aesthetic medicine, How the body heals skin injuries, The Healing Cascade, The Stages of Wound Healing, Understanding how non-surgical aesthetic treatments work, Using the body's healing system in Aesthetics
An excellent way to improve the chances of choosing what is right for you, is to increase your education understanding.
Visible aging is showcased by our skin. Not only on our face and neck but commonly on our hands (see hand rejuvenation) too. Various non-surgical options exist as a way to reduce visible aging and restore a revitalized and more youthful volume and texture to one’s skin.
Choosing what might be right for you can be made easier by delving deeper into understanding how our body and skin work to naturally heal. Grasping this process can be helpful in order to understand how some aesthetic procedures work.
In addition, increasing your knowledge can combat medical anxiety. Fear and anxiety around scarring and or healing complications is common. This is easy to understand because everyone wants to get the best results possible from any procedure that they choose.
Knowing how your body works and heals can put concerns into context and guide you in making well- informed choices for yourself.
What is The Healing Cascade?
The Healing Cascade is the complex process that the body initiates after skin injury is detected. Doctors and Health Care Professionals usually refer to several tiers or phases within the Healing Cascade. These phases can take varying amounts of time. The phases both follow each other and co-exist simultaneously.
The Healing Cascade will unfold and complete over either a few days or a couple of weeks as skin injuries can vary in numerous ways.
The Four Main Phases of the Healing Cascade
Let’s look at each of these phases and what happens inside your body during them.
- Hemostasis – Initial Intervention
Hemostasis is the name given to the body’s initial intervention. This is when the body tries to quickly stop bleeding. This involves using platelet cells to ‘plug’ the wound by causing coagulation of blood. If there is damage to the skin surface a scab will form. If there is damage beneath the surface bruising may appear through the skin.
- Inflammation – The Cleaning Phase
This begins when the body sends white blood cells into the injured area. These cells are called Neutrophils and tidy up the wound site, clearing it of debris, germs and damaged cells.
The dilated capillaries inside the wound make the visible symptoms we associate with inflammation which include swelling, a reddish colour, and the feeling of heat.
Neutrophils finish after a few days and are replaced by Monocytes another type of white blood cell which play a key role. They develop into Macrophages which continue cleaning up and produce chemicals which stimulate other cells to start their important task of tissue reconstruction.
- Proliferation or Reconstruction – Making New Tissue
This phase usually begins several days after the injury and involves the creation of granulation tissue which replaces the existing blood clot or bruise. During this phase, a type of cell called a Fibroblast enters the process. Fibroblasts play a vital role in connective tissue as they produce proteins and collagen! New capillaries bring an increased flow of oxygen rich blood which facilitates cell growth. Inside the wound; sides are pulled together and if the outer epidermis was previously broken, it now begins to grow back.
In some aesthetic procedures bringing Fibroblasts to the area is of vital importance as they are responsible for working to create new tissue and much sought after collagen. This newly created tissue and added collagen can help achieve healthy full volume skin!
- Maturation – Sealing the Wound
Capillaries and Cells that are no longer needed are relocated and reconstruction efforts are strengthened. Connective tissue is further strengthened as the original collagen created by the Fibroblast is supplemented and replaced by an even stronger type of collagen. The collagen links and arranges itself to make the skin strong. Scar tissue might be visible after the wound contracts.
What affects Healing Times?
The length of time that an individual takes to heal depends on their age and state of health as well as the characteristics of the wound. The wound can be characterized according to the shape, size, placement and type of injury; its healing can be affected by the presence of infection.
The Healing Cascade & Aesthetics
Understanding how the Healing Cascade works can help you make informed decisions about which procedures might be right for you.
Aesthetic doctors employ various techniques to help ensure the body’s natural process is activated during Skin Rejuvenation & Skin Resurfacing treatments such as in the “Vampire Facial”. Reputable doctors ensure they work in sterile environments, use blunt tip cannulas when applicable, choose needle size appropriately, assess a client’s health beforehand, and use fillers and injectables from established companies with a track record of quality.
Connect with Dr Martina van der Mescht, 011 954 0070.