NewGel+ for Scars

NewGel+ for Scars Blog

  • What Foods Are OK to Eat as a New Mom?

    Congratulations! Your new little bundle of joy is here and your life is now focused on taking care of that baby. This means taking care of yourself, too. Getting sleep, exercising, staying hydrated, and, of course, eating right are all keys to you staying healthy and happy so that you are at your best for your infant.

    Pregnancy vs. Postpartum Diets

    When you were pregnant there was an entire list of foods that you were supposed to avoid. Some because they were dangerous to the baby growing inside of you and some because they would make your pregnancy more uncomfortable than it needed to be. This included caffeine, alcohol, undercooked fish and sushi, certain types of cheese and other dairy products, raw shellfish, sprouts, and cold cured or undercooked meats for safety’s sake. For your comfort, avoiding the types of foods that cause gas in everyone like beans, broccoli, cabbage, certain fruits and whole grains, dairy products, and fruit juices was recommended. (Source).

    FoodsForNewMoms-PregnantVSPostpartum

    The list of foods that people will tell you to avoid when you are a new mom trying to play it super safe, and are nursing, doesn’t look that much different. If you are relying on formula for your infant’s nutrition then the criteria changes. The trick is balancing your diet to make sure that you are getting everything needed to stay strong and have the energy to be a mom, with the needs and comfort of your baby.

     

    Balanced and Healthy Diet for New Moms

    New moms should focus on eating a balanced diet based on whole foods and the nutrients that help to build your body up and repair it. These include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, skim and low fat dairy products, leafy greens, iron-rich foods and vitamin C. (Source). Avoid snacks that are full of sugar and sodium in favor of high fiber and low fat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and dairy products to satisfy cravings. (Source). Focus on good fats, like avocados, that carry other health benefits including helping to lower your cholesterol. Eat smaller, frequent, meals, which will help control the desire to snack and maintain the energy you need to wake up in the middle of the night to feed your baby.

    FoodsForNewMoms-Avacados

    The added benefit of maintaining a diet void of processed foods is that it will help you to bounce back to your pre-baby weight faster. This will also contribute to better healing of c-section scars and help your skin maintain its health and elasticity, which can be enhanced by using NewGel+ C-Section Strips after the staples or stitches are removed.

    If you are not breastfeeding then your postpartum diet will focus just on your needs as a new mom. You can add into your diet moderate amounts of caffeine, alcohol, and favorite foods that you avoided when you were pregnant. Keep in mind that caffeine and alcohol are not beneficial to maintaining a regular sleep pattern and that alcohol has empty calories.

     

    Breastfeeding Diet

    If you are breastfeeding the rules change, though. In some countries beer is recommended to increase milk production, though we are not endorsing it. If you do drink alcohol make sure that you wait 2-3 hours after consumption of one drink before pumping or nursing, or that you pump and dump to avoid passing alcohol along to the baby. (Source). Caffeine also is passed through breast milk and it may interrupt the sleep patterns of babies and make them fussy, so you will want to keep your consumption to a minimum. In addition, there is a list of foods that you may want to avoid when breastfeeding that is at least as long as the list to avoid when you are pregnant. These recommendations are based on what has been learned through trial and error about what makes babies unhappy or colicky.

    Almost every source for information on what foods to avoid include chocolate, citrus fruits and fruit juice, dairy, gassy vegetables, nuts (especially peanuts and peanut products), shellfish, tomatoes, wheat, beef, dairy and egg white. This is not to say that all of this should be eliminated from your diet, just that any of these may cause a reaction in your infant as the food affects the breast milk passed from you to them. Note that these are foods that tend to cause reflux in adults, as well as colic in infants. (Source). If your baby is being fussy and colicky, try to remove one item from your diet at a time and see if that makes a difference, so you can isolate what they are sensitive to without impacting your own nutrition too drastically.

    FoodsForNewMoms-BreastfeedingDiet

    According to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, breastfeeding moms require extra calories, up to 600 a day. They recommend that you build your diet as a new mom around the following, and not worry about the restrictions of your pregnancy diet:

    • 2-3 protein servings a day
    • At least 3 servings of vegetables that include dark green and yellow colors
    • 2 or more servings of fruit
    • Whole grains from bread, pasta, cereal and oatmeal
    • Staying hydrated by drinking water instead of juice, soda or teas to quench your thirst
    • If you are a vegetarian, make sure that you are including zinc, iron and protein in your diet and if you are vegan include a vitamin B12 supplement

     

    We like their advice and recommend that you talk to your health care provider about what is right for you.

  • Different Forms of Retinoids

    Retinoid and retinol are terms often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Retinoid is the generic term for all topical products that contain derivatives of vitamin A. Although these ingredients can be excellent additions to your anti-aging regimen, choosing the right retinoid product can be a bit confusing. Here is an overview of some of the different types of retinoids and how to incorporate them into your regular skincare routine.

    Retinyl Palmitate

    Retinyl palmitate is a combination of pure retinol and palmitic acid. Palmitic acid is typically used in cosmetics as a cleansing agent, so it must be converted to retinaldehyde and then all-trans retinoic acid within the skin in order to be effective. Because of this, retinyl palmitate is the weakest form of retinoid. There are two problems with retinyl palmitate. The first being, you’re getting retinol that is bound to a fatty acid so each percentage (or portion of a percentage) you’re getting of retinol is actually significantly more weighty, bulky fatty acid.

