Congratulations on your new baby! Now that he or she is here, you’re probably wondering what to do next. You’ve spent the last 9 months tackling pregnancy but knowing what to do after giving birth is a whole new challenge. We want to make things easier for you by giving you a quick rundown on what you should do after giving birth; from what to pack in your diaper bag to getting your pre-baby body back!
NewGel+ for Scars
NewGel+ for Scars Blog
Rhinoplasty is often referred to as a "nose job" by patients. This procedure enhances facial harmony and the proportions of the nose. It can also correct impaired breathing caused by structural defects in the nose. Rhinoplasty is often used to correct nose width at the bridge, the size and position of the nostrils, nose profile with visible humps or depressions on the bridge, nasal tip that is enlarged or bulbous, drooping, upturned or hooked, nostrils that are large, wide or upturned, and nasal asymmetry.
Endometriosis is a painful disorder where the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows elsewhere in the abdominal cavity. Endometriosis most commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that manifests itself in many different ways and with varying symptoms. Known as a ‘woman’s disease’, over 90% of Lupus cases occur in females aged 15-44. Lupus is a disorder of the immune system, where antibodies literally attack the major organs in the body, including the heart, kidneys, brain, lungs, joints, and skin. It is a disease that is notoriously difficult to diagnose, due to the fact that its symptoms often mimic those of other diseases. 66% of those with lupus develop a skin condition.
A cleft palate is a birth defect that occurs when a baby’s lip or mouth does not form properly during pregnancy. The roof of the mouth (palate) is formed between the sixth and ninth weeks of pregnancy, and a cleft palate happens if the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth does not join together completely while the baby is in utero. For some babies, both the front and back parts of the palate are open, for others only part of the palate is open. This type of birth defect is commonly referred to as “orofacial clefts” by medical professionals. According to the CDC each year in the United States, about 2,650 babies are born with a cleft palate and 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate. Isolated orofacial clefts, or clefts that occur with no other major birth defects, are one of the most common types of birth defects in the United States. Depending on the cleft type, the rate of isolated orofacial clefts can vary from 50% to 80% of all clefts.
What Causes a Cleft Palate
The causes of a cleft palate are mostly still unknown by researchers and medical professionals. However there are theories that cleft palates are caused by a combination of genes and other factors like what the mother came into contact with, what she eats or drinks or certain medications she uses while pregnant. Recently, the CDC reported about some factors that can increase the chance of having a baby with a cleft palate:
- Smoking―Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with a cleft palate than women who do not smoke.
- Diabetes―Women with diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy have an increased risk of having a child with a cleft palate, compared to women who did not have diabetes.
- Use of certain medicines―Women who used certain medicines to treat epilepsy, such as topiramate or valproic acid, during the first trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy have an increased risk of having a baby with a cleft palate, compared to women who didn’t take these medicines.
Cleft Palate Surgery
Reconstructive surgery for a cleft palate is done when the child is between 9 months and 1 year old. The surgery is put off until this age because it allows the palate to change as the baby grows and will help prevent further speech problems as the child develops. The goal of cleft lip surgery is to close the separation in the lip and restore normal function, structure and appearance to the upper lip. During surgery incisions are made on either side of the cleft to create ﬂaps of tissue that are then drawn together and stitched to close the cleft.
The repair of a cleft palate requires repositioning of tissue and muscles to close the cleft and rebuild the roof of the mouth. Incisions are made on either side of the cleft and specialized ﬂap techniques are used to reposition muscle and the hard and soft components of the palate. The repair is then stitched closed, generally at the midline of the roof of the mouth, providing enough length of the palate to allow for normal feeding, speech development and continued growth throughout life. Cleft palate incisions can be closed with removable or absorbable sutures.
The resulting external scars of a cleft repair are generally positioned in the normal contours of the upper lip and nose. Over time, these scars will fade and the child's ability to grow and function normally will continue to improve.
