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Scarring: The story of our lives told on our skin

Forget wearing your heart on your sleeve, you wear the story of your life on your skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ, which is subjected to numerous traumas over a lifetime which leave enduring marks, such as bites, burns, rashes, acne attacks , injuries and surgical incisions. By protecting your skin and treating it well you can help stop a disfiguring scar from becoming inevitable and permanent.  Dr Joshua Fox founder and director of New York & New Jersey-based Advanced Dermatology, PC & the Centre for Laser & Cosmetic Surgery states “We now have some keys ways to help prevent scars, and even treat existing scars so they’re much less noticeable.”


How scars form


There are many contributing factors that determine the formation of a scar. These can include:

  • The depth of the injury. The deeper the impact of the trauma on the skin increases the risk of scarring. If you suffer a deep cut or burn on your face, it is wise to consult a doctor for stitches to decrease the scale of scarring.
  • Acne. Acne is a major cause of scarring; popping a pimple maybe a great temporary solution to improve the appearance of spots, but in the long run, it can cause permanent marks on the surface of your skin. If you have squeezed your spots and have been left with acne scarring, help is at hand.
  • Terproline products provide key ingredients to replace damaged collagen and elastin, it triggers the breakdown of the scar collagen and provides the skin with the means to replace this with new smooth elastic skin. In the meantime a great product to use to dramatically reduce the size of your pimples rapidly without the risk of acne scarring, would be the Aknicare range, especially the Skin Roller, a product specifically designed to reduce a large spot quickly before scarring can occur. It can reduce a spot in a matter of hours, this provides rapid relief to keep your pimples at bay. To prevent a breakout altogether try using one of SkinMed’s tailored-for-you acne busting product sets.
  • Trauma Location. There are areas of the body that are more prone to scarring than elsewhere, such as the middle of the chest, the earlobe and the tip of the shoulder. Scars that form on the joints are often more visible due to the stretching and movement during the healing process.
  • Age. A person’s age is a major contributor that determines the formation of a scar. The older you get the less capable your cells are at efficiently carrying out the wound-healing process and the skin takes longer to heal. Younger people heal more rapidly and in a lot of cases this can trigger an over healing response leading to hypertrophic or raised scars.
  • Family history and skin tone play a vital role in your proneness to an overly aggressive healing process. When this occurs, you can develop elevated hypertrophic and in some even keloid scars. The resulting scar usually fades over time, becoming smoother and less noticeable. However, some scars don't stop growing. They 'invade' the surrounding healthy skin and become bigger than the original wound. These are known as keloid scars”. You have a greater risk of developing keloids if you have darker skin.
  • Infection. Ensure you thoroughly clean the wound at the time of trauma and ensure that all foreign bodies, for example glass and dirt particles, are removed from the area. If the wound becomes infected, more white blood cells disburse to the trauma site and are more likely to leave traces of their presence in the form of more severe scarring.
  • Hard Scabs. It is essential not to pick¸ this will not only remove the scab but you are also stripping away new skin cells which delays healing, doubling the risk of scarring.

 

What’s happening beneath the skin


Scars are caused as a result of burns, surgery or injury and form as part of the healing process. New skin collagen fibres are rapidly produced to mend this damage and they form a dense network of bound fibres in the area of injury, resulting in scar tissue, which has less elastin and hyaluronic acid incorporated and hence has a different texture to the surrounding skin. The collagen fibres all stick together to create a rigid less elastic tight skin texture.


Collagen fibres in the lower levels of the skin along with soft keratin in the upper skin layers provide skin strength and shape. Collagen exists in different forms, but the important ones related to the ageing process and skin damage are Collagen Type-III (mobile dynamic youthful collagen) and Collagen Type-I (known as scar collagen).


Skin cells called fibroblasts produce new Collagen Type-III fibres, which are single stranded and flexible. These strands are linked together by elastic fibres called elastin, which together create a network that can bend and expand and then contract back to normal, so skin maintains its shape. 


Elastin (and fibronectine) gives the skin elasticity and work in conjunction with collagen to provide skin structure and ‘springiness’. Loss of elastin leads to reduced elasticity, so when skin creases it takes longer for these creases to expand out again. Scars have very little elastin associated with them and are mainly many compressed collagen fibres ‘stuck together’.


Hyaluronic acid is a sugary long-chain fibre which attracts and holds water, forming a jelly-like filler which provides skin plumpness and firmness, and keeps the collagen and elastic network in place. As we age, hyaluronic acid levels reduce causing the skin to lose plumpness, leading to lines and wrinkles, where again elastin levels are reduced and collagen fibres come into contact with each other and link together more easily as hyaluronic acid levels reduce. In a way wrinkles are like mini-scars in structure.


Scar prevention and over the counter remedies


Although it is not possible to prevent a scar from occurring, it is possible to help your scar heal better and become less visible. It is essential to thoroughly clean the wound to reduce the risk of infection. Applying a protective layer of a hydrating ointment can keep the area moist and promote a more regular healing response and helps new skin cells to migrate to the site of trauma as the wound closes. Moisture can also encourage bacteria so some may recommend incorporating an antibacterial agent or a disinfectant. To prevent infection, clean the wound and replace the bandage daily until the wound is fully healed. If the wound becomes warm or painful to touch, oozes yellow puss, redness extends beyond the site of the wound or you develop red streaks, it is possible that you have developed an infection and it is wise to seek medical advice.


Terproline® stimulates fibroblast activity, while providing the raw materials for new collagen and elastin. Terproline®  improves the elasticity and extensibility of the skin, accelerating tissue repair by triggering removal of old/scar collagen and increasing production of new collagen and elastin, promoting faster, more uniform healing and recovery. Terproline® has remarkable properties in promoting the skins rejuvenation response, by sustaining results for longer and by increasing collagen and elastin development.


How medical advice can help


Not only can scarring have a devastating effect on an individuals’ self-confidence, it can continue to cause pain. In these circumstances it is wise to seek medical advice, as there is now a wide range of treatments available.


Some of the most difficult scars to deal with, especially emotionally, are keloids and hypertrophic scars; because the scar will be raised and red. There are treatments available to reduce the inflammation and the redness, such as steroid injections and laser treatment. These treatments to have what is referred to as ‘downtime’, where a client feels they cannot go out in public after invasive treatments due to redness and swelling. Dr Fox states “You need to stay home after these procedures since your skin can be raw.” If you are looking for a non-invasive treatment, with no added downtime, Terproline Professional®, a clinic strength product, has been shown to reduce keloids and hypertrophic scarring. It is also an excellent product to use if you choose to have invasive treatments. It’s best to use this product before and after many cosmetic procedures that cause skin trauma, such as chemical peels, lasers and injections due to its protective and recuperative properties. Terproline® has remarkable properties in promoting a much better response from rejuvenation procedures, reducing complications and sustaining results for longer by increasing collagen and elastin development. When used in conjunction with Fillast®, these products achieve a high hyaluronic acid environment by promoting a more youthful Collagen Type-III environment

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