    The second problem with retinyl palmitate is that the concentration is rarely listed. It is illegal in the US to put concentrations with percentages on labels — this is why many products will say “Retinol 0.5” and not 0.5%. Many brands will still let you know what’s in their products by putting it on their websites and various marketing materials though. But with retinyl palmitate you will never see this and if you did it would have to be something like “Retinyl Palmitate 2.5” to have the same efficacy as Retinol 0.5.

    Retinoids-Retinol

    Retinol

    Retinol is the most popular form of retinoid and is found in many anti aging skincare products on the market. It is a very potent and effective anti-aging ingredient, that works by deactivating the matrix metalloproteinases which break down collagen. It also increases cell turnover, and improves skin’s moisture retention. Experts report that retinol should be used at night only, in small quantity (aim for a pea-size amount that will make a thin layer on your face) after cleansing. Do not use it in conjunction with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic and lactic acid. If you are using retinol, you have to pair it with a sunscreen every morning, because retinoids/retinol make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Most experts recommend using retinol products once every 2 to 3 nights during the initial 2 to 3 weeks.

    Side effects of retinol include skin irritation, desquamation, and redness. In addition, use of dietary vitamin A derivatives and certain topical forms has been associated with birth defects, and so it is advisable for women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or those who may become pregnant to avoid use of retinol.

    Retinoids-Tretinoin

    Tretinoin

    Tretinoin or all-trans retinoic acid is a lipid-soluble molecule that possesses an acidic component (specifically a carboxylic acid group) at one end and a lipid-soluble component (specifically a beta-ionone ring) at the other, with a long polyunsaturated carbon chain linking the two. Tretinoin is fantastic because it can address both acne and photodamage, which is a rare quality. It’s worth mentioning that Tretinoin is the only chemical to date to receive FDA approval for anti-aging and anti-sun damage properties. Tretinoin is one of the strongest retinoids and can be found in many prescription strength treatments like Retin-A and Renova.

    Other, less common, forms of retinoids include; Adapalene, Tazarotene, and Isotretinoin. These are primarily found in prescription medications as opposed to over the counter cosmetic products. Many consider retinoids essential skincare ingredients and some recommend to start using them as early as age 21 to help your skin resist aging as well as fight acne.

    Retinoids-HowToUse

    How to Use Retinoids

    Retinoids are known to cause peeling, redness, and irritation so the best approach is to slowly begin using these products to help limit side effects. When introducing any type of retinoid to your skincare regimen, follow these steps:

    1. Apply one small pea-sized amount of a retinoid product to clean, dry face. (Another pea size can be used for the neck or arm or each additional area to be treated.)
    2. If you have very sensitive skin you may want to apply the retinoid at night as your last step over your moisturizer.
    3. Wait about four days before reapplying to see how your skin will react. It takes 3-4 days for the side effects from the first application to become apparent.
    4. After waiting four days, begin applying the retinoid at night every third night.
    5. If, after two weeks, you don’t experience any side effects, bump up your application to every other night for another two weeks.
    6. If you’re still tolerating this routine well, start applying the retinoid every night.

    If you have sensitive or dry skin, you may need to stay at step four indefinitely, and that’s okay. It is better to progress more slowly than to struggle with side effects and end up discontinuing the product as a result.

  • Breastfeeding

    Breastfeeding is a healthy and natural way to feed your newborn baby, providing all of the nutrition your baby needs, satisfying both their hunger and thirst. It also promotes a loving bond between mommy and baby. Breast milk helps to develop the eyes and brain and other body systems, helps the baby resist infection and disease, reduces the risk of obesity in childhood and later in life, and protects your baby while their immune system is still developing. Breastfeeding assists with jaw development, too.

    Breastfeeding Benefits Mother and Child

    Breastfeeding benefits the baby, but it also benefits the mother. It is convenient, inexpensive, and always available. It also reduces the risk of hemorrhage immediately after delivery, reduces your risk of breast and ovarian cancer, soothes your baby and prolongs the time before you get your period again.

    Breastfeeding_Colostrum

    Typically babies are able to start breastfeeding within the first hour after birth. The first milk is known as the colostrum and has a thick consistency and yellowish colour. The colostrum is rich in protein and antibodies that will make a great first meal for your new baby. New breast milk will slowly start to replace the colostrum within the first few days.

    Positioning and Attachment

    You should try to maintain close skin-to-skin contact with your baby as soon as they are born if advised. When you hold your baby against your chest and between your breasts for a while, they should be able to find your nipple and begin feeding without any help. If not, ask your midwife or nurse for assistance.

    Breastfeeding_Attachment

    Positioning and attachment is going to make for a successful breastfeeding experience. If your baby has a solid attachment to your breast, you can help to avoid some of the negative side effects of breastfeeding like cracked nipples, and your baby will get the milk out easily.

    Here are some of the tips and tricks you can use to get your baby in the best position to breastfeed successfully;

    • Sit comfortably with your back and feet supported – you can be fully upright or you might prefer to be laying back a little bit.
    • Unwrap your baby and hold him or her close against you.
    • Turn your baby on his or her side so they are wrapped around you with their nose level with your nipple.
    • Make sure you support your baby’s neck and shoulders with your hand, but don’t hold your baby’s head – allow him or her to find the best position for attaching to your breast.
    • Bring your baby to your breast, not your breast to your baby.
    • Gently brush your baby’s mouth with the underside of your areola – this will usually cause your baby to open their mouth very wide.
    • When your baby opens their mouth, bring him or her quickly to your breast so they take a good mouthful of breast tissue.
    • As you bring your baby to your breast it can help to hold your breast like you would a sandwich, with your nipple aimed at the roof of your baby’s mouth.

