Scar healing is caused by biologic wound repair and is a complicated procedure. With the exception of minor lesions, every skin wound causes a certain level of permanent scarring. Complete scar healing can take as many as 2 decades. Scars continue to soften, flatten and fade during this time. Unfortunately, some scars can be problematic over time.
- Growing larger or more increased
- Causing itching
- Becoming debilitating
- Becoming permanently pigmented (dark red/brown)
- Restricting motion
- Age – younger skin is more prone to abnormal and exaggerated healing. This may result in hypertrophic or keloid scars.Older skin takes longer to recover.
- Skin kind – scar recovery is typically worse in people with darker skin types. Hispanic and african ancestry is associated with a greater risk of developing hypertrophic or keloid scars.
- Genetics – abnormal scarring could be inherited.
- Location – Movement of scars over joints can make them wider.
- Infection – Infected wounds don’t heal well. The final scar might be raised, broad, uneven and red or dark.
- Poor nutrition – Not eating healthily deprives the body of nutrients (such as protein), vitamins (like vitamin C) and minerals (such as copper and zinc) which are necessary for optimal wound healing.
- Smoking – Cigarette smoke causes blood vessels to clamp down and reduce blood circulation. Wounds that don’t get enough blood are more vulnerable to poor wound healing and worse scarring.
- Sun exposure – Exposing new scars to the sun causes permanent redness.
Dilation of blood vessels causes leakage of fluid which contains enzymes, growth factors and cytokines (inflammation cells). The wound uses this fluid to break down the collagen damaged by the injury. Unfortunately, the skin isn’t effective at controlling the amount of those healing variables. This causes an “over-breakdown” of collagen and leads to a bigger, less decorative scar. We’ve discovered that certain scar therapies work together to reduce this surplus breakdown of collagen in the wound area. These include stable forms of vitamin C, dimethicone silicone gel and specific botanicals (natural plant extracts) like peppermint, aloe vera and oils full of n3 and n6 essential fatty acids (such as sunflower and safflower seed oils). Any vitamin C skincare product that becomes discolored over time (typically turning brown on repeat exposure to atmosphere ) contains unstable forms vitamin c that have become oxidized and therefore are no longer effective.
After the inflammation, the body replaces the damaged tissue with collagen. Skin builds this collagen very fast and might produce abnormal collagen. The build-up of abnormal hydration may result in hypertrophic scarring and even keloid scars. Stable vitamin C complexes and dimethicone encourage generation of normal,”healthy” hydration while also limiting generation of abnormal collagen.
The top layer of skin conserves water also acts as a disease barrier. Skin injury severely disrupts this function. The next phase of recovery is creation of new top skin (epidermis). Replenishing water content of the skin is vital during this phase. Essential fatty acids restore the lipid biolayer and supply moisture to the developing epidermis. Dimethicone also traps water. The resulting increased moisture promotes faster and enhanced scar healing. Scar treatments containing alcohol should be avoided. Alcohol can dry skin that worsens scar healing.
The recently formed scar now begins to grow. This last scar recovery phase can last for two decades. Collagen fibers reorganize for a more powerful and durable scar. This may result in scar hardening and loss of elasticity. The scar can also become red, which may take up to several years to improve. Stable types of L-Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and specific vitamin C esters assist in reducing scar pigmentation by over 80%. Botanicals like licorice extract also helps reduce hyper-pigmentation. Essential fatty acids are vital for restoring normal skin elasticity in this phase.
As previously mentioned, complete scar healing can take as many as 2 decades. Because of this, we advise that you continue to use your scar treatment of choice until you stop seeing an improvement in the appearance of your scar.