Raised scars are typically classified as either keloid or hypertrophic scars. Both types are the result of excess collagen production, which tends to become piled up as firm fibrous lumps above the skin, which may become as large as a few centimeters. In most cases, the overgrowth stops after a period of time, and some will become flattened and a bit smaller over the course of years. Interestingly enough, those with darker hair and eyes (such as Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, African, Indian, and South Asian descent) tend to get these scars more often, for reasons that are not completely understood.
What Does a Keloid Look Like?
A keloid, sometimes referred to as a keloid scar, is a tough heaped-up scar that rises quite abruptly above the rest of the skin. It usually has a smooth top and a pink or purple color. Keloids are irregularly shaped and tend to enlarge progressively. Unlike scars, keloids do not regress over time (MedicineNet).
How are Keloids Treated?
According to Dr. Ellen Marmur, M.D., author of Simple Skin Beauty,Vbeam lasers, dermabrasion, and fractional laser surfacing help with keloids. It is important to note, however, that rarely will the scar diminish completely.
How each of these treatments work is also interesting:
- Vbeam lasers (3-5 treatments) are used to knock out the blood vessels infiltrating the scar, diminishing blood flow and hence redness to the area.
- Dermabrasion, coming in the form of CO2 or YAG:erbium lasers, actually removes the raised scar with heat, a type of cauterization.
- Fractional laser resurfacing (typically 3-4 treatments) removes any excess pigment from the area.
However, increasingly more people are interested in topical at-home treatments for keloids and other scars.
Why Do Amino Acids Help with Keloids?
There are a number of studies that show amino acids may help with keloids.
One study has shown that amino acids in specific concentrations help to promote the recovery of keloids.
- L-lysine 14%
- L-arginine 13%
- L-histidine 11%
- L-glutamine 11%
- L-threonine 9%
- L-isoleucine 8%
- L-aspartate 7%
- L-valine 6%
- L-proline 4%
- L-serine 3%
- L-tyrosine 1%
- Other materials 3%
The reason why amino acids may help with keloids deals with the inflammatory factor TGF-ß. The three forms of TGF-ß are thought to have different biological activities in wound healing. TGF-ß1 and TGF-ß2 are believed to promote fibrosis and scar formation, whereas TGF-ß3 has been shown to be either scar inducing or reducing, depending on the study (Plastic Surgery). TGF-ß3 binds to amino acids at one of its ends, suggesting that amino acids may help to regulate TGF-ß3, which in turn may prevent fibroblasts from becoming overly proliferated.
What Should I Avoid with Keloids?
A little-known tip: Avoid the application of vitamin E. It is well-known that vitamin E thins the blood, aiding in circulation. Unfortunately, this property of vitamin E may interfere with healing. According to a 2007 story in The New York Times, vitamin E was found not to have any healing properties by researchers at the University of Miami. In fact, in some cases, vitamin E induced contact dermatitis in patients, making matters worse.
Based on the aforementioned studies, using a formulation with amino acids on keloid scars may help to improve their appearance. We recommend HEFF: Hands Elbows Feet Formula, with 17 amino acids that may help the appearance of scarred tissue.