Scar Free || Treatment options for scar minimisation explained!

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It’s all fun and games until you end up over the handle bars of your bike….scenes of tears, scars or worse, Brad Pitt-less – that is if you’re Angelina! Unless you live in a bubble or are Teflon coated, chances are you won’t have a skin which is ‘Scar Free’.  Whether from surgery, pool dives gone wrong, cuts, stretchmarks or even acne; scars are an inevitable tracing of a life well lived. Wherever the skin has been broken and needs to repair itself, there will be a story to be told with a scar.

 Defintion:Scar – a mark left on the skin or within body tissue where a wound, burn, or sore has not healed completely and fibrous connective tissue has developed.

 Any injury to our skin can result in a temporary or sometimes unwelcome permanent scar. If it’s not a conversation opener at a dinner party, we spend a lot of time disguising, covering or wanting to get rid of them.

 Unlike the gorgeous Kate Middleton, your scar isn’t hidden beneath your hairline, there are a number of scar minimisation treatment options available to help reduce the appearance of those unwanted scars.

Skin heals unpredictably and so it can tough to predict the nature and extent of scarring after an injury or operation. Multiple factors including skin type, age, health status and the depth and nature of the injury to the skin all contribute to how a scar heals and what residual signs or scars may be left. Different skin types also have an impact on how the skin heals For example, Asian or darker skin types have an increased risk of developing keloid, hypertrophic scarring or post inflammatory hyper pigmentation.

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 First up….Types of scars

 Mature scars are scars which have completed the healing process. These types are definitely more challenging to treat.

Flat scars are scraped knees, abrasions or common superficial injuries.

 Atrophic scars are indented or depressed scars where and include the destruction of the supporting structure of the dermis- seen in post acne scarring.

 Keloid or Hypertrophic scars occur from superficial to deep injury of the skin and more commonly affect darker skin types or those with an Asian descent. They may undergo surgical revision with no guarantee of resolution. Keloid scars usually occur from the chest up, where scar tissue grows outside the borders or boundaries of the original scar or injury – seen in tribal markings or facial piercings.

 Hyper-pigmentation This is where there is a darkening of the skin caused by an increase in melanin production in the post inflammatory phase of a wound repair. Sun exposure during the healing process can exacerbate this.

Hypo-pigmentation is a loss of melanin to the site of injury and may be permanent or temporary depending on the depth of injury.

Early tip; Before that scar horse bolts…… Good wound care and scar prevention is always better than seeking scar minimisation treatment options.

 A quick tour on how the skin heals…

There are three phases in wound healing and they all overlap each other ultimately resulting in the healing of a wound-

Inflammatory phase the bodies first response, is to stop the bleeding and send in it’s army of protective cells to ward off infection as well as cells that will direct the healing process .

Proliferation phase– is the crucial rebuilding stage where epithelial cells (skin cells) resurface the wound — seen in a scab.

Maturation phase this is the final stage and the replacement of collagen from type III to type 1.During this phase erythema or redness decreases. This phase may take up to 2 years to complete.

Myth busting.A common misconception is that wounds should be air dried and a scab allowed to form. Recent studies now confirm that keeping wounds moist and covered with dressings not only reduces pain and the risk of infection but also results in faster healing times when compared to dry wound healing.

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Tip; A quicker a wound heals the less of a scar it will form.

You’ve got that Scar now what?

Treatments explained….
  • Sunscreen –  Sun protection is vital for minimising the appearance of scars preventing hyper or hypo pigmentation – Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect against UVA and UVB rays.

Tip; the zinc in broad-spectrum sunscreens has great healing properties in addition to sun protection.

  • Massage the wound gently – this helps in breaking down and lessons the risk of thick scarring from forming. Massaging should only be performed during the maturation phase of healing.
  • Retinols – when applied topically these Vitamin A derivatives help to control hyperpigmentation whilst facilitating cell renewal.
  •  Silicon gel sheeting – Putting a sheet of silicon gel on a scar every day may help it fade or keep it from getting worse. The sheeting is available at pharmacies or from dermatologists and should be used for at least 3 months.
  • Concealer – A quick fix! Pick a shade that is waterproof and most effective with the colour of your scar and skin tone. For a pink scar use concealer with green undertones, for a brown scar, try a concealer with a yellow undertones.
  • Dermal fillers – Injecting substances such as collagen or fat can immediately raise sunken atrophic scars. However, this treatment isn’t permanent and may need to be repeated regularly to maintain benefit.
  • Steroid injections – These may help flatten raised scars, but a long-term course may be needed note-Long term use of steroids in the skin may also cause a thinning of the skin.
  • Dermabrasion – This procedure abrades the surface of the skin,helping to reduce the look of raised scars.
  • Laser resurfacing  – The skin surface is removed with lasers, or lasers are used to work on the collagen in the dermis without removing the upper layer of skin.
  • Micro-needling – Small needles are delivered into the dermal layers of the skin, to break down scar tissue and stimulate the formation of new collagen.
  • Subcision – The sharp edge of a hypodermic needle is used to break down fibrous connective strands underneath the scar to improve appearance .
  • Surgery – You can’t remove a scar entirely with surgery, but you can alter its size, depth, or colour. Surgery isn’t suggested for hypertrophic or keloid scars because it can make them worse.Consult with an experienced Plastic Surgeon or Cosmetic Surgeon prior to considering this option.

