If you’ve got surgery planned or are considering a procedure it’s common to feel nervous about healing and scarring. This week we continue our scarring blog series and consider the ways you can support skin healing and skin regeneration after a procedure.
What Is a Scar?
First and foremost, what is a scar? When skin is injured, either in a controlled way like during a surgical incision or in an accident, the body produces collagen fibers to repair the injury from the middle layer of the skin (dermis) to the outer layer (epidermis) and then from the edges inward to close the wound. While this healing process is taking place, a scab will form over the area to cover the wound and protect it from infection and further injury. It is important to not pick at scabs because it can slow the healing process and re-open the wound. A scar forms when the fibrous tissue that heals the wound is not the same texture or tone as the skin surrounding it.
How can you avoid a scar?
Board-certified Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons are experts at performing their procedures with scars in mind, doing their best to create the cleanest incisions in places that can hide a scar if one occurs. For instance, with facelifts incisions are made along the hairline or in front of the ear lobe. During a breast augmentation, implants can be inserted through a small incision made under the breast, in the armpit, or underneath the nipple-areolar complex. In these areas, any scars that may form can be easily hidden in the skin’s natural lines. However, no matter how precise a skilled surgeon is, if you are genetically prone to scarring and growing excessive scar tissue, you may still find yourself with an unsightly scar. Knowing what type of scar you have can help you find the right treatment.
What are the different types of scars?
Atrophic scar: This type of scar occurs when the body produces an insufficient amount of collagen during the healing process, resulting in cave-like depressed scars on the surface of the skin.
Hypertrophic scar: This type of scar is typically raised, red in colour and can be a different pigment from the rest of your skin. These scars are common in areas of tension or movement, like around the joints, or in an area that was not properly sutured.
Keloid scar: This type of scar occurs when your body does not stop healing itself. A keloid forms when the body thinks the wound has not yet been healed and continues generating scar tissue around it. This results in a raised, bumpy, and even bulbous scar. The difference between a keloid scar and a hypertrophic scar is that keloids go beyond the boundaries of the original wound. Genetics and a darker skin tone can make someone more prone to keloid scarring.
What solutions are there to scarring?
At DW Skin & Body there are a number of treatments and products we recommend and offer for scarring. Here are the most popular:
Dermapen Skin Needling
For raised and pigmented/ red scars we recommend Dermapen treatments to flatten and lighten the scarring. The concept of skin needling is based on the skin’s ability to repair itself whenever it encounters physical damage such as cuts, abrasions and other physical trauma. Immediately after an injury occurs our skin destroys old damaged tissue and replaces it with new fresh healthy collagen. Skin needling allows for controlled induction of the skin’s self-repair mechanism by creating micro “injuries” in the skin which triggers a whole cascade of events that result in new collagen synthesis.
The procedure is normally completed within 20 minutes for the entire face and neck and up to 60 minutes for the body depending on the size of the problem area. Before the procedure commences a topical anesthetic or local block is applied to the client’s skin to ensure a virtually painless experience.
ScarScience is a product that has been developed by a team of Plastic Surgeons and is a unique (and affordable) topical scar management program formulated to improve the outcome of a scar. Once the wound edges have healed satisfactorily (usually about 2 weeks) the gel is applied over microporous tape which allows the gel to seep through onto the lesion, holding the gel in place and preventing it rubbing off onto clothes. The gel is reapplied twice daily ensuring the best benefits of the scientifically formulated ingredients to promote wound healing.
RégimA Scar Repair
Best for larger wound and scar areas RégimA is a scar management product that offers the most advanced technology in the highest concentrations to accelerate wound healing, promote balanced collagen synthesis, and helps prevent as well as treat hypertrophic and keloid scars and stretch marks. It’s rich in bio-actives: Flavonoids, phospholipids, glycolipids, and Vitamin C.
My Pro Tip:
Use your consultation with your selected surgeon to discuss any scarring concerns you may have, especially if you have a history of scarring or you weren’t satisfied with previous surgical results.
Contact the DW Skin & Body team for more information on what treatments we have available for scars and other skin concerns.