Scarring is the body’s response to trauma and is a part of the natural healing process. There are different types of scars depending on the cause and severity of injury.
Scars produced from minor cuts and scrapes will fade gradually over time, while more serious scars, like ones caused by serious accidents, burns, surgery, acne and body piercing, can lead to reddened skin and dark raised scars.
WHILE ALL SURGICAL INCISIONS WILL LEAVE A SCAR, IT IS POSSIBLE TO IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF THE SCAR SO THAT IT IS BARELY NOTICEABLE. EARLY TREATMENT, AS SOON AS 10-14 DAYS AFTER SURGERY, IS RECOMMENDED TO PREVENT UNWANTED SCAR FORMATION AND TO HELP YOUR SCAR BECOME AS FLAT AND SOFT AND LIGHT AS POSSIBLE.
We understand that all scars can be emotionally and physically distressing and believe that NewGel+ Advanced Silicone Gel products offer the best, most effective, non-invasive method to manage your scars.
HOW AND WHY DO SCARS FORM?
When skin is injured, the body produces a protein called collagen at the wound site to quickly mend and seal the wound. Unfortunately, when the body produces too much collagen, the result is a raised, discolored scar. Genetics, ethnicity, age, location of scar and severity of injury may all have an impact on scar healing.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SCARS?
There are many different types of scars:
- RED, DARK AND/OR RAISED SCARS are further classified as either hypertrophic or keloid and can be treated with NewGel+.
HYPERTROPHIC SCARS are raised and red. Children and those with fair complexions and/or rosacea are especially prone to hypertrophic scarring.
KELOID SCARS continue growing past the original scar boundaries, with a raised and often lumpy appearance. Left untreated, keloid scars can continue to thicken and grow indefinitely. Skin with darker pigmentation is more prone to keloid formation.
- SUNKEN OR "ATROPHIC" SCARS are depressed and cause a hole in the skin. Acne scars and pox marks are examples of sunken scars. Unfortunately,no topical treatments are effective in raising sunken scars. It is best to treat resolving scars such as acne scars early before they sink, while they are still red.
- FLAT AND PALE SCARS start as red and raised but naturally fade over time. NewGel+ can speed improvement.
- STRETCHED SCARS are caused when the skin around the scar is stretched during the healing process. Stretch marks created during pregnancy are an example of this type of scar.
Many scars of all types are painful, itchy and tight feeling. Silicone gel and sheeting like NewGel+ has been proven to improve these symptoms.
HOW CAN I PREVENT OR MINIMIZE SCARRING?
NewGel+ and NewGel+E are formulated specifically to help prevent bad scarring in new scars. Begin applying as soon as recommended, usually no sooner than 10-14 days post-surgery or injury.
Below is some common advice given to patients before surgery. Be sure to ask your doctor for his or her specific recommendations for you:
2-4 WEEKS BEFORE SURGERY:
- Eat a well-balanced diet including many fruits and vegetables.
- Some doctors recommend the following supplements for enhanced wound healing: vitamins A, C, D, K, all B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, calcium, and amino acids (L-arginine and L-glutamine). Please check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
- AVOID taking vitamin E supplements and aspirin, which may cause excessive bleeding.
- Stop smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the skin, resulting in poorer skin health.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink lots of water to ensure your body is fully hydrated before your surgery.
- Follow your doctor's post-op instructions exactly.
- If your incision is covered with steri-strips or paper tape, leave it on as long as directed. These both provide support and reduce tension on the incision.
- Keep the incision area clean and dry to help prevent infection or inflammation, both of which can have a negative effect on scar appearance.
- Stop smoking for at least two weeks after surgery. Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the skin, and has a negative effect on wound healing.
- Avoid exposing your scar to sunlight. The sun can cause hyperpigmentation to form in unprotected scars. Once formed, this brown discoloration may be permanent. Sunscreens that come in a fat lip balm type tube are excellent for applying sunscreen quickly over your scar, and they are convenient to carry for frequent reapplication.
Avoid applying pure vitamin E capsules or any other topicals to your scar unless cleared by your doctor. Pure vitamin E has been shown in clinical studies to actually make scar appearance worse by causing irritation and inflammation. Other products with plant-based ingredients are also more prone to cause sensitivity and reactions than bioinert products such as silicone.
Once the wound is closed (10-14 days post-op), clinical studies (INTERNAL LINK) have shown that silicone gel and sheeting are considered the first-line therapy to manage and minimize scarring and are the only topical treatments recommended by the scar experts who create scar treatment guidelines for other doctors. Begin using NewGel+ sheeting, strips and shapes, or NewGel+E, once your incision has fully healed, with no bleeding, scabbing, or oozing.
HOW CAN I FLATTEN AND IMPROVE THE APPEARANCE OF MY OLDER SCAR?
NewGel+ and NewGel+E have been proven to reduce, flatten, smooth and fade existing scars. It is best to begin treatment as soon as possible after surgery or injury, but scars are not at full maturity for a year or more. It is possible to improve the appearane of already formed hypertrophic and keloid scars by using NewGel+ or NewGel+E for at least 90 days.
HOW OLD OF A SCAR IS TOO OLD TO SEE IMPROVEMENT?
One clinical study demonstrated some improvement in scars up to 4 years old with silicone gel treatment. Results will vary from individual to individual, and newer scars have a better chance of improvement, but it's always worth trying.