The good news is scars do resolve themselves significantly over time but some may never completely disappear.It’s good to know however, that for those people who can do without the permanent reminder of a life well lived, there are many scar minimisation treatment options available.

Have you had any success with removing scars?

Susan x

photo credit Florian Sommet www.askinsolutions.com.au

MICRONEEDLING – THE POINTY END OF SKIN CARE !

Microneedling or collagen induction therapy is not new but in the non-surgical skin care arena, it is definitely on trend and fast becoming the ‘sharpest tool in the skin care shed’ for 2015 !

Microneedling is not only reserved for the rich and famous. Approximately $400 per treatment for the face makes it affordable. Microneedling’s claims of skin rejuvenation, scar reduction and antiaging, together with the advantages of less pain and downtime than light based therapies, has the masses ‘signing up’ with/for a ‘Dermapen®’ treatment.

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Kim K’s famous ‘Vampire Facial’ threw microneedling into the spotlight when she combined the

treatment with her own platelet rich plasma (PRP), which was reinfused back into her skin via the micro columns created by the microneedles, to enhance collagen production.

Breaking down the barriers….

The penetration of topical skin care has always been up for debate; it argues against the primary function of the skin as a barrier which prevents skin care from being readily absorbed. Microneedling  offers a solution. Topical agents may be better absorbed through the micro channels created by the needles into the skin, targeting specific skin care needs with greater results.

 

What you need to know if you’re microneedlephobic !

Microneedling systems are simply hand held devices which  are either battery or cord operated with stainless steel needles embedded in their tip. The microneedles range in length between 0.5 – 3.0 mm with bevelled or flat edged tips.

All

microneedling devices work on the same principal; puncturing the skin with micro needles.

Dermapen®, Dermastamp® and Dermaroller® are a few of the brands which produce microneedling devices, and systems. These devices are designed to puncture the skin, without injuring the epidermis, producing microchannels of trauma. These microchannels induce a wound healing cascade.

Part of the ‘healing cascade’ involves

the body filling these microscopic wounds with cells which produce collagen and elastin, resulting in improved skin texture, firmness as well as a reduction in pore size and scars.

Dr Tina Alster,clinical professor of dermatology, Georgetown University Hospital, Washington DC says ‘it is both affordable for dermatologists and patients’ and is seeing impressive results, similar to those seen with fractionated lasers when treating wrinkles and ‘without the heat and risk of post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation’.

The devices…

The Dermaroller® has tiny needles embedded into a roller device which is rolled over the skin in varying angles and are commonly sold as in-home devices.

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The problem with in- home roller devices are, they have needles 1/3 length of professional use systems, penetrating the skin at an angle and if not used carefully, create unwanted trauma by nicking the skin with the rolling action, increasing the risk of infection. Improper cleaning and

sterilising of in home devices contributes to an increased  risk of infection.

Application of skin care after in-home microneedling treatments may also carry an increased risk of irritation or ‘foreign body reaction’ created by ingredients in skincare, which may take a

long time  to resolve.

but wait there’s more…

Healthy skin requires a balance of 2 types of collagen – type 1 and 3 . The repetitive injury caused by an in home Dermaroller®  used 2-3 times a week can lead to an inbalance and an over production in type 1 collagen, resulting in unhealthy looking skin; as it never gets an opportunity to complete the healing process.

The Dermapen® looks like a motorised pen with a circular head, embedded with adjustable and single use  surgical steel needles.

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The Dermastamp® looks and works like a Dermapen® but with a larger head, with more needles protruding. Like a tattoo gun without ink the many needles of the dermastamp are stamped into the skin.®

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the treatment….what to expect !

A topical numbing agent is first applied and will take 30-45 mins to take effect.

An applicaton of an antioxidant, human growth factor serum or topical agent tailored specifically to the skin’s needs is applied before a non-conductive gel or hyularonic acid which assists the device to glide over the skin in multiple passes.

The multiple passes may result in some easily controllable pinpoint bleeding.

Post treatment the micro channels will close within 60-90 mins and skin will feel warm, tight, itchy with some redness. The redness generally subsides within 3 days.

Adhering to the after care instructions will reduce the risk of complications and optimise the treatment’s results.

The benefits…

  • Cost effective
  • Little or no downtime
  • Able to be used in conjunction with other treatments such as peels, microdermabrasion and resurfacing modalities
  • Effective treatment option for acne scars, skin rejuvenation and anti-aging
  • Able to treat areas which are unable to be treated by lasers and peels, such as around the eyes
  • No heat cialis dapoxetine  –  reducing the risk of post inflammatory hyper pigmentation
  • Can be performed on all skin types
  • Can be used all over the body
  • Best results are seen after 2 – 4 treatments at 4 – 6 week intervals

What can go wrong ?

Overzealous treatments may result in scarring, hyper-pigmentation,infection and skin irritation.

Who isn’t a candidate for microneedling ?

Whilst most skin types are suitable for microneedling, people suffering skin infections, recent outbreak of herpes simplex, active acne, eczema, rosacea psoriasis or warts are not candidates for microneedling.

The verdict ?

Even with the current lack of evidence and studies supporting microneedling’s claims of skin rejuvenation, scar reduction and antiaging I can certainly understand the popularity of microneedling and anticipate  future studies proving its benefits.

ASkinSolutions x

Have you had a micro needling treatment, i’d love to hear from you?