“Children are at risk of getting skin cancer due to the strong sun rays. They are not immune from getting cancer just because they are young. While rare, melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer in younger patients and affects mostly teenagers. ...

Scars and Spots blog - 5 new articles

Pediatric Sun Exposure – Tips from St. Jude to Protect Your Child

“Children are at risk of getting skin cancer due to the strong sun rays. They are not immune from getting cancer just because they are young. While rare, melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer in younger patients and affects mostly teenagers. If diagnosed early, it can be treated effectively.” said Alberto Pappo, M.D., director of the Solid Tumor Division at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Simple and Effective Tips to Protect Children

  • Try to Avoid Going Outdoors When Sun’s Rays are the Strongest – Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., children should avoid direct UV rays as best possible.
  • For Infants Younger than 6 Months of Age, No Sun at All is Best – They can be at the beach or outdoors this summer, but need to be covered up, have on a hat and cover up their neck and extremities. It is best to avoid sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old because they can get significantly more exposure to the chemicals in sunscreen compared to older patients.
  • Use of Sunscreen to Prevent Sunburns – Sunscreen should be broad spectrum (effective against both UVA and UVB rays) and at least 15 SPF, although there is little evidence that anything above 50 SPF provides additional protective effects.
  • Regular Reapplication of Sunscreen is Necessary – Water-resistant sunscreen does NOT mean it should be applied only once. No more than a couple of hours should pass between applications, especially if one is sweating and in and out of the water.
  • Avoid Tanning Beds – The increase in melanoma among teenagers is partly due to their use of tanning beds. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that indoor tanning beds increase melanoma risk 75 percent in people who begin using them before the age of 30.
  • Early Diagnosis is Key – If a child has a mole, parents should make their pediatrician aware as soon as possible. Early identification and removal of melanoma is critical. If caught early, chances for survival are significantly higher. Early detection also means less invasive surgical procedures may be necessary, as well as a smaller chance of the tumor spreading.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a leader in pediatric melanoma research and treatment. St. Jude provides treatment and second opinions for patients with pediatric melanoma around the country and beyond. Each year, the St. Jude Pediatric and Adolescent Melanoma Referral Clinic brings patients and families to St. Jude for two days of expert consultation, as well as medical examinations by leading specialists, educational seminars and an introduction to melanoma-related resources.

More from Scars & Spots’ blog:
Can a Sunburn Cause Scarring?
How Does the Sun Affect Scars?
Can a Tanning Bed Help Heal Scars or Acne?

The post Pediatric Sun Exposure – Tips from St. Jude to Protect Your Child appeared first on Scars and Spots.




How to Get Rid of Scars Fast

There’s good news and bad news for those who are trying to get rid of scars fast.

The skin is a seamless organ, smooth and soft; as such, its appearance can be altered significantly by even a minor scar.

Usually, scars aren’t a big deal when they are small or easily hidden under clothes. However, when a scar is larger or visible even when you’re wearing clothes, you most likely want to find a way to treat it and help it go away as quickly as possible.

The bad news is that there’s no way to get rid of a scar “quickly;” scars take time to fade and, even then, most scars are permanent and will never completely disappear. Scarring is a natural part of the healing process following an injury, and the way your scar heals depends on many factors including the size and depth of the wound, your age, your ethnicity, and more.

The good news, however, is that there are things you can do to help your scar become flatter, lighter, and generally much less noticeable.

Types of Scars

There are several different types of scars that tend to heal differently.

  • Keloid scars: Keloid scars are the result of the body healing itself in an overly aggressive way. These scars extend beyond the boundaries of the original injury. A keloid scar may become so large that it hampers movement. Treatments for these range from topical products that contain silicone to steroid injections and even scar revision surgery.
  • Contracture scars: These scars are often the result of burns. The skin tightens as the scar forms, potentially impairing your ability to move. Contracture scars can also affect nerves and muscles.
  • Hypertrophic scars: These are raised, red scars are similar to keloid scars, but they don’t extend beyond the original injury site.
  • Acne scars: Acne can cause different types of scars, including deep pits to angular or wavelike scars. Treatment options depend on the type of scar, among other factors.

