Articles Related to Scarfade:
- The Basics of Scars
- About Acne Scars and Their Treatment
- Scar Info
- Questions to Ask When Choosing a Non-Surgical Scar Removal Treatment
- Keliod Scars - Interesting Facts
- Types of Scars and Their Treatments
- Various Scar Revision and Scar Healing Methods
- The Use of Silicone Gels in the Treatment of Scars
The Basics of Scars
As part of the body’s process of healing itself, scars are a natural result of trauma to the skin. When the skin is broken, the body’s response is to produce collagen in the affected area. Collagen helps to heal the area which is a good thing, however often the body will overproduce collagen. When this happens, the result is a buildup or pile of excess collagen which results in a scar. Certain areas of the body may be more likely to form visible scars and certain skin types, such as darker skin are thought to be more prone to visible scarring.
In most cases, scars are not painful. For many, the problem with scars is in how they look rather than any associated discomfort. While smaller, narrower scars will often heal neatly and fade over time, larger more unsightly scars often form as a result of wider wounds.
To many, visible scars are not an issue. To others however, they may be an unwanted reminder of an unpleasant event. Scars generally only need to be treated if they are either painful (physically or emotionally) or if they are bothersome due to their appearance. The rare scar may pose problems with mobility, for example if they form on an area such as a knee or elbow. But this is normally not a problem. There are several available medical treatments for scars, including surgical excision, steroid injections, laser treatment and cryosurgery.
For those that would rather not go through one of the available medical treatments, there are several topical products (creams, gels, sheets) available for the treatment of scars. These types of treatments are generally available without prescription from a physician. For topical treatments to be very effective, the scar should be active, meaning no more than 1 ½ to 2 years old. As is the case with other treatments, not all topical products are created equally. Those with silicone in them tend to perform the best. There have been numerous published studies showing that silicone based products are effective in scar remodeling. Also important to note is that these products won’t have the same effect on all scars. Factors such as skin type, scar type, scar location and scar size all play a roll in how effective they will be. For example, pitted scars such as those often associated with acne or chicken pox, are not good candidates for treatment with topical products.
Scarfade Scar Gel from Hanson Medical is one of the leading silicone scar treatments available. It has been around for several years and is recommended by plastic surgeons and other physicians to their patients. Scarfade has been used in published studies substantiating the effectiveness of silicone based products.
About Acne Scars and Their Treatment
As if dealing with the stress and discomfort of acne weren’t enough, those with serious acne are also faced with the reality of unsightly scarring. According to the Acne Resource Center Online (www.acne-resource.org), some 60 million Americans have active acne and some 20 million have it badly enough to cause some form of scarring.
If you have been following our previous articles, you are aware that scarring is the body’s natural response to trauma to the skin. In the case of acne scarring, there are two general types, those caused by increased tissue and those caused by tissue loss.
Scars caused by increased tissue are known as Keloid or Hypertrophic scars. These are enlarged skin overgrowths associated with the body’s overproduction of Collagen in response to skin injury. The excess Collagen builds up and forms firm, irregularly shaped raised scars.
Scars caused by loss of tissue are commonly referred to as Ice Pick Scars and are very similar to scars associated with Chicken Pox. These are scars that form an indentation or pit in the skin that may be quite deep or very shallow depending on the severity of the trauma to the skin. These Ice Pick scars are much more commonly caused by Acne than are Keloid or Hypertrophic scars.
There are several possible treatments for Acne scars. One should study the options carefully and discuss them with a qualified physician prior to making a decision. The best option for one person may not be the best option for the next person. Below I will briefly describe some of the more common treatements.
* Soft Tissue Fillers – Involves injecting either collagen or fat under the skin and or into the scar to fill them out and make them less noticeable. Results from this procedure are temporary and would therefore need to be repeated periodically to maintain the desired appearance.
* Laser Treatment – Involves the use of a YAG or CO2 laser to destroy the outer layers of skin. As the wound heals, new skin forms. After several treatments, the scars should appear less noticeable.
* Dermabrasion – Involves the use of a rapidly rotating wire brush to remove the top layer of skin. Surface scars may be erased using this procedure and deeper scars may be made less noticeable.
* Microdermabrasion – Involves the use of a device that blows crystals onto the scar. The crystals break down the scar. A vacuum that is part of the device then removes the crystals and skin cells. Results from this procedure are generally subtle and the scar may still be noticeable.
* Chemical Peels – Involve the application of a chemical cream or lotion on the affected area. After a period of time the chemical is removed and the old skin cells flake off. This allows the skin to regenerate and repair itself.
* Punch Grafts – Involves cutting the scar with a round sharp cookie cutter like tool. The tool comes in various sizes to treat different sized scars. Once the scar is cut out the surgeon will either pull the edges of the skin together and stitch it, or in some cases might take a skin graft and place it in the void left by the removed scar.
