When the boundary o f the skin is crossed or cut, it heals with a scar
New scars are thick and full of blood vessels, but over a period of several months they become flattered and the blood supply decreases.
Scars that remain thick and wide but are confined to the area of the original injury are called hypertrophic scars. Hypertrophic (overgrown) scars are usually flesh-colored, pink, or red, and are dome-shaped. They can have areas with many prominent, tiny red blood vessels or areas that are flat and shiny within the raised, broad scar.
Scars that become inappropriately large, in which the scarring process has gone out of control, are known as keloids. Keloids grow not only on the site of the original injury but. Also outside it, often with clawlike extensions. In fact, keloids can continue to grow slowly for years. They are most common among dark-skinned people, and they have a tendency to run in families.
Keloids usually appear in areas of trauma, such as sites of the previous acne, burns, cuts, ear piercings, insect bites, or vaccinations. However, some keloids develop spontaneously, especially on the upper chest in the area of the breastbone. They are typically very smooth, shiny, thick, and large. Keloids usually cause no symptoms, but they may be itchy or tender to touch, especially early in their formation. They can also be distressing from a cosmetic point of view.
Making scars and keloids smaller and less obvious is a common dermatologic concern. Let's now take a look at what both traditional and alternative medicine have to offer us for help with this problem.
- Vitamin E cream, applied to the area twice a day, is helpful in softening scars.
- Mederma, a topical gel containing a proprietary botanical extract made from onion and allantoin, can by applied to a scar three or four times a day. An improvement in the color, texture, appearance, and flexibility of the scar should be noted sometime between eight weeks and six months of treatment. This product is available over the counter. It works best on newer scars.
- Applying calendula gel or cream to a scar twice a day reduces inflammation and increases healing in an early scar.
- An ointment containing 10 percent mustard-seed oil, applied to a scar three times a day for several weeks, is said to aid in improving the appearance of the scar.
- Mix 1 ounce each of rose hip seed oil and essential oils of rose and everlasting and apply daily to the scar after bathing. This should help to improve the appearance of the scar. Store the mixture in a dark glass bottle.
- Lavender oil has skin-cell-rejuvenating properties and reportedly helps with all forms of scarring. Apply it to the scar or keloid several times a day.
- Thiosinaminum 5c, applied externally to a scar or keloid twice a day, reduces the swelling of a lumpy, bumpy scar. However, it must be used within three months of the scar's formation to have any effect. Massage can help to soften scars. Roll stiff scars several times daily to break down scar tissue and soften the scars. Studies show that pulsed electrotherapy greatly reduces the growth of hypertrophic scars and keloids.
- Don't pick at any healing wound, as this will increase scarring. If you are prone to forming keloids or thick scars, avoid cosmetic or elective surgical procedures if possible. If surgery is necessary, discuss your concern about scarring with your surgeon. Triamcinolone acetonide, a steroid, can be injected into the incision site to reduce the risk of hypertrophic scarring and keloid formation. However, this may slow healing of the wound as well.
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Author: Dr. Izharul Hasan