Protect skin from difficult scars
SCARRING can be very difficult to treat. Some people are simply more prone to scarring and even a shallow wound may leave a mark.
Scars also tend to develop more often in parts of the skin that are under tension.
When scars do form, they are usually pale and flat, although some can be raised.
Called hypertrophic or keloid scars, these occur when the body produces too much collagen.
James Vivian has a Bachelor of Health Science in Dermal Therapies.
He is also the owner of the Travelling Peelsman that offers advanced skincare solutions including light-based technologies.
We asked him how to deal with difficult scars:
Q: What type of scarring do you see mostly?
A: Working alongside a plastic surgeon, I care for a wide range of post-surgical scars resulting from breast augmentation to skin cancer removal. I also care for scars resulting from trauma, including burns, cuts and abrasions and acne.
Q: Is there a way to prevent scarring at the time of surgery or injury?
A: At the time of surgery or injury, the skin instinctively begins the repair process.
While it is essential that we allow this process to occur without disruption e.g. infection , we can use topical products to enhance healing rates and improve visible outcomes.
(Try SkinMedica's Scar Recovery Gel, $125.40, with Centelline to help support the skin's repair process. Stockists: http://www.advskin.com.au) In addition, the use of sun protection is essential to prevent hyperpigmentation.
Q: What is the most difficult type of scarring to treat?
A: Keloid scars (an abnormal scar resulting from an over-production of collagen) are an especially hard scar to treat as some treatments can further exacerbate the condition, so a referral to a doctor is recommended.
Q: How much reduction in scarring can be achieved with a topical product and what are the other options?
A: With the repair process different for everyone, it is impossible to say just how much reduction in scarring can be achieved using topical products alone. The use of in-clinic procedures, such as skin needling and laser therapies can also compliment the healing process, so I recommend a combination of topical and in-clinic therapies to allow a scar the best chance to develop without the visible effects.
Q: What about diet or supplements - can they help?
A: During the scar repair process, the body requires an increased amount of nutrients. Ingredients which assist in this process include Vitamins A, B and C; zinc; essential fatty acids and antioxidants. These also help to boost the body's natural immunity and help to prevent infection. From a dietary perspective, boost your intake of fish, nuts, pumpkin seeds, vegetables and fruit. Lastly, inhaling cigarette smoke impairs the flow of much needed oxygen to the scar, so abstain and take it as an opportunity to kick the habit.
Scar tissue is made of collagen, the tough material manufactured by fibroblasts, which are the fibre-making cells that rebuild all injuries.
In smaller cuts, the small amount of collagen fibre that forms beneath the surface skin is generally not visible.
In larger wounds, however, more fibre is needed to fill the gap, resulting in a visible scar.
Because scar tissue is made of fibres, not skin cells, it does not have hairs, sweat glands or blood vessels.
Scar tissue is stronger than ordinary skin and it may look shiny