Scar Treatments that Work

How long it will take your scar to fade depends on what type of scar it is, among other things. But no matter what your scar is like, what type of skin you have, or how old the scar is, there are still things you can do to help it lighten and become less visible – over time and with patience.

A scar cream designed to soften and fade scars can work wonders, particularly a product that contains vitamin C, aloe vera, licorice, and silicone. Steer clear of products that contain hydroquinone, kojic acid, and vitamin E – all ingredients that don’t help scars fade and may even make them worse or cause skin irritation.

Also, be sure to make lifestyle choices that help your body’s natural healing process. Keep your scar protected from the sun at all times; drink plenty of water; and eat a healthy diet. Exercise and massage can also help with blood circulation, which brings more healing oxygen to the scar.

Scars simply don’t fade overnight. But with patience and some strategic actions, you can help just about any scar become flatter, lighter, and less noticeable.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

The post How to Get Rid of Scars Fast appeared first on Scars and Spots.




How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal?

There are several different types of scars that result from an injury and among them is the hypertrophic scar.

The hypertrophic scar varies somewhat from other scars in that its appearance tends to be red and elevated. They can also be itchy or even painful. However, unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars stay within the boundaries of the initial area of injury.

Hypertrophic scars tend to start developing within the weeks following an injury, and they may continue to redden and thicken for months. Their raised appearance can improve with consistent scar massage over the course of several months. However, depending on the severity of the scar and the nature of its origin, it can take a year or even longer for the scar to begin to flatten and fade.

What Causes Hypertrophic Scars?

All scars are caused by some type of injury to the skin, whether the injury is elective (as in surgery or piercing) or accidental. Everyday occurrences known for causing hypertrophic scars include burns, cuts, and body piercings. Hypertrophic scars are typically the result of an injury to the deeper layers of skin or the dermis. The reason they become elevated is that the body creates excess amounts of collagen to repair the damaged skin.

How to Treat Hypertrophic Scars

Although hypertrophic scars can improve somewhat over time on their own, it’s worth doing what you can to aid the process because the process can take a long time, as mentioned above. Also, hypertrophic scars located close to joints may restrict movement.

For topical treatments, look for ingredients such as aloe vera (to combat inflammation), dimethicone silicone (to increase elasticity and flatten the scar), licorice root extract and vitamin C (to fade the discoloration.) Avoid hydroquinone and kojic acid (all of which are potentially harmful and might worsen rather than improve the scar), as well as Vitamin E, while good for anti-aging, is not good for scars.

When using a topical treatment know that it requires an exercise in patience. There is no overnight or quick cure. It will take several months before you begin to see results. You’ll need to employ scar massage when applying your scar treatment twice daily. Scar massage will help to flatten the elevation of your scar.

More invasive treatments are available as well for stubborn hypertrophic scars. These treatments include scar revision surgery, steroid injections, and laser therapy, to name just a few. However, topical treatments are a good first resort and are often highly successful all by themselves.

There are some things to keep in mind to make improvements in the appearance of any scar, including the new scar created by scar revision surgery. You should avoid sun exposure, which can permanently darken any scar; also, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water, both of which keep the body in optimal health and its healing capabilities functioning at their best.

Exercise gets the blood pumping healing oxygen to the site of the scar and throughout the body. Massaging the scar and the skin around the scar can also help with circulation and stimulate the body’s healing action. Keeping a scar moisturized will also help, and may even help with the itching often associated with hypertrophic scars.

Take heart; hypertrophic scars may by frustrating, but with time and proper treatment, they are likely to shrink and fade significantly.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

The post How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal? appeared first on Scars and Spots.




My Scar Won’t Stop Itching, Is This Normal?

Is It Normal for My Scar to Itch?

A wound can be inflicted in an instant. But the recovery process is never quite so quick. There are many reasons you may have a scar, ranging from an accident to a skin disease to recent surgery. Beyond that, there are a variety of different kinds of scars, each with a slightly different road to full recovery. But one fairly widespread symptom of a recent scar that may affect you, regardless of how you acquired your scar or what type it may be, is itching. This is most common for burn victims or others suffering from keloid scars. However, itching is known to be an issue for many other forms of scarring as well.