    Here are the signs that your baby is successfully attached to your breast;

    • Your baby’s chin should be tucked into your breast, and his or her mouth should be wide open with the bottom lip curled back.
    • Your baby’s nose will be clear or only just be touching your breast.
    • More of your areola will be visible above your baby’s top lip than below it.
    • Your baby’s cheeks should not be sucking in and there should be no clicking noise during sucking.
    • There should be no nipple pain – but you might feel a stretching sensation as your nipple adjusts to breastfeeding.

    Milk Supply

    In the first week of your baby’s life they will start to develop a feeding pattern. A typical newborn will feed about eight to twelve times in a 24-hour period. This is just a typical feeding pattern and you should always feed your baby if they are displaying signs of hunger. You will know your baby is getting enough breast milk if he or she:

    • is feeding at least 8 times a day (with some of those feeds occurring overnight)
    • has at least 5 wet disposable nappies or 6 to 8 wet cloth nappies per day
    • has 2 or more soft or runny bowel movements per day for around the first 6 weeks of life (babies have fewer bowel movements once they reach about 6 weeks)
    • is gaining weight and growing as expected
    • is alert when awake, and reasonably contented

    Breastfeeding_Formula

    If you are unable to supply your baby with enough breast milk, don’t feel bad or like a failure. This can happen sometimes even when you are doing everything right. If you are unable to produce enough breast milk just know that you are able to supplement with formula if need be.

  • How Pregnancy Affects Your Skin

    Pregnancy is a period that is commonly known for skin changes, some temporary and others more permanent. The increase in hormones responsible for gestation can affect skin, along with tissue expansion and increases in body weight. Not every pregnant woman will experience the same skin issues, but pregnant women likely will experience some change to their normal, pre-pregnancy skin. Some of the more common changes related to pregnancy include acne, changes in moles, melasma or “the mask of pregnancy”, linea nigra, stretch marks, varicose veins, and hair changes. Read on for pertinent information on each of these.

    HowPregnancyAffectsYourSkin-Acne

    Acne During Pregnancy

    You are supposed to be glowing, so why is your face breaking out like a teenager’s? The higher level of hormones in the first trimester can cause an increase in oil and inflammatory markers of the sebaceous unit at the base of the pore. While this may be temporary for some, one out of every two pregnant women will experience acne during their pregnancy.

    Unfortunately, pregnancy and breastfeeding are conditions in which a lot of typical acne treatments are not well studied or are contraindicated. Salicylic acid, tretinoin, adapalene, oral tetracyclines, and a myriad of other typical acne therapies (both prescriptive and over the counter) are not recommended during pregnancy. Isotretinoin is a known teratogen (cause of birth defects) and is closely monitored to avoid pregnancy in those patients taking it.

    There are some options, however. Just not many. If your acne is pregnancy related, it will likely lessen after delivery and in the post-partum period. After breastfeeding, steps can be taken to reduce any residual inflammation, cysts, or scarring from lesions that occurred during pregnancy. During pregnancy, the topical use of erythromycin, clindamycin, azelaic acid, glycolic acid (an AHA) and lactic acid are often safe to use, if your medical provider recommends them.

    Keeping good skin hygiene can help to lessen oil related comedones. Making a point to cleanse your skin after activities causing perspiration and washing with safe but effective face cleansers in the morning and at night can help minimize the oil that promotes acne. Also, keeping your scalp healthy and clean will minimize any mixed type of acne that comes from the overgrowth of normally occurring organisms that thrive in oil rich environments. It is also a good idea to consult your obstetrician or a dermatologist if your acne becomes more severe.

    Mole Changes Caused by Hormones

    Hormones can affect moles that were present pre-pregnancy, and also cause de-novo (new) moles as a result. Dermatologists can monitor moles during pregnancy and can perform biopsies safely, as well. Significant change in the size of moles is not as common as once thought. Studies have shown it is less common to have benign changes in moles in pregnancy. Any moles that bleed or change in size or pigment, should be assessed by a professional. It is not uncommon to find red mole-like lesions arise during pregnancy and the post-partum period. These are called angiomas and said to be related to hormonal changes, specifically from increased plasma estrogen. Unfortunately, they will not go away after delivery. Once evaluated and verified to be a benign vascular change, cosmetic treatment can lessen or remove them should that be desired.

    Melasma: the Mask of Pregnancy

    The surge in hormones responsible for uterine expansion, increase in blood supply, and other important body changes to support a fetus can also cause pigment changes that are exacerbated by sunlight. The more common facial areas to experience this change in pigment include the forehead, the bridge of the nose, and the cheekbones. This pigment change is genetically linked and often occurs after the 16th week of pregnancy. Sunscreen applied liberally to the face during sun exposure, wide brimmed hats, and staying out of direct sunlight can help to lessen any pigment development from sun exposure. Options for lightening of pigmented areas after pregnancy can include lightening serums, chemical peels, and lasers specific for melasma.

    Linea Nigra

    During pregnancy, melanocyte-stimulating hormone increases. The effects include darkening of the nipples and the lower midline from the umbilicus to the pubis, referred to as linea nigra . This change occurs based on genetics; skin lightens slightly after delivery.

    HowPregnancyAffectsYourSkin-StretchMarks

    Stretch Marks from Pregnancy

    Caused by collagen separation later in pregnancy, striae, more commonly known as stretch marks, can leave irregular linear lines on any areas that expand in size over a short period of time. Common sites for striae include those areas most prone to stretch, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, and breasts. The uterus increases in size to ten times the non-pregnant weight over the course of pregnancy, which increases tissue expansion.