* Topical Treatments – Involves the application of a cream, gel or sheet to help shrink the size of the scar. This is only effective on raised Keloid or Hypertrophic scars. There is solid evidence that silicone based topical products can help reduce the size and intensity of raised scars. It is important to note that these types of products are generally only useful on newer, active scars.
The treatments listed above are by no means the only options available. It is always a good idea to enlist the advice of a qualified professional prior to making a decision. And it may be wise to speak with two or more such professionals in some cases.
If you have spent any time searching online for information on scars and scar treatment, you have likely been overwhelmed by the volume of information available. To help make the job of wading through all that information a bit easier, we recently submitted an article to this blog entitled “Questions to ask when choosing a non-surgical scar removal treatment”. In addition to that article we offer the following list of resources for those interested in more information:
American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) www.aad.org – The largest, most influential dermatological association. Here you can find information related to scars and scar treatment and even locate a member Dermatologist in your area.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) www.plasticsurgery.org – Established in 1931, this is the largest plastic surgery specialty organization in the world. It’s board certified members perform cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. On this website you can browse educational resources and locate board certified members in your area.
American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) www.asds.net – Founded in 1970, the ASDS and its 4,000 plus members are at the forefront of the development of safe, in-office procedures for diagnosing and treating skin conditions. On this website you can learn more about the specialty and locate member physicians by location.
American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) www.aafprs.org – Represents over 2,700 facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons throughout the world. A National Medical Specialty Society of the American Medical Association (AMA). AAFPRS members are board certified surgeons whose focus is surgery of the face, head, and neck. On this website you can browse educational information and locate members near you.
Hanson Medical Inc. (HMI) www.scarfade.com – Hanson Medical is the manufacturer of Scarfade Scar Gel, a physician recommended, FDA registered topical gel that helps to reduce the size and intensity of scars.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Non-Surgical Scar Removal Treatment
Have you ever done an internet search for products that help reduce scarring? If you have, you are painfully aware of the fact that there are an abundance of creams, gels, lotions and sheets on the market. One could literally spend days going through all the websites promoting products that claim to reduce scars, some of them making outrageous claims about their benefits.
How then does one wade through all of those websites and make the right decision? To be more specific, how does one avoid unnecessarily spending money on a useless product? I have developed the following list as a guide to help make the process a little easier. These are the five questions (in no particular order) I believe you should consider while making the decision as to which scar treatment product to purchase:
1. Is the manufacturer realistic in it’s claims regarding the product?
I believe firmly that if it sounds too good to be true, then it most likely is. In other words, I would be very skeptical of any product that makes broad, sweeping claims such as “this product heals all types of scars” or “this product heals all scars, regardless of how old they are”. I could be wrong and perhaps there is a product out there that can do all these things but I have done a ton of research on this market and my personal belief is that there is not.
2. Is the product backed by a satisfaction guarantee?
This is one way you will know if a company truly believes in the effectiveness of its product. A word of caution here: check out the guarantee closely. It should be clearly stated and without hassle. If there is a list of ridiculous conditions associated with it then it may turn out to be no guarantee at all. Most companies will announce their guarantee on their websites but if you are unsure, just give them a call.
3. Is the product backed by scientific studies?
Studies highlighting the effectiveness of the product are always a plus. Be careful here though. Look for studies published in professional journals or other reputable publications. Anybody can mock up a study to make their product look good however it is likely difficult to get a bogus study printed in a reputable publication. Another plus is a double blind study, where the participants are using the product being studied along with a placebo and they are unaware which is the real product and which is the Placebo.
4. What are the main ingredients of the product?
I would take a close look at the ingredients and find out if there is any evidence that the ingredients listed are effective for scar treatment. To my knowledge, silicone is the most proven ingredient for scar treatment.
5. Is the product recommended by physicians?
If possible, find out if the product is recommended by physicians. Plastic Surgeons in particular will recommend scar treatment products to their patients and it is in their best interest to recommend effective products. After all, Plastic Surgery is a image conscience industry.
So, now you have my list. A product wouldn’t necessarily have to meet all of the criteria established in the list to qualify as worthy. The list is simply designed to give you some guidelines to think about and help you make a more informed decision. There are some very legitimate, effective products on the market and the right product for one may not be the best for another. Best of luck finding the best product for you.
Keloid Scars - Interesting Facts
A scar is the result of the body’s natural response to trauma to the skin. There are many types of scars . In this article we will focus on Keloidal Scars (Keloids). A Keloid is an abnormal scar that grows beyond the original site of trauma to the skin. These scars occur when Fibroblasts over produce collagen. The resulting thick, rubbery nodules are often very itchy and or painful. In some cases they might even affect movement, especially when they occur on or near a joint.