After a child has had reconstructive cleft palate surgery it is important to keep the stitches clean and without crusting. Parents will be shown how to clean the suture line and apply ointment while in the hospital. It is important to keep the child from hurting the incision or putting hands or toys in their mouth during recovery. Children will typically wear arm restraints for up to 10 days after surgery to keep them from bending their elbows, gaining access to their mouth and disrupting the healing process. Children spend one night in the hospital and are discharged once they begin to drink an adequate amount of fluids.
NewGel+ offers a silicone gel for scars that has a soft and silky feel to it. This gel dries quickly which is a great bonus when using it on a child. The gel is not sticky and also has no odor. All of these qualities create a great combination product for children. There will be no provoking smell that makes the child want to wipe away the product and the smooth application of the gel will not make the child uncomfortable. This product is safe to use on children ages 2 and up. Over time, the gel will flatten, fade and reduce the appearance of the scar. It can be used on both old and new scars. If your child still has a scar from cleft palate surgery, you do not have to be worried about starting this process too late. This gel can be used at any time. If your child is under the age of 2, consult your physician or surgeon and use any scar product under their direction.
Every year, there are more discoveries being made concerning the science of skin and how to better heal wounds and reduce scarring. One of the currently popular techniques to reduce scarring is dermabrasion. This is a procedure that is often used in conjunction with topical or sheeting scar treatment options. In this article, we will outline and explain the way dermabrasion works.
What is dermabrasion?
Currently, dermabrasion is successfully being used to reduce pitted acne scars. Although several parts of the body are suitable for dermabrasion treatment, it is most ideally used for scars on the face. The results of the treatment on areas of the body other than the face are considered to be positive but not ideal. However, the results of dermabrasion on the face have been successful for many patients. Dermabrasion does not remove scars altogether, but significantly reduces the noticeability of them. Dermabrasion is considered a cosmetic procedure and is usually done on an outpatient basis with local anesthesia.
Dermabrasion is used on specific areas of the face. It is said to be used more often than other scar treatment — such as chemical peels and laser resurfacing — because it is less likely to cause any changes in pigment. When laser resurfacing and chemical peels are applied to parts of the face (as dermabrasion is) they tend to leave visible inconsistencies in texture and pigment of the skin. These inconsistencies can range from slight pigmentation changes to readily apparent lines between treated and untreated areas. Dermabrasion avoids such problems. The technique is such that imperfections are softened, and the result is a blended, integrated look.
Dermabrasion can also be much less costly than a chemical peel or laser resurfacing, especially because it can easily be used on only one area of the face rather than the entire face, as is the case with chemical peels. Chemical peels are usually performed on the entire face for a more uniform look and outcome.
How dermabrasion is performed
Dermabrasion is performed using a tool called a dermabrader. The tool consists of an electric handpiece with a high speed rotating brush. The brush rotates at varying speeds, removing the damaged area of the epidermis. It is a form of controlled injury which encourages the skin to heal with better texture and increased collagen production. The speed and depth of the treatment are controlled by the physician. Slight bleeding may occur during the dermabrasion, but it is unlikely, due to lack of blood vessels in the epidermis layer of the skin. If the dermabrader penetrates to the dermis layer, the patient will experience some bleeding.
For a full face procedure, the physician begins along the chin and works toward the center of the face. WIth this approach, the upper lip, mid-forehead and nose are the last areas to be abraded.
Cautions regarding dermabrasion
You may be unable to receive dermabrasion treatments if you have recently taken skin-thinning medications. Receiving this treatment while on such medications could cause excess bleeding and poor results. If you are considering the procedure, be sure to talk to your doctor about every medication that you take to ensure a safe treatment process.
There is a major disadvantage to the dermabrasion technique. Unlike chemical peels and laser resurfacing, which have predetermined strengths when applied to the face, dermabrasion treatments rely heavily on the skill of the physician performing the procedure. The results are very much operator dependent. The penetration is not pre-programmed, so if the physician giving the treatment uses a more forceful hand, the results will be very different than otherwise. Successful treatment relies on the physician's knowledge, skills and execution. Be sure to do thorough research before receiving dermabrasion. Going to a treatment center that is well-known and has positive reviews showing successful results (often in the form of before and after photos) is in your best interest as a patient.