    Genetics, race, and personal history of stretch marks plays a more vital role in the tendency to develop stretch marks than increased body mass and weight gain. If a pregnant woman’s mother had a history of their development, there is more of a chance she, too, will develop them. Lighter complexion individuals have a tendency to form more red/pink stretch marks, whereas darker complexion individuals often develop striae lighter than their typical skin tone.

    While nothing will prevent these from occurring with tissue expansion, attempts can be made to fade them after pregnancy. Topical products that induce cell turnover, such as retinoids and alpha hydroxy acids, can help to minimize their appearance. Improvements to the aesthetic appearance of stretch marks are best seen when therapies are done in their early stages of presentation.

    Varicose Veins

    Pressure from the enlarging uterus paired with increased size of peripheral veins by progesterone can cause insufficient flow in blood vessels of the legs. As a result, varicosities, or varicose veins, can form. Prevention or lessening of this can be encouraged with leg elevation and compression stockings during pregnancy. Treatment for any varicose veins after delivery of the baby may include sclerotherapy, laser therapy, and other minimally invasive techniques. If the veins are not painful or bothersome, treatment is not necessary.

    HowPregnancyAffectsYourSkin-HairChanges

    Hair Changes

    The estrogen present in higher amounts during pregnancy accounts for more hair being in the growth/active phase, or the anagen phase, giving a more lush and full look to most pregnant women’s hair. In the months after delivery, the hair follicles may catch up with the increased growth phase and have a larger number of hairs in the resting/shedding phase, or telogen phase. During pregnancy, the number of hair follicles in the resting phase (telogen) is decreased by about half and then nearly doubles in the first few weeks postpartum. It is a temporary hair change, as likely the phases will return to normal once they catch up to the internal hormone adjustment.

    Skin Disorders Affected by Pregnancy

    Skin disorders, such as atopic dermatitis (eczema) and psoriasis, that were present to some extent prior to pregnancy may flare or go into remission during a woman’s pregnancy. Because some of the medications used to treat these conditions are not recommended in pregnancy, it is important to let your physician know you are pregnant if you are on long term therapies to treat these.

     

    While a lot of the listed changes do not seem to be positive, there are a number of pregnant women who experience few bothersome skin issues and more of the positive ones (increased volume of hair, “pregnancy glow”). But if you are among the many that have experienced the lesser desired changes, know you are in good company.

  • Dealing with New Mom Stress

    Pregnancy and the science of conception is a truly amazing process… watching cells transition from a yolk sac to a fetus is quite remarkable. Mothers-to-be have three trimesters to prepare for the welcoming of a new life into the world. They may take classes, read books, ask friends, or all of the above. But when it comes down to it, dealing with the postpartum period is different for each mom. All are faced with a host of new stresses. Some of these new stresses are physical, some emotional; some stresses more acute, and some that are likely to be around for much longer than postpartum.

    DealingWithNewMomStress-AfterDelivery

    Stress of Physical Changes after Delivery

    If you are a new mom, you have just physically labored and endured pain unfathomable to those who have not experienced it. You may have sutures in unmentionable places from tears, or pain from the injection of your epidural. If vaginal delivery didn’t work out or wasn’t an option, you have just had a pretty significant surgery with sutures, swelling, and possibly even some site draining. Your breasts are starting to swell and you have differing amounts of bleeding vaginally. If you had an epidural, you likely have swelling.

    All of these symptoms and limitations may have you in the situation that you have to ask your partner to do things you would never imagine asking them- having them change a pantyliner, clothes, and perform hygiene tasks that would have previously made you squirm. Whatever way your new life came into this world, your body is healing. How long the process takes is unique to you. But everyone requires time to heal.

    Support for You and Your Baby

    Finding support and asking for help when you need it is critical to get you through this period. It may be from your partner, parents, in laws, or friends. But the support, especially in the first few weeks, will pay dividends. You do not have to do this alone. Embrace those offering to help. Take the dinners they bring, let them fold your laundry. There’s a reason you often cannot return to work for 6-8 weeks. This is a full-time job. Focus on healing and tackling your new job of mom.

    Hormonal Changes after Baby

    While you’re physically healing from the act of delivery, your body is internally adjusting levels of hormones to allow for lactation and to allow your uterus to return to pre-pregnancy size. Progesterone, the hormone partly responsible for pregnancy and uterus expansion, is now significantly less. This allows other hormones to be secreted so that your breasts are now able to lactate and provide nutrition for your baby. But it can cause intense changes in your mood.

    “Baby blues” are common during this acute hormonal transition, but often last only a week or two. If your blues are lasting longer or seem more intense, and affect your bonding with baby, bring it up with your physician. Americanpregnancy.org recommends having a strategy in place for this period. They recommend throwing out the myths of motherhood that project expectations that are not reasonable and endorse having good communication with your partner or support network. Eating well to protect your brain chemistry is also recommended. Making sure to have a few hours of uninterrupted sleep a night will keep you more able to take on the new demands of your role. Exercise can release feel good endorphins and stabilize mood, as well.

    Developing a Schedule Postpartum

    You may fully acknowledge that much of the sleep deprivation, lack of schedule, and physical discomfort is temporary, but that doesn’t make it any easier. In the first few weeks as your baby is just getting acclimated to the new environment, a schedule may not be a reasonable expectation. But a few weeks into the post-partum period, as you get to know your baby and their needs, you may come to find some stability in a more scheduled day. Routines create predictability for both parents and baby. The predictability can help manage expectations and possibly lessen stress.

