Types of Scars

What are the types of scars?  First a little background – Scars are the trophies and the stories that you tell for years after they happen, or they can be something that you try to keep hidden from the view of others. Whatever scars are to you they will form every time that there is an injury and the shape they take is determined by your age, gender, ethnicity and even your genetics. The skin is the largest organ and scars are the way the body heals itself.  Although healing happens rather quickly you will not be able to tell how the scar will look until months after the injury occurred. The injuries that can cause scars include burns, stretching, lacerations, acne and even puncturing. Some viruses can in some instances lead to scaring, but that is not as common.

Keloid And Hypertrophic Scars

STM Scar Cream

STM Scar Cream

When people tell you that they are embarrassed about their scars it is very likely that they are talking about keloid scars. Keloid are one of the types of scars that  happen because a person’s healing process can get a bit more aggressive than necessary. That means that the scar will have extra tissue that the skin did not have before and often are in more than one spot on the body. Hypertrophic scars are very similar to Keloid and often may be treated with emu oil for scars. The difference is that they will only be in the single area where the injury happened. They will have a similar look to Keloid in that they will be raised and red but in the one area. These scars usually are associated with cuts and the depth of the cut determined how raised the scar will be in the end.

Contracture And Atrophic Scars

Atrophic scars are not raised like keloids or hypertrophic scars; in fact they are the complete opposite. The Atrophic scars are the ones that happen when the fat or the muscle under the skin is damaged to the point that even when you have a very active healing process it will not be enough to get to the same level that the skin had before. Contracture scars are the ones that will present on the body as a result of a burn. The skin when burnt is destroyed and so the scars tighten the body. The size of the scar can in some severe cases even prevent a person’s mobility. The size of the scar can also go into the muscles and prevent the correct functioning.

Acne Scars

The look and size of acne scars will depend on the amount of acne that a person had. The scars vary in appearance from wave-like scarring to atrophic scarring. The scars can be treated with a scar cream, and the treatment will mostly depend on the amount and the size of the scar. The treatment can consist of steroid injections to even small surgical cuts on the affected skin. Another type of treatment used for acne scarring is freezing. If any of these types of scars becomes too bad, they can be removed with a small surgery. Your dermatologist will be able to tell you what type of procedures are best for you. You should always give the scar at least a year’s time to be fully developed before scar removal surgical treatment.

Tips for Smoother Skin – Part II

In the first post on smoother skin, we talked about the “top 3” of proper care – cleansing, hydrating (moisturizing), and treating. Each are equally important to prevent enlarged pores, avoid rashes and keep your complexion soft and smooth.

Not to get to detailed, but we (the consuming public and manufacturers) can break down each of these areas and take a closer look at some things that work and some that don’t – and why.

There are a lot of skin care products for smoother skin – they come in a wide range of applications, mix of ingredients and a multitude of bases. The market has been segmented to the extreme as everyone looks for the miracle product that will make us look younger. Cream, abrasions, exfoliators and moisturizers all vie for the dollar you are going to spend.

But do they work?…do they help?…really? Well as a researcher, formulator and manufacturer, I would argue that it depends on the ingredients and what your goal is. I’m ot trying to talk in circles, but that’s what it boils down to.

For instance, moisturizers have been considered a regimen staple going back a long time. I remember my Mom applying a mask every night. The general purpose is to rehydrate the tissue. Even years ago, we recognized dryness and tightening and believed re-hydration was good. In fact, it was and is. The cool thing now is we have so many more effective ingredients than 40 years ago.

In the past 10 years, the most popular ingredient for moisturizers has become Hyaluronic Acid. It has found its was into wrinkle creams, solutions for skin rashes, burn treatments, and for chronic or acute drying. It is naturally found in our cells and becomes increasingly depleted as we age.

Many biologist and dermatologists believe it is the accumulated effects of free-radical damage that causes us to lose and produce less hyaluronic acid. If so, it certainly is a convenient response to why tissue becomes thin, dry, and wrinkled as we continue to age. So, to re-hydrate and moisturize look for creams or serums with Hyaluronic Acid. The effects are almost immediate.