What to use in conjunction with dermabrasion
Dermabrasion works well when paired with another scar reduction treatment, such as silicone gels or sheets. Newgel+ is a leading provider in scar reduction silicone products. They have a proven track record with their patients and offer medical grade products that work effectively. Their sheets and gels are all quite versatile and easily fit into the lives and routines of patients.
Silicone has been used for more than 30 years in the treatment of scars. In fact, an article published in the scholarly journal Aesthetic Plastic Surgery states that in the treatment arsenal at the disposal of the plastic surgeon, topical silicone therapy usually is considered the first line of treatment. Fortunately, silicone scar treatment products aren’t limited to use by plastic surgeons and other healthcare professionals; various silicone products are available to soften, flatten, and fade your scars from the comfort of your own home. But why does silicone work to heal scars? Keep reading to find out answers to these questions and more!
What Is Silicone
A common misconception is that silicone is an ingredient on its own, when in fact the term silicone refers to a combination of ingredients. Silicones are synthetic polymers made up of repeating units of siloxane (elemental silicon and oxygen) combined with other elements, most typically carbon and hydrogen. Thus, silicones can also be called polysiloxanes. Silicones are extensively used in the cosmetic and medical fields.
Over 50 percent of all new cosmetics introduced globally in the last 10 years contain at least one silicone. Silicones improve the feel, appearance, and performance of cosmetic products. These ingredients act as silky moisturizers, conditioners, solvents, and delivery agents for other skin care ingredients. For example, silicone waxes can prevent water loss from skin while various silicone and gum blends provide a smooth, long-lasting feel. Silicone polyethers enhance moisturization by attracting water to the skin and elastomer silicones can minimize the appearance of enlarged pores as well as diminish small lines and wrinkles.
Effects of Topically Applied Silicone
A myth that has been asserted concerning silicones is that they can cause skin irritation and redness when applied topically. Quite the opposite is true. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) suggests cosmetic grade silicone can reduce skin redness, stinging or irritation for cystic acne and rosacea patients.
Silicones are able to help with skin redness and irritation due to their low surface tension, which enables them to spread easily across the surface of skin and form a protective covering. This covering consists of both water-binding and water-resistant properties. The water-binding portion of the molecule is the highly flexible and mobile siloxane backbone, which binds to moisture in the air and holds it to the skin. This backbone also allows the water-repelling methyl groups to orient themselves toward the surface, creating a waterproof "umbrella” that prevents excess water evaporation from the skin, known as trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL).
Silicones also have wide spaces between each molecule, which form a molecular lattice. The lattice enables the skin to “breathe” by allowing oxygen, nitrogen, and water vapors to pass between them on the way to, or out of, the skin. However, most silicones do not allow liquid water to pass through, which is an ideal quality for preventing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) - a leading cause of skin dryness and dehydration. The molecules are also too large to penetrate into the skin, so you don’t have to worry about it getting into your bloodstream or affecting you internally.
Silicone and Scar Healing
Silicone gel exerts several actions that disrupt the scar formation process, thus helping to prevent as well as heal scars. Below are mechanisms reported by the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery which explain how silicone gel heals scars. Note that a certain amount of new collagen is essential to healing a break in the skin, but an excessive amount produces a raised, stiff or thickened scar.
- Silicone gel improves scars by increasing hydration of the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of the skin). This facilitates regulation of fibroblast production and also reduces collagen production. Essentially, this allows skin to “breathe”, thus resulting in a softer and flatter scar.
- Silicone gel assists the body by balancing the expression of growth factors. Certain growth factors stimulate fibroblasts to synthesize more collagen and other growth factors increase the level of collagenases which break down excessive collagen. Silicone gel regulates these growth factors to normalize collagen synthesis.
- Silicone gel guards scars by protecting the injured tissue from bacterial invasion. This is important because bacterial infection causes inflammation which has the ability to induce excessive collagen production in the scar tissue.