    DealingWithNewMomStress-Breastfeeding

    Help with Breastfeeding

    Your breasts are now swelling and can become engorged; you are likely attempting to breastfeed, which is a different situation for everyone. Pediatrics studied breastfeeding women and found 54% experienced some form of difficulty, from latching to sucking. And, the process is time consuming. It may hurt. You may not know how much milk your baby is getting from a session. Lactation consultants are now more readily available and often covered by insurance plans. They can help your unique needs and find ways to make your situation more manageable.

    DealingWithNewMomStress-Types

    Types of Stress in New Moms

    Your new baby is a love like no other. You will experience joy and excitement along with the stress. But learning how to cope with the stress can help you and your baby. Studies show that babies are in tune with maternal levels of stress. The CDC sorts stresses into three categories, not all of which are harmful. These categories include positive stress, tolerable stress, and toxic stress. Toxic stress is the type that can be more harmful in the postpartum period, with possible effects to the baby, as well. (webmd.com) It is important to take care of yourself, so that you can be better at caring for your baby. Eating well, hydrating with water, trying to sleep when possible, and finding a support system can help lessen the stress in the toxic category. (webmd.com)

    After the acute postpartum period, moms often face the stress of returning to work. You may be anxious about leaving your baby with a stranger, or financially concerned with the cost this may bring. Will you continue to pump while you’re at work, or will you transition to formula? Researching facilities, meeting nannies, and getting referrals may help lessen the amount of stress felt when the time comes. Working out a schedule with your partner or employer may lessen the need for childcare. Can you or your partner work from home either part time or full time? Would a parent or family member offer to open their schedule some of the weekdays? Preparing early for this transition back to work will help to lessen the stress once the time comes.

    You have just accomplished something you should be incredibly proud of; your body performed one of the most awesome tasks of life. While the stress is real, may it be well worth it and accompanied with a loving bond unlike anything else.

  • Can You Prepare for Scarring?

    Yes you can. If you have been wounded with a cut or burn, or are having surgery or a procedure done that will require an incision, it is predictable that scar management will be part of your healing process.

    What Causes Scars?

    Whenever your skin is injured, your body’s natural response is to heal the wound which may result in scarring. Wound healing occurs in three phases, that are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The processes are generally referred to as inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling. The National Institute of Health describes them as follows:

    Inflammation commences with disruptions in capillary blood vessels and induction of hemostatic cascade. The leaked intravascular contents form fibrin clots, which are composed of fibrin mesh and platelets. This provisional extracellular matrix (ECM) in the wound paves the way for migration of various cells that participate in the wound healing process.

    The second stage in wound healing is proliferation, which begins around day 4 or 5 with the migration of fibroblasts into the wound matrix. By 2 to 4 weeks, the fibroblasts are maximally up-regulated and replace the fibrin with a more robust matrix of collagen fibers. In the mature wound, the initial elastic fiber network is no longer observed and explains the firmness and absence of elasticity of scars (1). Another important aspect of the proliferative phase is the inward epithelialization of keratinocytes from the wound margin. Wound contraction begins around day 10 to 12, but this timing can vary with wound severity and general conditions of the patient (2).

    PrepareForScarring-Proliferation

    The third and last stage in wound healing is the remodeling phase, which usually begins 3 weeks after tissue injury. Microscopic findings of this stage include decreases in fibroblast count, occlusion of blood vessels, and hardening of collagen fibers. Continuous collagen production and degradation has an effect of remodeling the mature wound matrix for approximately 6 months post injury. At this point, production and degradation balances each other, and no significant change in collagen amount is observed. The remodeling phase is the most responsible for intra- and interpersonal variations in scar qualities. A healing incisional wound can become an unsightly scar during this period. (Source).

    Can You Heal Scars?

    Many doctors will advise you that the best way to heal, including to minimize scarring, is to follow their instructions on taking care of the wound, to eat diets that are rich in certain vitamins and minerals, and to use silicone to actually heal the scar.

    According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the following are dermatologist recommended wound management techniques to minimize the scar that you will have to treat:

    • Keep your wound clean, washing the area gently with mild soap and water to keep germs at bay and debris away.
    • Use petroleum jelly to keep the wound moist, which prevents it from drying out and forming a scab which takes longer to heal than a wound without a scab. This will minimize the scar.
    • If you keep the wound cleaned on a daily basis you do not need to use antibacterial ointments on it.
    • After cleaning the wound and applying petroleum jelly, cover the area with an adhesive bandage. Silicone gel sheets can be applied directly to closed wounds, without ointments or petroleum jelly.
      PrepareForScarring-ChangeBandage
    • Change the bandage daily to help the wound stay clean while it is healing.
    • If you needed stitches or staples, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders on how to care for the injury and when to have the sutures taken out, which will help to minimize the scarring.
    • Use SPF 30 or higher sunscreen on the wound after healing, which can also help to reduce discoloration.

    How Silicone Scar Treatment Works

    Silicone sheets and gels from NewGel+ help fade, flatten and soften scars and are proven to work. If scarring is something that you are worried about, having the scar remedies prepared as soon as possible is a good idea. NewGel+ offers a wide variety of silicone sheets, strips, shapes and gel so that every scar can be cared for property. Your doctor can advise you on the best time to start treating your scar for optimal healing and when it is safe for you to begin using silicone sheets or gels. (Source).