Another couple of ingredients to loo for are Aloe and Emu Oil. Aloe most of us are familiar with. It makes a great base for a cream – especially serums. Its widely used in beauty and anti-aging products – working well for facial and wrinkle solutions, especially as an eye smoother.  One of the challenges older men and women have is neck wrinkles.  Particlularly sun damage and natural aging can show premature wrinkles on the neck giving the appearance of unsmooth skin.  If this is what you are experiencing, look for the best neck cream that can add moisture and reduce the sagging wrinkles at the base of your neck.

Emu oil is less well known, but has become a premier (and fairly expensive) ingredient for pitted acne scar treatment, burns, and stretchmarks. I’ve put up a few posts regarding Emu Oil, and at the risk of oft repeating myself, it is great. It has been used for years in Australia and New Zealand for wound healing. It deep moisturizes, and clinical studies have shown it is super-effective at both repairing and improving the complexion. A pretty good combo.

So, there are a few things you should look for when considering products for smoother skin. Each help soften, reduce enlarged pores, help retian moisture, and in some cases, help purify tissue to rid bacteria, oil and dirt.  Another idea you should consider is using skin tightening exercises for the stomach if you have been dealt the hand of flabby skin on the tummy.  These exercises will help give you smoother skin by improving and strengthening underlying muscle and connective tissue.  They will also help improve tissue flexibility, thus tightening the abdominal area.

Remedies for a Bad Sunburn

I just got back from 3 days at the beach, and as usual and am looking for remedies for a bad sunburn on my nose.

Finding relief for the burning and peeling go back to when I was a kid growing up in Orlando. My Dad, who was a Remedies for a Bad Sunburndentist, always had an Aloe plant in the backyard and sent us scrambling to peel open the leaves and wipe the gooey insides on our face.

It felt soothing and seemed to make everything OK until it started to dry – making our skin tight and dried-out. Aloe and lidocaine have since become popular ingredients helping soothe and cool sunburns all over the planet in OTC products. And, while the healing effects have become widely known, we have found there are options to heal and treat you can consider, especially of the burn is severe (which mine is borderline!)

I have written several times about emu oil. It is a very popular remedy in Australia and somewhat in New Zealand. It is one of the few oils used in skin care products that is considered a “carrier” oil – meaning it is capable and has properties to penetrate to the subcutaneous layer of the skin. While this may not seem too important, many creams and lotions do not have a carrier oil – primarily because of expense (it’s not cheap). The benefits, as they say, out way the costs. The ability to penetrate deep greatly improves it’s – and other ingredients its formulated with – efficacy or effectiveness. Especially when considering sun burn remedies, getting to the lower layers of tissue is paramount.

With that said, emu oil, does several other things. First it is widely used to treat burns in general. It is a natural anti-bacterial, helping wounds to remain sterilized and fighting off infection, a primary concern to fight infection. It is a natural moisturizer, antiseptic and promotes healthy skin cell and collagen renewal. This helps prevent scars and improves elasticity and pliability of tissue.

If combined with vitamin e and menthol, as with my favorite remedy for bad sunburn, Dermal Em, you you get the soothing and cooling relief with the benefit of the healing power and regenerative qualities needed to avoid tightening, itchy or excessive peeling.

While there is plenty of discussion as to the difference between “bad” and “severe”, the fundamental premise of treatment is the same:

  • Drink plenty of fluid to avoid dehydration and to maintain body fluids
  • Provide no open wounds, keep the affected area moisturized, clean and sterilized, if possible
  • To relieve pain, itchy and soreness, products based with with emu oil, lidocaine or menthol (peppermint, spearmint) can help with the “heat”.

The best remedies for a bad sunburn I have found combine emu oil, vitamin e and menthol. The skin gets some relief with a light cooling sensation to burned tissue (I like the smell also), and the vitamin e and emu oil do a great job helping heal the burn.