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Scars / Stretch Marks


Introduction
Prevention is easier and much less expensive than treatment to remove scars and stretch marks. Acne and pregnancy are the leading causes of unsightly marks. Neither of these negative looks will occur if only a bit of prevention is carried out.

Prevention
Pregnancy stretch marks along the lower torso and breasts occur more often with young mothers than older mothers because the skin attachment to the underlying muscle fascia is more intact. As we age, the skin gradually breaks away from the muscle. With increasing stretching of the skin during pregnancy in young mothers, tears occur rather than natural the attrition of skin/muscle connection that ‘fail’ during natural aging.

For pregnancy, prevention lies in twice daily application of Body Treatment and Face & Body Bar. Consistent use of those beginning with early pregnancy will reduce or eliminate the incidence of stretch marks. For those whose family history indicates a possibility of severe stretch marks, the use of Active Recovery: Body & Scalp Rx applied once daily (and left on) will usually succeed in reducing or eliminating the possibility.

For the face, prevention of scars during acne is a function of avoiding sunlight when taking antibiotics and retinoids. Best if you can avoid those altogether, especially benzoyl peroxide whose strong free radical activity results in very weak skin prone to scarring. The use of Face & Body Bar as a cleanser and 302 Acne Drops as a treatment (see ACNE) usually will prevent and correct the formation of scar tissue. The use of Acne Mist with its high concentration of ECGC from green tea can substitute for benzoyl peroxide in reducing bacterial effects associated with acne.

Recovery
For existing scars on the face, the use of Fraxel laser has had some success for many, but the results are not consistent enough to announce a breakthrough and the cost can be prohibitive (see Burns / Lasers for regimes).

Needling has been used in the past and for some that has had a positive effect, but often the treatment is hard to find and the results vary widely and can lead easily to infection.

Ultrasound is very effective and very safe and reasonable in cost. It works to break up the fibrotic deposit and propel compounds like Avogen™ to the location of the highly crosslinked fibrotic mass which act on those crosslinks. Ultrasound treatments can be used as part of a normal facial or when acne is present (see Procedures).

Massage and stimulation through topicals has varying success for facial scars, but usually requires more intensive work, especially as the age of the scars increases.

The use of exfoliation or dermabrasion to reduce scars is limited to the very surface. The attempt to eradicate scars through deep peeling can result, and often does, in more scarring. However, it is worthwhile to exfoliate at least once to see if the problem is merely on the surface. Continued exfoliation or continued dermabrasion can be quite counterproductive. The skin will rarely respond and the greater sun sensitivity these procedures create may add the unwanted element of pigmentation blotches to the mix.

Whether on the body or the face the scar usually needs to be addressed dermally as well as epidermally. Exfoliation or deep peels reach only the very upper levels of the problem, which often exists down into the dermis.

The use of Lightening Drops will benefit the dermis of the face (and the body) as will the Lightening: Décolleté & Hand for stretchmarks (not recommended though for the face). Every other day application is best, especially when alternated with either 302 Serum or 302 Drops (or 302 Acne Drops if acne is ongoing - see Acne). Cleanse with Face & Body Bar to complete the treatment.

The use of heat to help denature the scar and fragment it (115 deg F) is difficult to accomplish with very warm towels, and chemical agents capable of increasing the temperature of the skin are usually quite irritating. Ultrasound is quite effective in raising the temperature of the skin. The denaturing of the protein from heat may be followed by a period of exudation of that material from the skin surface, as happens following Fraxel laser treatments where the body ejects a great deal of fibrotic fragments. This ‘breakout’ period is normal and may be alleviated somewhat by the use of Acne Mist in home care.