    As reported in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery, silicone gel heals scars based on:

    • Increasing moisture level of the stratum corneum (the uppermost layer of the skin). This facilitates regulation of fibroblast production and balances collagen production.
    • Balancing the expression of growth factors. Certain growth factors increase the level of enzymes which break down the excess collagen. Silicone gel regulates these growth factors to normalize collagen synthesis.
      PrepareForScarring-Silicone
    • Protecting the scarred tissue from bacterial invasion so that the scar doesn’t get infected or inflamed, both of which can cause excessive collagen production of more scar tissue.

    The look and feel of a scar depends on the wound itself, the amount of blood that flows to the area, your own skin color and thickness, and your general health. Scars are formed when the dermis layer of the skin is damaged and the body produces new collagen to heal that damage. The new tissue that is formed has a different texture and quality than the skin around it. The scar is what remains after the injury is otherwise healed.

    Whether a small, normal scar, or a large, angry, red protruding scar, the aesthetics and physical discomfort can be disabling. Scars can cause itching, pain, anxiety and self esteem issues. (Source). This is why it is important to make sure you take advantage of the best scar healing alternatives available, silicone sheets and gel.

  • 10 Ways to Stay Active During Pregnancy

    If you’re like most people, pregnancy involves allowing your body to change more dramatically than it ever has in 9 months. Even if you’re not already regularly active, such changes can make it difficult to perform even menial tasks if you aren’t proactive about it. It’s not impossible to safely stay active during pregnancy, however -- here are some ways to go about it.

    StayingActiveDuringPregnancy_GroceryShopping

    While you’re pregnant, you’re going to find that one of the best ways to stay fresh and active is to walk. Some people may find it too easy to get bored while casually strolling without purpose, so an easy place to get some good work in while keeping your mind occupied is the supermarket or grocery store. Go slowly and deliberately, walking down every aisle to see if there’s anything you would like. By the time you’re done, you can have gotten a good day’s worth of strolling!

     

    2.) Walk instead of taking public transit, or just get off a stop early

    If you normally commute to work using public transit and live within a reasonable walking distance, give yourself some extra time and leg it out! Conversely, if you can’t avoid taking the bus or train, try getting off a stop early and walking the rest of the way.  Double check with your doctor before engaging in any strenuous activities.

     

    3.) Stretch it out

    You don’t necessarily have to hit the gym or go out to stay active while you’re pregnant. Sometimes, just standing up and thoroughly stretching your body is an easy way to keep yourself fit and ready to go. Pulling your arms back, getting on your tiptoes, whatever it may be, try to take conscious small breaks to work your muscles.

     

    StayingActiveDuringPregnancy_Yoga

    Okay, not actually. But similarly to regular stretching, getting involved with yoga is a great way to keep your muscles active and limber while practicing good breathing technique and decompression methods.

     

    5.) Get your breathing down

    Most people don’t take the time to practice proper breathing technique. Getting some real, deliberate, full breaths in at some point during the day will help you feel more alert and refreshed. Sometimes, all it takes to feel ready to go in the morning is standing up and taking two or three slow breaths, working to feel the air fill your body as locally as possible.

     

    6.) Hop in the water

    Swimming is a particularly healthy activity for pregnant women, as the feeling of increased weightlessness underwater can help you feel much more able to move fluidly. By going swimming at your local pool a couple of times a week, you can allow yourself a rather active workout without straining yourself too far or putting the baby at risk.

     

    7.) Get up and dance

    If you find yourself listening to music and not doing much else, stand up and start moving! It doesn’t have to be intense or even good, but just rocking to the beat and shifting your weight around will help keep all of your muscles engaged and your body a lot happier. Plus, dancing releases a bunch of hormones that will leave you feeling energetic and content.

     

    StayingActiveDuringPregnancy_Chores

    Doing housework is already a great way to keep your body and mind engaged while maintaining your living space to a healthy and productive standard. If your home isn’t feeling up to scale, your mind won’t either, so while you’re at it, put a little extra pep in your step and really work your body while getting stuff done.

     

    9.) Download an app to help you

    There are countless fitness apps out there for smartphones nowadays, as well as apps for meditation, diet, and other health-related subjects. Some are specifically tailored for mothers-to-be, so go on the lookout for them and get on your feet.

     

    10.) Sign up for a prenatal class

    Among all of the other useful things you may be able to learn from the class about what to do during pregnancy, you’ll learn a bunch of safe exercises and stretches you can do while carrying your child.

     

    Staying active while pregnant may not be the easiest thing to do, but it’s imperative for a safe and healthy pregnancy and a happy, healthy baby. Besides that, an object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest tends to stay at rest. So get up, figure out what works for you, and get on it!

  • 15 Top Rumors About Pregnancy

    When it comes to pregnancy, it sometimes seems like it’s easier to become misinformed than it is to actually know a lot about it. While there are definitely things to avoid while pregnant, that list isn’t quite as extensive as most believe, and some misconceptions can cause very real danger for the mother and child. Here are some myths about pregnancy that have been debunked:

    Rumor #1 - Flu shots and other vaccines can potentially be harmful to your child

    Many expectant mothers believe that getting a flu shot or vaccination puts them and their unborn child at risk of disease. Others believe the preservatives of these vaccines can also be harmful to the child. Both of these sentiments are misconceptions however, as there is no scientific evidence as of yet that correlates vaccinations to being harmful for unborn children. What’s more is that pregnancy shifts the immune system and other normal bodily defense systems in a way that makes mothers susceptible to significantly worse cases of the flu and more.

     

    RumorsAboutPregnancy-DontFly

    Rumor #2 - You can’t fly during the first or third trimesters

    While it’s not advised to travel when you’re expecting to go into labor or for about two weeks after your baby is born, traveling any other time while pregnant is okay so long as proper precautions are taken. Airlines only have restrictions in place over concerns of the former.