Keloidal Scars can occur anywhere on the body to persons of all ages. That said, they are less common among children under the age of 11 and they appear to be most common among people with darker colored skin. They can result from any form of trauma to the skin such as pimples, burns, surgeries, insect bites, etc. It is believed that the tendency to form these unsightly scars is hereditary. For those that are prone to developing Keloidal Scars a preventive approach is recommended. Specifically, avoiding unnecessary risks such as ear piercing and tattoos would be wise.
While it is not entirely known how or why Keloids form, studies are being done to help experts gain a better understanding in hopes that such knowledge will lead to more effective treatments. Currently there is no treatment for Keloids that is considered to be 100% effective. There are however several treatment options available that can be effective depending on the specific circumstances. It is important to note that invasive treatments, such as surgery involve the risk of the scar returning and becoming more prominent than it originally was.
* Excision – Involves the use of a round, sharp, cookie cutter like tool. The tool comes in various sizes so the physician can match it to the size of the scar he or she is treating. Following anesthesia, the scar is removed and the edges of the skin are pulled together & sutured.
* Cryosurgery – Involves use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the scar off. Immediately after being applied to the scar, cell death begins.
* Radiation – Usually only used in the most extreme of cases.
* Steroid Injections – Injection of steroids directly into the scar tissue. The treatment is usually repeated once a month or so until maximum results are achieved. Steroids may help decrease the size of the scar but in some cases may also make it appear more red due to stimulation of blood vessels.
* Laser Treatment – Involves using high energy light to remove or remodel unwanted or damaged skin, layer by layer. With this procedure full results may not be seen for several weeks. Theoretically during this time collagen in the skin will remodel and smooth out the surface of the scar.
* Over the Counter Creams Gels and Sheets – There are numerous over the counter products available for the treatment of scars, some of them claiming to remove scars in as little as a few days or weeks. While there is evidence suggesting that some of these products work, it is important to do a littler research prior to spending your hard earned money on one of them. Some of them are legitimate treatment products while others are copy cat products designed to make a quick buck for their manufacturers.
Types of Scars and Their Treatments
If you have been following our blog entries you know that scars are a natural result of the body’s efforts to heal trauma to the skin. Scars can take many forms depending on several factors such as their cause, the area of the body in which they are located, skin type, etc. In this article we will examine three of the more common types of scars and some of the scar treatment options available for them.
* Keloid Scars – These are thick, irregular areas of fibrous scar tissue that extend beyond the edges or borders of a wound. They are often red and can be quite painful or itchy. Keloids are caused by an overproduction of collagen that the body produces following trauma to the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body but are particularly common on the earlobes. They tend to occur more often in dark skinned individuals, and may develop as long as a year after injury to the skin. Recurrence after treatment to these scars is fairly common. Following are some of the treatments available:
* Surgery – There are several types of surgical procedures available for treating Keloid scars. One involves removing the scar via an incision and placing stitches to help close the wound. In some cases skin grafts are utilized. This involves taking healthy skin from another area of the body and attaching it to area in need of skin. Laser surgery may also be employed to help smooth a scar, remove its discoloration or flatten it.
* Cryotherapy – Involves use of liquid nitrogen to freeze the scar off. Immediately after being applied to the scar, cell death begins.
* Steroid Injections – Involves injection of steroids directly into the scar. The treatment is usually repeated once a month or so until maximum results are achieved. Steroids may help decrease the size of the scar but in some cases may also make it appear more red due to stimulation of blood vessels.
* Hypertrophic Scars – These scars are similar to Keloid scars, with the difference being that they don’t grow beyond the boundaries of the original wound. These scars may be discolored (red or dark), and are usually very thick and raised above the surrounding skin. Hypertrophic scars usually begin developing shortly after trauma to the skin. The common treatment options for Hypertrophic scars are as follows:
* Surgery – See the above section on treating Keloid scars, as the surgery options are essentially the same for Hypertrophic scars.
* Steroid Injections – See the above section on treating Keloid scars as Steroid Injections are discussed there.
* Acne Scars – Acne scars are often depressed or pitted because the damage to the skin is within the dermis. For this reason, acne scarring is very difficult to improve. Some of the possible treatments are:
* Punch Excision – A surgical procedure most often used on deeper acne scars that involves the use of a round, sharp, cookie cutter like tool. The tool comes in various sizes so the physician can match the tool to the size of the scar he or she is treating. Following anesthesia the scar is removed and the edges of the skin are pulled together and sutured. Over time the resulting new scar should fade and become less noticeable. If the new scar is still too noticeable, it can be treated via another method.
* Dermal Fillers – Fillers such as fat, bovine collagen, human collagen, hyaluronic acid derivatives, etc. can be injected into the scar to raise the surface of the skin, leaving a smoother look. The problem with fillers is that the treated areas will likely eventually need repeat injections since the fillers break down over time.