The study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery examined 30 patients to determine the efficacy of silicone gel for the treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids. Hypertrophic scars are raised and red but do not spread whereas keloid scars continue growing past the original scar boundaries with a raised and often lumpy appearance. In this study, the patients applied a silicone gel as a thin film to the scar area twice a day. After 6 months, researchers found that the silicone gel produced an 86% reduction in texture, 84% in color, and 68% in height of scars.
NewGel+ offers the widest variety of silicone scar treatment products available. Products include sheets, strips, specific shapes, and two tube sizes of topical silicone gel. These products can be used for a variety of scar types, including keloids, burns, hypertrophic scars, and scars from trauma, cosmetic procedures, C-sections, and abdominoplasty.
Going through pregnancy is both exciting and nerve wracking. There are so many questions you have to answer and choices to make. One of these decisions being your birth plan. You may have a lot of questions about whether to have a natural birth (vaginal without pain meds) or use an epidural to reduce pain sensations during vaginal delivery. You might be nervous about the pain of labor which would cause you to elect to use an epidural, or you may have heard from a friend of a friend that the birthing process goes faster without an epidural and you will be more alert after the baby is born. Here we will try to answer some of your questions and help provide you with the information you need to choose between a natural birth or using an epidural.
Epidural Pain Relief
An analgesic delivered by epidural injection is used to decrease pain in the lower part of the body. Women often choose this option for pain relief, but sometimes it becomes a medical necessity if there are complications, such as those resulting in a cesarean delivery (C-section). According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, an epidural takes 10 to 20 minutes to work. It’s delivered through a thin tube via the spine. The obvious benefit of an epidural is the potential for a nearly pain free delivery while the mother will still feel contractions. Additionally, with pain reliever given during a vaginal delivery you’re still aware of the details of the birth and are able to move around.
When epidural anaesthesia has been used for pain relief in labor, this can usually be topped up to provide the anaesthesia required for an emergency caesarean. The UK National Institutes of Health report a 72 percent increase in the number of cesarean deliveries from 1997 to 2008, which might also explain the enduring popularity of epidurals. While some cesarean deliveries are elective, most are required when vaginal delivery can’t be accomplished.
As with all surgical procedures there is some risk of complications from an epidural, including: back pain and soreness, headache, persistent bleeding (from puncture site), fever, breathing difficulties or a drop in blood pressure, which can slow the baby’s heart rate. It’s important to note that these side effects are extremely rare but can occur.
The term “natural birth” is often used to describe a vaginal delivery performed without the use of any pain relieving medication (IV or oral pain drugs or epidural). But, the term can also be used to distinguish between a vaginal delivery and a C-section (surgical) delivery. Natural births have increased in popularity over recent years because of concerns that epidural anesthesia will interfere with natural body responses to labor and delivery.
Ashley Shea, a birth doula, yoga teacher and student midwife has witnessed this trend first hand. “Women want to be able to move around untethered to machines, they want to stay home as long as possible before heading to the hospital, they don’t want to be disturbed or excessively monitored or have too many cervical checks (if at all), and they want to have immediate and uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with their newborn and wait until the cord stops pulsating to clamp and cut the cord,” said Shea. She also adds, “If you found out you could have a baby in a warm, deep pool of water compared to flat on your back with people yelling at you to push, what would you choose?”
You don’t need a doula or a midwife to have a natural (unmedicated vaginal) delivery. You have the right to elect natural births at hospitals! There are a few serious risks associated with natural births. Risks often arise if there is an underlying medical problem with the mother, or if there is an issue that prevents the baby from naturally moving through the birth canal. Some of these risks include; tears in the perineum (area behind the vaginal wall), increased pain, hemorrhoids, bowel issues and urinary incontinence.
It is important to prepare for the risks of a natural birth. A mother should have a midwife come to the home, or give birth in a hospital. It is better to be prepared should any complications arise during labor. You should also look into ways to ease pain through non-medicated methods. These methods include; massage, acupressure, taking a warm bath or using a hot pack, breathing techniques, and frequent changes in position to compensate for changes in the pelvis.
Is Natural or Epidural Better?
