn brown upon exposure, but it won’t harm your skin.
• Steroids – These are classical anti-inflammatories that reduce the thickness of scar tissue.
• Silicone – This is a scar treatment gel that softens and flattens the scar. It is easy to apply and is often compounded in a sheet form.
• Aloe vera – This is a commonly prescribed remedy for scars that accelerate wound healing, helps stimulate new skin growth, and decreases inflammation.
• Sunflower seed oil – This can lighten hyperpigmented scars, improve the skin elasticity, and promote wound healing. It works by controlling the production of prostaglandins (hormone substance).
• Manuka honey – This is a special form of hone that reduces scarring that is related to burns and wounds. It has a high content of vitamin C, helps stimulate collagen production, and decreases the redness of the scar.
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Lawrence, J.W., Mason, S.T., Schomer, K., and Klein, M.B. (2012). Epidemiology and impact of scarring after burn injury: a systematic review of the literature. J Burn Care Res, 33(1), 136 – 146. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22138807