A study in Texas several years back revealed that as many as 87 percent of burn victims experience itchiness. Of those, 96 percent have three or more itching attacks per day. Conversely, more than half of these attacks last more than thirty minutes. So if you are suffering from such attacks, know that you are not alone and that the itchiness will slowly deteriorate over time.

So why does your scar itch in the first place? There are several possible reasons. For starters, itching is a normal part of the healing process, so if a newer scar itches, it may very well stop as it heals further. Itching in an older scar can mean that there was damage to the nerve endings. Also, itching can simply be due to dry skin. Scars need to be moisturized for optimal healing and being diligent with this step can also improve itching dramatically.

So Is It Okay for Me to Scratch My Itchy Scar?

The answer to this question is highly dependent on the nature of your scar and how you acquired it. If it is a recent wound, just like with any scab, scratching can cause the wound to reopen, which lengthens the time of recovery and increases the chances of permanent scarring. Scratching is risky because you end up scraping away the new tissue, setting back the healing process. Furthermore, if the wound is reopened, there is also the possibility of infection. In short, while scratching your itch may result in immediate alleviation of an annoyance, the potential ramifications far outweigh that relief.

When it comes to post-wound itching problems, you may be suffering from an acute itch, which lasts up to six months after the initial injury, or a chronic itch, which could last much longer. Since scratching has the potential to slow the healing process and a full recovery, the most effective solution is to resist the temptation and wait it out.

Some over-the-counter alternatives that may alleviate some of the discomfort include placing a damp towel or an ice pack on the scar or applying antihistamines. 

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

The post My Scar Won’t Stop Itching, Is This Normal? appeared first on Scars and Spots.




Can a Tanning Bed Help Heal Acne or Scars?

The relationship between tanning beds and acne is a complicated one. Many believe that tanning beds can help heal or reduce the appearance of acne, either because of the drying effect of tanning or because they think that tanning will “even out” the skin tone and make acne less visible. However, neither theory is based on scientific evidence, and both are misguided.

Read: Does Tanning Get Rid of Acne Scars?

Indeed, the reality of tanning beds is that there is no scientific evidence that they can help clear up acne. In fact, tanning beds are more likely to worsen the skin’s appearance by contributing to fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of premature aging. Furthermore, there is plenty of evidence that tanning beds (similar to outdoor sun exposure) can lead to skin cancer.

It’s true that there’s no shortage of anecdotal evidence that tanning improves the appearance of acne. However, the truth is that any improvement is highly temporary, because even though the darkening of the skin can mask the redness associated with acne, it does not heal the acne and as soon as the tan fades, the acne will still be there.

How Do Tanning Beds Affect Existing Scars?

Just as with acne, there seems to be a common belief that tanning beds can mask the appearance of existing scars. Many people use tanning beds in an attempt to darken the skin around the scar, camouflaging the scar and reducing its visibility. But how an individual scar will respond to tanning is unpredictable. A newer scar may become inflamed in response to UV rays and the result may be delayed healing or even a permanent darkening of the scar. Older scars may not tan at all, resulting in a stark white scar made even more visible next to the darker surrounding skin. In either case, the result is obviously not desirable.

Besides, tanning beds are simply not advisable due to the reasons mentioned above. They contribute to skin cancer and premature aging, and simply do not achieve what many hope for: clearer skin and less noticeable scars.

A Safer Option

A much safer and healthier option likely to yield better results than a tanning bed is the spray tan. The response of a scar to a spray tan is also difficult to predict, but a spray tan is more likely to achieve the desired result than a tanning bed. Also, you won’t be exposing yourself to harmful UV rays in the process. The masking effects of a spray tan on a scar may vary depending on the age of the scar, but in general, spray tans are less likely to worsen the appearance of the scar than tanning beds.

Read: How Does the Sun Affect Scars?

Keep in mind that a spray tan does not provide protection against the sun’s UV rays, so you should still use sunscreen when you go outdoors to protect your scar and the rest of your skin. Be sure to test a small, inconspicuous area of your skin to make sure you don’t have an undesirable reaction to the product.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

The post Can a Tanning Bed Help Heal Acne or Scars? appeared first on Scars and Spots.




More Recent Articles

Contact Us

Past Issues

Join This List


Safely Unsubscribe ArchivesPreferencesContactSubscribePrivacy