     

    Rumor #3 - “Just one drink” is okay

    It’s ultimately the mother’s personal decision what she does or does not decide to do, but it’s been proven time and time again that having any alcohol at all while pregnant can cause any range of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Whether it’s one or more, to keep that chance at 0%, avoid drinking alcohol entirely.

     

    Rumor #4 - You need to eat enough for two

    Yes, you are actually feeding yourself and another human at once when you’re pregnant, but studies show you only need to consume about 300 extra calories daily to sustain healthy growth for the baby. Normal women of healthy weight should expect to gain 25-30 pounds during pregnancy.

     

    Rumor #5 - You can’t pet your cat while pregnant

    Changing your cat’s litter might put you at risk of toxoplasmosis, but besides that, animals on their own can’t cause harm to your developing child.

     

    Rumor #6 - Avoid caffeinated drinks or stick to decaf

    It is true that an excessive intake of caffeine will affect your baby, as both you and them will feel a buzz. However, most doctors agree that up to 200mg of caffeine a day is an okay amount to intake while pregnant -- a few variables depending, that usually equates to about a cup of coffee.

     

    Rumor #7 - Avoid hair dyes and other hair products

    While chemicals from hair products do seep into the body through the skin, it’s a negligible amount that isn’t harmful to your baby. It is, however, easier for the scents from the chemicals to make mothers-to-be nauseous, so it’s advised to be careful around them or use them in a room with good ventilation.

     

    RumorsAboutPregnancy-NoSushi

    Rumor #8 - You can’t eat sushi

    Lots of people have concerns about eating raw fish while pregnant, but that’s actually okay in most circumstances. Mothers should only really try to avoid mackerel, shark, swordfish, tilefish, and too much tuna.

     

    Rumor #9 - You should try to avoid cheese

    Some cheeses are unpasteurized and have a higher chance of carrying food-borne illness. But most popular cheeses like cheddar and swiss are pasteurized and safe to eat during pregnancy.

     

    Rumor #10 - You shouldn’t have sex while pregnant

    Your growing baby is protected by an amniotic sac and very strong uterine muscles. You still have to watch out for sexually transmitted infections however, as the disease will be transferred to your child as well.

     

    Rumor #11 - Avoid hanging around polished furniture

    This is another myth centered around the fear of fumes being harmful for the mother or child. Luckily, these fumes can’t cause any chemical harm besides possible discomfort for the mother.

     

    Rumor #12 - You can’t take prescription or over-the-counter medications while pregnant

    Many women believe that they have to suffer and trudge through colds or migraines and the like, but many prescription and over-the-counter medications are completely safe to be taken by pregnant women. You should consult your doctor if you’re unsure, but the most common and popular over-the-counter medications have all been okayed for use.

     

    RumorsAboutPregnancy-NoHotBaths

    Rumor #13 - You shouldn’t take hot baths while pregnant

    It’s true that pregnant women should avoid doing anything that will raise their body temperature over 102 degrees, but that’s reserved for things like really hot baths, jacuzzis, and saunas.

     

    Rumor #14 - Pregnant women should sleep on their side

    Mothers to be should stay focused on getting as much rest as possible, period. Any rumors that pregnant women should avoid sleeping on their backs are false, as that is completely harmless to the baby’s development.

     

    Rumor #15 - Stop your workout regimen

    On the contrary, low-intensity and low-impact workouts are actually healthy ways to keep the body fit and prepared for the birth of your child while controlling the inevitable weight gain.

     

    Please discuss any of the above rumors with your OB/GYN before you do anything to make sure you have the doctor’s approval.

  • Essential Oils and Pregnancy

    It happens more often than you think. Someone is treating a scar with a NewGel+ Scar Management System Product and boosting their healing efforts with essential oils, only to find out that they are pregnant! If this happened to you do not let your elation be overshadowed by fear.

    It is true that some essential oils are bad during pregnancy but many can be taken in low doses without any known harmful effects. So before you panic and worry that you have done damage the baby you are carrying, it is prudent to learn which oil is in which of these categories and what is safe for prenatal use. And remember that our silicone products are safe to use at all life stages. So if you remain unsettled after your research you can still rely on us.

    Essential Oils for Skin Treatment

    There is a significant body of research, especially coming out of eastern medicine, on the positive correlation between the use of certain essential oils and the reduction of skin conditions and scarring. (Source). Much of this, however, is coming from the industry that is promoting aromatherapy, rather than peer-reviewed science. (Source). And while there is evidence that exists to show positive therapeutic benefit of some compounds, most are not backed by the same diligence. Despite that, and while our silicon-based products are recognized to be the single most effective product on the market to reduce or eliminate noticeable scars, there is certainly no lack of people that rely on other compounds.

    EssentialOilsPregnancy-HelpWithScarring

    There is supposed to be an oil for almost every skin issue, from bacterial infections, which slow down wound healing, to wrinkles, scabs, and inflammation. In particular, yarrow, frankincense, neroli, carrot seed, mandarin, palmarosa, galbanum, immortelle, hyssop, lavender, patchouli, vitamin E, and onion are all believed to help with scarring. Some of these oils, such as lavender, patchouli, and frankincense have additional suggested uses that include calming and relaxation.

