Hydration is the Key to Preventing Scars
For the most part we know how important it is to stay hydrated and that drinking plenty of water helps us to stay healthy and alive. What your may not know is that hydration also plays an essential role in the healing of wounds.
HOW HYDRATION IMPROVES WOUND HEALING
When you are wounded, healing begins immediately and progresses through predictable stages. Your body begins reacting to the injury almost as soon as the wound is open to the outside air. If you are under-hydrated or completely dehydrated, this will affect the way your body goes through the stages of healing.
The cellular oxygen delivery system relies on liquid transport mechanisms. With dehydration, a low amount of oxygen will be delivered to the injured tissues which will slow the healing process tremendously, especially with larger wounds. With a low amount of oxygen being delivered to the area you can expect the cut to take up to twice as long to heal. As reported in the British Journal for Dermatology, one of oxygen’s main functions is to create cellular energy. In order for a cell to reproduce and migrate, it must have a sufficient amount of energy. If new cells are not being created, a wound will not heal. Therefore, low levels of oxygen mean that the cells will be reproducing at a much slower rate and this, in turn, means a slower wound healing process. This is just one of the many ways that low hydration levels can affect wound healing.
LOW AMOUNTS OF NUTRIENTS
Another way that not receiving enough water can affect wound healing is that low amounts of essential nutrients will be delivered to the wounded area. During the first phase of wound healing, your body will seek to achieve hemostasis; the blood vessels constrict and seal themselves off to stop blood loss. Platelets begin forming clots, which stop any bleeding from the wound. It is after hemostasis is achieved that the blood vessels in the wounded area dilate, allowing essential nutrients into the area. These nutrients help the healing process immensely and they help fight infection. The influx of materials into the wound allows for injured cells to be removed. It is a helpful inflammatory response that is essential to the body’s natural response to trauma. It requires water to work.
A draining inefficiency is another way that low hydration levels can hurt the healing process. Having clear fluid come from a wound is a very normal occurance. It is the amount that your wound is draining that you will have to keep a close eye on. Because every wound is different concerning depth, location and type, wound drainage is specific to the wound. Even though a wound may be small, it may drain more depending on its location on the body. Liposuction incisions are very small yet they can produce a lot of fluid draining due to a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity.
According to the journal Wound Care Advisory, some drainage is usually a good thing. Most doctors will tell you that having your wounded area moist is extremely important to a healthy healing process. Water is vital in this stage of healing. If you allow your wound to dry out and become dehydrated, the drainage that your wound will experience will be unhealthy. If there is not enough moisture in the wound to create healthy drainage, infection could develop quickly.
Staying hydrated yourself keeps your wounds hydrated so that this stage of healing can also be completed without any problems. When you have a wound that has a serious amount of fluid buildup, this could be a sign of a serious complication, like infection. Just as there are several types of wounds with different types of drainage, every wound is subjected to unique outside conditions. This is another factor to consider when your wound is healing. Consult with your doctor if you think you might be having a problem with wound drainage during your healing process.
KEEPING YOUR SCAR HYDRATED
Once your wound is healed and a scar is formed, keeping it hydrated is also extremely important, especially if you are attempting to reduce the appearance of your scar. Keeping your wound hydrated will help your body produce a more flexible scar that is able to be reduced in the future.
The skin of newly formed scars is very immature, and often allows too much water to evaporate through the skin. When the body senses this excessive moisture loss, it triggers the production of more collagen to “plug the leak” so to speak. This extra collagen can rise up above the level of surrounding skin and cause lumpy, raised scars. It can take a full six months for a scar to become normal, waterproof skin.
Silicone gel and strips are used on newly formed scars to create a layer over the scar that helps trap the excess water loss, keeping the skin hydrated and preventing the need for more collagen production. The scar matures flat and soft.
HOW TO REDUCE EXISTING RAISED SCARS
If you have a scar that is red, raised, lumpy or hard, it can be treated. Clinical studies show that silicone gel or strips used consistently for 3 months can fade, flatten and soften existing scars, as well as relieve pain and itch associated with the scar.
Newgel+ is the leading brand in silicone scar reduction treatments, and they offer several options that will help you prevent abnormal scar formation or improve the appearance of noticeable scars. Newgel+ has many reviews from past patients and physicians who have used their products and physicians that recommend it which demonstrate a great track record of getting patients the results they want. It is never too late to begin scar reduction treatment, however starting treatment too early (when the wound is still open) could hurt your wound. Again, be sure to speak with your doctor about an appropriate time to begin treating your scar to get the best results.