An end to an unwanted reminder
Scars are familiar to almost every person. We all have some small mark from a childhood scrape that is usually light and difficult to see. However, for some, scars can be unsightly, prominent characteristics that detract from their appearance. Whether recently formed or long-ago faded, scars can be a source of anxiety for many people. Luckily, there are a variety of treatment options available to those with unwanted scars, the best of which is determined based on the scar type and appearance.
How Do Scars Form?
Scar formation is the result of collagen production during the healing process. Collagen and elastin fibers are sent to the site of a wound to rebuild the lost skin in that area. In some cases, this natural response overproduces or underproduces the proper amount of collagen, leading to the presence of a scar.
- Atrophic scars are pitted in appearance, resulting from the underproduction of collagen during the healing process. They are commonly seen in those with acne scarring and can be more severe in the form of ice pick scars.
- Hypertrophic scars are raised scars caused by an overproduction of collagen. This is the most common type of scar. Even small, minor wounds can cause hypertrophic scarring. They typically form in the original area of the injury and will eventually fade to a lighter color.
- Keloid scars are a severe form of hypertrophic scar. They too are caused by an overproduction of collagen but will extend beyond the area of the original wound. They often become raised and dark in color. Keloid scarring is more prominent in those with darker skin pigmentation, and the tendency for their formation can be genetic.
How to Treat Unwanted Scars
Directly following their formation, scars can appear red and irritated. It can take up to a year for most scars to fade to a pale color, and they may even stay raised and prominent. While it is best to treat a scar directly following its formation, there are also treatments available to improve the appearance of long-healed scars. Speaking with a medical professional is the best way to determine which treatment option is best for you.
Creams and silicone gel-based serums will improve the appearance of many types of scars, especially acne scars, without the need for in-office visits. For raised scars, silicone-based products help to reduce the production of collagen to decrease scar growth, and they also help keep the tissue hydrated to help flatten and fade the appearance of the scar.
Deeper scars may require surgical correction to remove the excess of tissue that comprises the scar. This type of correction also allows your surgeon to control the new healing process better and decreases the chances of a new scar forming. It may be recommended that you utilize at-home treatments following surgical correction to ensure optimal and attractive healing.
Non-surgical, In-Office Treatments
Seeking the assistance of a medical professional can help significantly improve the appearance of scars that are severe or hard to treat. Dr. Rosen evaluates the scars of his patients to recommend the best in-office treatment. Corticosteroid injections into hypertrophic or keloid scars can break the bonds between collagen fibers, reducing the amount of scar tissue beneath the skin and allowing it to shrink.
Non-surgical laser treatments may also be used to improve the size and color of scars. There are a variety of laser options available depending on the type of scarring you wish to treat. For pitted acne scars, lasers may result in the production of new collagen to fill and smooth your complexion. Other lasers can improve the red or otherwise discolored appearance of your scar. For keloid scars, lasers can break down the abundance of collagen, so they diminish in presence.