    Pregnancy Concerns

    Frequently people use oils blended together, or to accomplish more than one goal. These oils are mixed with other compounds and are consumed, applied topically, and/or diffused. The quality and concentration of oils can vary widely and there is no true regulations guiding either the production or use of any of the oils. Since the quality of essential oils is unpredictable it is important to be especially careful when using them during pregnancy. Some oils are recognized as being dangerous to use during pregnancy. Remember, that even those that have never been shown to have a negative impact on pregnancy, have not been shown to be as effective as silicon for treating scars.

    EssentialOilsPregnancy-Concerns

    Even aromatherapists, whose job it is to sell you oils, will warn you about a number of oils being either completely unsafe to use when pregnant (and breastfeeding), or that you should be highly cautious using. The concerns center around three issues: impacts on early fetal development, toxicity caused from crossing the placenta, and the triggering of contractions. Searching the internet for information will bring up inconsistencies. For instance, there actually seems to be disagreement about whether frankincense is safe to use at all, or only in small doses and for short periods of time. This is why it is important to look to scientific studies for as much information as you can find.

    There are laboratory studies that have looked at the development of mammals when exposed to plants’ essential oils. In one such study sage, oregano, thyme, clove and cinnamon were all tested on mice embryos with the results clearly showing negative impacts from all but thyme and nothing positive. (Source). There are other lists that can easily be found of oils to avoid, which include many of the same oils that are recognized for treating scars.

    Vitamin E and onion extract are two of the most cited compounds for scar tissue treatment. Neither of them is recommended for use during pregnancy, however, though it is unclear if they are unsafe for topical use only. Perhaps most importantly, the prevailing research indicates that neither is as effective as silicone therapy.

    Staying Safe

    EssentialOilsPregnancy-Doctors

    In the first trimester your safest bet is to avoid essential oil use as much as possible, especially when inhaled or ingested. Grapefruit, mandarin, neroli, and lavender are probably safe to use in low amounts in the second and third trimesters. Grapefruit and mandarin are also on the list of oils that may be helpful with post-pregnancy stretch marks. Lavender is regarded by many people as an ideal tool to help with relaxation and relaxation is certainly good for pregnant women. In all cases, however, it is best to speak to your doctor before use and if you are having pregnancy complications to avoid the use of anything that your doctor does not specifically prescribe or authorize.

    Pregnancy is an exciting and wonderful stage in a woman’s life. It can also be one of the most complicated and daunting. There is no reason that treating your scars should add to that. Trust your healthcare provider to guide you and your baby to a happy, healthy, birth.

  • Protecting Your Family from the Flu

    In the United States, there has been a huge increase in cases of the flu with activity being reported in 49 states. The flu vaccine is the most important thing you can do to prevent influenza, and antiviral drugs are the best way to treat influenza infections. Early treatment with a flu antiviral drug can actually shorten the duration of fever and illness symptoms, and can reduce the risk of serious flu complications. For those individuals with an age or medical factor that puts them at high-risk of complications, prompt treatment with a flu antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a mild case of the illness and a stay in the hospital, or even death.

    Getting the flu vaccine to prevent future cases of influenza is still a good idea, despite it not being as effective this year as it has been in the past. Experts are predicting weeks of flu activity yet to come so vaccination can still offer important protection. While influenza A (H3N2) viruses have been most common, it is not unusual for different flu viruses to circulate at different times of the season and most flu vaccines protect against four different influenza viruses. Here are the best ways to protect your family from the flu!

    ProtectingYourFamilyFromTheFlu-StepsToFightingTheFlu

    1. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.

    People who are at high risk for influenza complications should contact their healthcare provider if they start to experience flu symptoms, even if they have already been vaccinated this season. If you get sick with flu, antiviral drugs are the best way to treat it. The CDC recommends rapid treatment of seriously ill and high-risk flu patients with antiviral drugs. It is very important that antiviral drugs are used early to treat hospitalized patients, people with severe flu illness, and people who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health.

    2. Take every day preventative actions to help prevent the spread of germs.

    If you are able, try to avoid close contact with people who are sick. And if you do get sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. This means taking a sick day or cancelling your weekly yoga class. Be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 30 seconds. Only use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available as they have been proven to be less effective. Be sure to clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth because germs spread this way. ALWAYS cover mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Not only does it prevent the spread of germs, it is also just good manners.

    3. If you have not gotten a flu vaccine yet this season, get vaccinated now – it’s not too late!

    We don’t mean to keep harping on this, but it really is the best way to avoid getting the flu. As long as the flu virus is circulating (in some areas until May), vaccination should continue throughout flu season. Anyone who is 6 months of age or older is recommended to get vaccinated against flu every year, with rare exceptions. Keep in mind that the flu vaccine is used to prevent flu illness, not treat it. Flu vaccines typically protect against three or four different flu viruses and take up to two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to fully respond and for these antibodies to provide protection. With many more weeks of flu activity expected for this flu season, there is still time to get vaccinated if you haven’t already done so.

    If you are a parent or caregiver keep in mind that some children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine for protection from flu. Children who are in this age group will get these doses spaced at least 28 days apart. CDC typically conducts studies throughout the influenza season to help determine how well flu vaccines are working. While vaccine effectiveness can vary, recent studies by CDC researchers indicate that flu vaccination reduces the risk of influenza illness by 30% to 60% among the overall population.

    ProtectingYourFamilyFromTheFlu-WhoIsAtRisk

    Everyone is at risk for getting flu regardless of age or medical history. In the US alone, millions of people get the flu, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu every year. The CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually since 2010.

    Some people are at higher risk of developing serious complications as a result of the flu such as pneumonia or worsening of existing chronic health conditions. It’s important for those people to check with a doctor promptly about taking antivirals if they develop flu symptoms. Some of the people at high risk include the following:

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