Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Out of the Box: Fading and Treating Acne Scars

It’s a vicious cycle when you need to spackle on industrial strength makeup to hide zits, and then spend months covering up the dark spots until they fade. 
While many products claim to fade scars, what they do is mostly to prevent more melanin over-production in those areas, the effect of which will only become apparent over a few weeks. These products will typically contain some sort of Vitamin C derivative, licorice, and mulberry extract, etc.

Don’t get me wrong; that’s great. Whatever is soothing your skin and preventing further damage is great. It helps prevent the newer cells below from being impacted, which means your skin will look better as the old cells shed during the normal turnover cycle. But it isn’t really treating or fading your scar.

The only thing I’ve found to really target scar tissue formation, and which I’ve used for years, is:

 Hirudoid Gel or Hirudoid Cream by Medinova.

How it works?
Hirudoid contains mucopolysaccharide (MPS), which is similar to the body’s naturally occurring mucopolysaccharides. Since skin healing relies on the presence of MPS in the tissue, and scientific studies have shown that Hirudoid penetrates the skin far enough to deliver effective concentrations of MPS, it can do the following:
  • Improve blood flow (accelerates dissipation of tissue bruising, which occurs when you get a zit)
  • Promote tissue regeneration (increasing collagen and elastin fibres in the connective tissue matrix)
  • Improve moisture retention by increasing the hyaluronic acid content in your skin itself
  • Reduce swelling and inflammation
  • Soften scar tissue
Plus, it’s readily available at most drugstores, safe for general use, inexpensive, and scientifically proven to be effective. (By that I mean it has not been merely tested “in vitro” or on 9 women, as so many expensive serums are.)

The Cons?
I don’t find it to be that effective on old scars. It also stings when applied on broken skin. But then it’s not supposed to be applied on fresh wounds anyway. I just can’t resist trying to kick-start the healing as early as possible.

For me?
Sometimes, you just need a few items in your kit that are totally free of all the Marketing BS we get from high-end brands touting miracle potions and creams with mysterious patented ingredients (I’m sure they spend as much money and time trademarking those names as they do researching the actual ingredients) and no substantiation of just what and how the various compounds or chemicals within actually treat your skin.

Hirudoid minimizes the darkness and severity of acne marks if I apply it a couple of times daily when the zit is still around, and continues to speed up healing and fading after that. I generally don’t get raised scars on my face, so I can’t speak on that regard, but I’ve managed to use it on cuts and scabs on my legs from scrapes and falls, and it does help to ensure your scars are faint, and not so pitted or raised. 

I also use it on bruises, insect bites, after getting caught in too much sun, and any other occasion where skin inflammation occurs.

Given it’s humectant, repairing and soothing properties, I’m considering getting the cream formula as an anti-aging treatment, but I’m not sure if it’d do anything if you don’t have any inflammation or scars to treat. Still, it’s not an expensive experiment, so if I do that I will post an update.

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