Scar Wars Pharmaceutical versus Cosmeceutical
'Will there be a scar?" and 'What can I put on my scar to fade it?" are two of the most common questions asked of a dermatologist, particularly after dermatologic surgery.
A cutaneous scar results from exaggerated overgrowth of fibrous tissue following injury to the skin, often after dermatologic surgery to remove a benign or malignant skin lesion. Proportionate to the level of exaggerated scar tissue production, abnormal scars may be either hypertrophic (the scar does not extend beyond the wound borders) or keloid (the scar extends beyond the wound borders). Keloidal scars are associated with greater physical and psychological symptoms and represent the greatest challenge in treatment.
In this presentation, hypertrophic and keloid scarring are reviewed, as well as the methods of reducing the risk of these unfavourable outcomes following dermatologic surgery. Current and evolving pharmacologic therapies are reviewed. In addition, over-the-counter scar products for post dermatologic surgery patients are critically reviewed. Ingredients such as silicone, vitamin E and onion extract are marketed as being of great benefit to consumers in improving scars. The practical information about OTC scar products and published efficacy data will enable dermatologists to counsel their patients about post-surgical product use and counter exaggerated marketing claims frequently encountered in the print and television media.
By Dr Phillip Artemi