There are numerous other treatments that we didn’t cover in this article. There really is no clear best bet scar treatment for all scars. Rather, the best solution differs depending on the circumstances. In some cases a combination of different treatments may be used. For example, a punch excision and skin graft are often used in combination in the treatment of acne scars.
Various Scar Revision and Scar Healing Methods
Scars are caused by trauma to the deep thick layer of skin called the Dermis. They are the natural result of the body’s attempt to heal areas of trauma caused by surgery or injury. The more the skin is damaged and the longer it takes to heal, the greater the chance of a noticeable scar. Abnormal scars result when the body overproduces collagen, causing the scar to be raised above the surrounding skin. The shape and severity of the scar are also determined in part by factors such as age of individual, location of trauma to the skin and the individual’s skin type. Some types of skin are simply more prone to scarring than others.
Some scars may improve on their own over a relatively extended period of time (6-12 months) while others will remain unsightly without some form of treatment. For many of us that is no big deal but for others it is a more serious concern. There are several methods for treating scars that may or may not be effective depending on the size, severity and age of the scar. For the purposes of this article, we will briefly discuss some of the most popular scar treatment methods available.
* Surgical Scar Revision – Involves surgically removing the scar and rejoining the skin in such a way that it is not as obvious. While it can offer improvement for some scars, it generally cannot get rid of them entirely and will still leave a mark, albeit less obvious than the original scar. This method works best for very wide or long scars.
* Dermabrasion – Involves using an abrasive electric tool to remove layers of skin, hopefully leaving a more even, less noticeable contour. This procedure may be performed under local anesthetic and patients should be able to return to work very quickly.
* Laser Resurfacing – Involves using high energy light to remove or remodel unwanted or damaged skin, layer by layer. With this procedure full results may not be seen for several weeks. Theoretically during this time collagen in the skin will remodel and smooth out the surface of the scar.
* Chemical Peels – Involves the use of acids to remove the top, scarred layer of skin, theoretically allowing healthy new skin to develop.
* Over the Counter Creams and Gels – There are numerous over the counter products available for the treatment of scars, some of them claiming to remove scars in as little as a few days or weeks. While there is evidence suggesting that some of these products work, it is important to do a littler research prior to spending your hard earned money on one of them. Some of them are legitimate treatment products while others are copy cat products designed to make a quick buck for their manufacturers.
At Hanson Medical, we have spent over 12 years helping physicians and their patients treat scars. Our product is backed by clinical data and our no questions asked money back guarantee.
The Use of Silicone Gels in the Treatment of Scars
Scars are caused by trauma to the deep thick layer of skin called the Dermis. They are
While there are no formal studies I know of that would confirm the numbers, estimates from some in the medical community suggest that perhaps 100 million or more individuals throughout the world develop scars each year. Of course scars differ widely in their characteristics and thus their effects on individual patients. In some cases they pose no problems at all, while in others their effects can be more troubling. These effects may include pain, itching, anxiety, sleep disturbance, depression and diminished self esteem.
Despite all of this, there are limited viable options available for effectively treating scars. That is not to say there is a lack of products on the market claiming to heal scars. On the contrary, an internet search of the topic will reveal page after page of products claiming to heal any and all types of scars, regardless of their characteristics. But, most of these products offer no legitimate published studies to substantiate their claims. I have researched the topic extensively and as far as I can tell, the only scar treatment products proven effective in published medical studies are topical silicones in the form of sheets or spredeable gels.
Silicone sheets have long been an accepted form of effective scar treatment by the medical community, particularly by plastic and cosmetic surgeons. While medical studies confirm their effectiveness, there are some drawbacks to this form of treatment. Specifically, they are cumbersome to keep fixed to the scar site, they are unsightly when used on scars not covered by clothing, and in some cases they may cause irritation of the skin particularly in warmer climates where extreme perspiration may occur. Due to these drawbacks, patient compliance can become an issue. In other words, the sheets are not worn consistently throughout a course of treatment causing their benefits to not be fully realized.
The more recent development of silicone gel in a spreadable form is a viable answer to the problems mentioned above. These gels come in a tube and are applied like a cream. They are massaged onto the scar site a couple of times per day and once applied are generally invisible and more comfortable for the user. In addition, cosmetics or sunscreen can be applied on top of the gel. Studies have shown these gels to be effective on par with silicone sheets and patient compliance appears to be easier to achieve.
It should be noted that while several topical treatments are available on the market, they contain varying degrees of the key ingredient, silicone. Some have no silicone at all while others are nearly all silicone. One should be careful to check that the product they select is composed primarily of silicone. It is ok and perhaps good for there to be a small percentage of other ingredients such as Vitamins, Sunscreens or Co-Enzyme Q10 as well.