8 facts to help you win the Skin v/s Scar showdown
First things first. Let’s get the scare out of scars. They’re like pictures. Scars and marks are nothing but memories. Of that moment when you scraped your knee after you scored that winning basket…of that time when you fell off your mountain bike (thankfully, not off the mountain)…of that time when you were expecting your very first child!
“That’s all very well,” we hear you say, “but I don’t want to go through life as a spotty picture album.”
Good thinking. With all the dermatological expertise and technology available today, you can actually fight back. (Choose wisely, however. You’ve surely come across people who’ve collected scars from skin treatments gone bad)
The battle lines are drawn: skin v/s scar. And we’re on your side. The first thing we’re going to do is arm you with knowledge. Know your enemy, know what’s possible and what isn’t… yet.
- Scars appear when skin heals. (Is skin its own worst enemy?)
Over-reacting is always a bad idea. Allow us to explain. The skin is a marvelous self-healing organ. If its superficial layer (the epidermis, which has no blood vessels) is cut, there is no bleeding, and the skin heals itself without any scarring whatsoever. But when the cut goes deeper, all the way to the dermis, it will lead to bleeding, scab formation and scars. During the healing process, the skin forms a substance called collagen, which covers the wound in order to repair it. So in cases where collagen formation goes into overdrive, it’s possible that the scar will be thick and elevated. This is called a keloid or a hypertrophic scar. But when the collagen is contracted, it forms a thin atrophic or depressed scar. Not convinced? Think your skin’s being feeble or just plain dumb? Far from it. There’s more to it than meets the eye…
Healing occurs in four phases:
- The cellular phase: During this part of the process, hemostasis with bleeding and crust formation occurs within minutes, and sometimes in a few hours.
- The inflammation phase: In this stage, your immune system fights against environmental bacteria and germs. This battle may rage on for a few days or even a few weeks!
- The proliferation phase: Here, your skin begins to form new collagen and minute blood vessels. This may take anywhere between a few weeks and two months.
- The remodeling phase: This is where the real art happens. Your skin tries to find the right balance between excessive collagen (with the subsequent elevated scar or keloid) and contraction of the new collagen (with a deeper atrophic scar).
- Insect bites can cause scars. (Bugs you, doesn’t it)
Every night as the sun goes down and mosquitoes head out looking for a drink, people get bitten and end up with scars and dark patches. Insect bites stimulate allergic reactions that may end up as hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation or scarring. The first two are caused by a reaction in the deepest layers of the skin, and can be treated with anti-inflammatory creams, and sometimes with the injection of anti-inflammatory medicines. On the other hand, scarring occurs due to scratching. You know that itch that you just can’t seem to scratch off? Well, that’s caused when the wound starts to scar. Of course, with the right type of creams, ointments and sun blocks you can prevent or reduce those marks. But we’ll talk about cures and prevention later in the article, so make sure you keep reading!
- Stretch marks can be… well, un-stretched.
Although they don’t belong to the ‘scar gang’, stretch marks do leave a trail of damage. They are caused by weight gain, pregnancy, hormonal changes, or the prolonged use of cortisone creams. Deep down in the skin, collagen fibers sort of snap while leaving the upper layers intact. This shows through as stretch marks. However, you needn’t live with them forever. There are extremely effective strategies that can help you erase them. Treatment starts with treating the cause, if possible, by stimulating the formation of new collagen using lasers and radio frequency devices under medical supervision.
- Treat them right and they’ll treat you right.
Scars are toughies. Although some fade away, many hang on for life. A lot has to do with the duration of healing, which depends upon several factors – the depth of the wound, site of injury (is it on a finger or the forearm), exposure to infection, your overall state of health. Certain medications actually slow down the healing process.
While some scars are for life, there are certain steps or remedies that one can take to prevent scars or reduce their visibility on your skin. Recent studies have proven that Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory properties, which help in decreasing the redness. But, we recommend that you avoid the use of both Aloe Vera and Vitamin E during the first two weeks after the injury. But use Alpha hydroxyl acids, Vitamin A acid, and silicon gel as they are effective in improving the overall look of the scar. Remember, these creams should be used immediately once the wound has healed. Combine with regular massaging of the area for about 6 months. While the scars may not completely disappear, they will certainly be less noticeable.
- Aggressive treatment in the name of beauty? Help me here.
Some scars can be permanent, and it is likely that topical applications may not be effective enough to make them vanish. That’s when you should employ more aggressive methods such as minor procedures and lasers. When it comes to hypertrophic scars, lasers work best. Triamcinolone injections, which inhibit the production of collagen, reduce inflammation and help scars regress. But if you don’t even want to see a trace of the scar on your body, there are some extremely effective cosmetic techniques available, thanks to recent medical advances. At Kaya, we offer a range of services such as derma roller, needling with a dermapen, mesotherapy, radiofrequency devices, fillers and much more. Your skin will be as good as new!
- Defence remains the best form of offence.
You know, that age-old maxim “prevention is better than cure” holds true, even if you’ve already got hurt. What we are talking about is proper wound care after the injury has occurred. After all, the key to prevention of scars is giving your wound the care it deserves. Ensure against infections with thorough cleansing, use the right medicines and dressings, and eat healthy. Also protect the wound against tissue damage by avoiding excessive heat or direct sunlight; use a sunblock to prevent pigmentation along with the correct scar-reducing creams. But no matter what you do, if your body mechanism orders a scar, a scar you shall have.
- Know the troublemakers.
Most scars are superficial and only bother you about your looks. But some can go on to cause medical issues. For instance, scars near vital organs such as the eyes may affect vision. Scars near the nose may cause breathing problems, and scars around the mouth may make it difficult to articulate or eat. In such cases, the need to get rid of the scars is far greater than merely cosmetic.
- The region’s biggest army of dermatologists is with you.
The collective expertise of 27 highly qualified and experienced specialists. Over a decade of looking after skin under the demanding environmental conditions of this region. A unique clinical approach that combines proprietary techniques with intelligent adaptation of the latest technology. It all comes together to make scars a rapidly fading memory. And ensure that Scar Wars will mean an enduring victory for you!