So which is better? The best type of delivery is the one that’s right for you. Do your research and come prepared with questions for your doctor to determine which is the right birth plan for you. Also keep in mind that no matter how much planning you do, unpredictable complications could arise. In the end, you should choose the plan that ensures both you and your baby are happy and healthy at the end of delivery.
Proper care of your scars is an important way to promote healing and minimize their appearance. While scar gels and silicone sheeting (like NewGel+) will help dramatically, drinking alcohol is a lifestyle choice that may interfere with the healing process. In addition to inhibiting your scar’s healing, alcohol also contributes to liver scarring known as cirrhosis.
Alcohol Slows Healing
Binge alcohol exposure significantly reduces the levels of key components of the immune system involved in healing and increases the risk of infections in the hospital, including surgical site infections. Patients injured while binge drinking who develop surgical-site infections are hospitalized for twice as long, have a higher rate of readmission and are twice as likely to die as injured patients not exposed to high blood levels of alcohol.
Excessive alcohol consumption is detrimental to wound healing because it significantly interferes with both the inflammatory phase and proliferation phase of the process. A study found that binge alcohol exposure impaired the production of a protein that recruits macrophages to the wound site. Binge alcohol also reduced levels of another key component of the immune system known as CRAMP (cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptide). CRAMP is a small protein present in the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis. These small proteins may also be called antimicrobial peptides because they kill bacteria as well as recruit macrophages and other immune system cells to the wound site. Wounded skin needs more of these, not fewer. "Together these effects likely contribute to delayed wound closure and enhanced infection severity observed in intoxicated patients," researchers concluded.
Hydrated skin is another important element of scar healing. Dry skin may slow healing of an injury and fading of the scar. Alcoholic drinks are diuretic and drinking too much will dry out your skin. Cutting back or eliminating alcohol, combined with any topical treatments prescribed by your doctor, helps the scar to fade and keeps the skin in the injured area healthy.
Cutting Back on Alcohol
Limiting alcohol consumption may help your scar heal after an injury occurs, but you won't have to limit your intake for the rest of your life. In the weeks following an injury, avoid over consumption of alcoholic drinks to support the area healing itself. One drink every once in awhile most likely won’t interfere with scar healing, but binge drinking on a regular basis might slow the process and make the scar more visible by damaging your skin.
To help cut back, make sure you understand what one serving is and stick with it. A standard alcoholic beverage is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 1/2 ounces of spirits. If you tend to drink more at home, keep alcohol out of the house for a few weeks while your scar heals. At restaurants, try non-alcoholic versions of your favorite drink. Another good reason to limit your alcohol intake? According to the NIH, a majority of emergency room traumas involve a person who is under the influence – avoiding alcohol is not only beneficial to wound healing, but it can help you avoid injuries altogether!
According to WebMD, cirrhosis develops when scar tissue replaces normal, healthy tissue in the liver. It happens after the healthy cells are damaged over a long period of time, usually many years. The scar tissue makes the liver lumpy and hard, and after a while, the organ will start to fail. The scar tissue makes it tough for blood to get through a large vein (the portal vein) that goes into the liver. When blood backs up into the portal vein, it can get into the spleen and cause trouble in that organ, too.
There are two main stages -- compensated and decompensated. In compensated cirrhosis, you won’t have any symptoms. There are still enough healthy liver cells to meet your body’s needs. They compensate, or make up for, the damaged cells and scarred tissue. If you don’t get treatment for the cause of your cirrhosis, it’ll get worse and over time, the healthy liver cells won’t be able to keep up. Nor will your liver be able to get rid of toxic substances in your body like ammonia. Decompensated cirrhosis causes symptoms. It can lead to problems like these:
- You bleed from large blood vessels in your esophagus.
- Fluid builds up in your belly.
- Toxins build up in your blood that can cause confusion.
- Your eyes and skin become yellow.
- You develop gallstones.
- You bruise and bleed easily.
Cirrhosis is a leading cause of death in America, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. There’s no cure for cirrhosis except a liver transplant, but you and your doctor can slow cirrhosis down by treating whatever is causing it. Moderate alcohol consumption, which is one to two drinks per day, allows you to enjoy a cocktail without causing liver scars.
