Take Early Action on your Scars
Prof Bayat talks us through the scarring process.
Cutaneous healing (the forming of scabs and subsequent scars) is a significant biological process that is critical to the survival of humans and all living organisms. The repair process of our skin, despite years of evolution still remains the same and is executed in such brilliance and precision to perform a quick and dirty repair (albeit not scarless!) as soon as feasible after injury in order to get you back on your feet and ready to fight another day.
Evolution, in very simple terms, is not interested in skin regeneration as it only (selfishly) needs you and I to perform what it needs us to do; i.e. to provide an offspring and maintain the propagation of the species. So within seconds, of surgery or accidental injury to the body, the process of repair begins to unfold and unleash its timely orchestrated cellular agents and mediators to accomplish its intended tasks of coagulation (blood clotting) and early inflammation to prevent excessive bleeding and entry of pathogenic invaders.
We certainly need these early inflammatory mediators to ward off infection and recruit relevant cellular mediators to get the repair process started.
However, one cell type that is particularly interesting is the “mast cell”. In your skin – day to day – mast cells are everywhere. Even in intact uninjured skin, mast cells like to hang around nerves and blood vessels and carry a cargo fully loaded with vesicles packed with inflammatory mediators.
After any trauma to the skin, mast cells explode in numbers and by week one, they increase from a mere 30% in uninjured skin to nearly 300%.
Some of the key mediators released by mast cells at the site of injury promote proinflammatory cytokines and further attract and invite more unwanted inflammatory cells, making the skin and wound red and inflamed.
Our research has revealed that mast cells often don’t just do their job and clear off, they continue to stalk the healing wound and are shown to be present weeks after injury and their numbers often don’t return to normal values seen in uninjured skin even after 8 weeks post-surgery or injury – meaning your wound could remained inflamed, red and sore.
Moreover, it turns out, mast cells are more than a mere nuisance and unnecessarily contribute to prolonging the ongoing inflammatory process in a healing cutaneous wound. Interestingly, in scarless healing it has been shown that significantly lower numbers of mast cells are involved. As we recently demonstrated in our latest study, these cells tend to degranulate and release their cargo onto the unsuspecting healing wound. As a result of this off loading, the inflammatory process becomes prolonged and procrastinated as demonstrated below in our double blind randomised clinical trial in 62 human volunteers.
The solution we conclude is to reduce the total numbers of mast cells post wounding in order to reduce their impact (as mast cells don’t seem to be critical in the early stages of the healing process and with a few of them gone missing, no one wants to complain!). By doing this, we end up with less inflammation meaning less redness in the healing wound/ ensuing scar and ultimately reduced scar thickness, as evidenced in the trial below. We demonstrated these phenomena by clinically testing Solution for Scars against a placebo. The unique formulation containing EGCG is shown clearly in the study seen below to significantly reduce mast cell quantity and alter the course of cutaneous healing and in turn the outcome of your scar.
Therefore, it goes without saying, that it is best to act early. By applying Solution for Scars – you can target mast cells from the day of injury or surgery, helping to reduce the mast cell activity and in turn reduce the redness and thickness of the scar formed.
The results of the trial entitled “A double-blind randomised trial demonstrates the role of zonal priming and direct topical application of epigallocatechin-3-gallate in modulation of cutaneous scarring in human skin” are now available on line and published in the August edition of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.