Scoliosis is a musculoskeletal disorder where there is a sideways curvature of the spine. Curves can be in the shape of the letter “C” or “S”. Some of the causes of scoliosis include neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy, birth defects that affect the developing bones of the spine, or injuries to the spine. However, the most common cases of scoliosis occur during a child’s growth spurt just before puberty. Doctors aren’t exactly sure of the cause behind these cases, which are referred to as idiopathic scoliosis.
The following exercises are targeted toward people with scoliosis. Exercise is important for your overall health and can help ease scoliosis pain. People with moderate or severe scoliosis should consult with their doctor before attempting any of these workouts.
Tools for Exercise
Scoliosis can make exercising seem impossible, particularly if you’re dealing with extreme pain and discomfort. It is important to remember that you shouldn’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or in even more pain. Pain isn’t always gain! “Listen to your body,” says fitness trainer Carol Ann. “You do want to feel like your muscles are working, but you don’t want to work through pain. So just gauge that.” Utilizing the tools and equipment around you will help by supporting the weak areas of your spine. Using the right tools can even enhance the effectiveness of your workouts. Here are some tools you can use during your workouts that will be helpful for adults with scoliosis!
Stability ball: also known as a Swiss Ball, is a ball constructed of soft elastic with a diameter of approximately 35 to 85 centimeters (14 to 34 inches) and filled with air. Specific exercises performed on a stability ball are helpful in strengthening the back and abdominal muscles. This ball provides balance and support for your spine while you work out.
BOSU Balance Trainer: a BOSU Balance Trainer (or BOSU ball) is a fitness training device, invented in 1999 by David Weck, consisting of an inflated rubber hemisphere attached to a rigid platform. The device is often used for balance training. Exercising while standing on this dome-shaped device adds an element of instability to your workout, engaging the muscles responsible for stabilizing and balancing the spine.
Wedges: a versatile exercise prop can be used in a variety of ways for added comfort and to alleviate overstretching or pressure on the joints. Use the wedge under heels, knees or sit bones in forward bending exercises to maintain alignment and achieve a deeper stretch. Exercising with training wedges can provide extra support where you need it, especially if your spine has multiple curves.
Foam roller: A foam roller is helpful for improving balance while you perform core-strengthening exercise.
Many of the best exercises for scoliosis patients come from Pilates, a system of exercises using special apparatus, designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, and posture, and enhance mental awareness. In one study, women who completed nine months of Pilates training built up their abdominal strength by as much as 20 percent while reducing their existing muscular imbalances.
Below are 5 of the best scoliosis exercises you can do at home to help:
- Spider: Stand facing the wall with your feet together. Lean forward and place your hands on the wall at chest height. Tighten your abs and slowly walk your fingers up the wall. As you extend your arms over your head, come up on your tiptoes. Once your arms are fully extended, with a straight line from hands to heels, walk your fingers back down. Repeat, keeping abs and lower back muscles engaged.
- Pelvic tilts: Lie face-up on the floor with knees bent, feet flat and arms at your sides. Tighten your belly and buttocks to slowly curl your pelvic bone inward, feeling your lower back flatten out against the floor. Hold for five seconds, breathing normally, before releasing. Repeat.
- Leg and arm extension: Lie across the stability ball on your belly and place your hands and toes on the floor about shoulder-width apart. Contract your abs and lower back muscles while you steadily raise your right arm and left leg until parallel to the floor. Slowly lower and repeat on the other side.
- Squats: Stand on a BOSU Balance Trainer and find your balance. Extend your arms in front of you and sit back and down like you’re easing into an imaginary chair. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor, with your knees over your ankles. Keep your body tight and push through your heels to return to the starting position.
Foam roller balancing: Lie longwise on a foam roller with your tailbone at one end, head at the other and feet on the floor about hip-width apart. Lift one knee so your calf is parallel to the floor while lifting the opposite arm straight up so your fingers are pointing at the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.