Scarring, especially on your face, neck, back and chest can cause embarrassment and distress and affect your self-esteem and confidence. Scarring can result from an injury, accident, burn, cut, scape, from surgery or disease like acne. Scarring is a natural part of the healing process, replacing injured tissues with scar tissue. However, scar tissue is thicker and less flexible than the rest of your skin, which can cause tension and puckering of the skin around scar. How you heal depends on your age, genetics, skin color and health.
Maturation of a scar
New scars are typically pink, red or purplish. Over months as a scar matures, the color fades and the scar may lighten or darken and become raised or depressed.
Types of scars
- Atrophic scars are sunken below the level of the skin and result from a loss of collagen. Acne scars and chickenpox scars are good examples.
- Hypertrophic scars are raised about the level of the skin. They are firm and the scar borders stay within the bounds of the injury. They are often seen on the chest, back and shoulders. These scars tend to flatten with time. Stretch marks are a good example.
- Keloid scars are noticeable for their raised borders that spread beyond the borders of original injury. They are typically deep reddish purple.
Treatments to improve a scar
Scars are complex and challenging to treat. Your treatment options depend on the type of scars you wish to improve, as well as how long you have had the scar, your age and general health. It is important to see your dermatologist at Lucent Dermatology in Beachwood, Ohio. They will examine your skin and evaluate and determine the types of scars, whether they may fade on their own or need treatment, and the best time to treat for the best results. Your Lucent dermatologist will create a personalized plan to improve the appearance of your scars.
Lasers and light treatments
These can treat all types of scars, prevent raised scars, reduce the appearance of existing scars, treat depressed acne scars, release scars that limit movement, and reduce pain, itching, hardness and swelling.
Depressed scars can be treated with laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, dermabrasion or microdermabrasion, and microneedling (collagen induction therapy).
- CO2 Fractional Laser resurfacing uses laser light energy to vaporizes sections of the skin, in a pattern that leaves some healthy tissue and vaporizes damaged tissue. Laser skin resurfacing treats sun damage and moderate to deep lines as well as both depressed and raised scars; and induces collagen production to smooth and even out the skin. This is an outpatient procedure and takes several weeks to heal.
- Non-ablative lasers refresh and rejuvenate the skin by building collagen and smoothing the skin.
- Chemical peels, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are all gentler than skin resurfacing. They remove the top called the dermis and middle skin layers called the epidermis. They improve scars by forming new scarless skin but are usually best for shallow scars. A series of treatments are needed to achieve significant improvements.
- Microneedling is collagen induction therapy. Microneedling produces controlled injury which stimulates collagen production to fill in depressed scars. A series of treatments are needed to achieve the best results.
Injections of cortisone or 5-FU or both are beneficial to improve the appearance of raised scars. Injections will soften and flatten raised scars. A series of treatments will be needed for optimum results. Injection therapy can augment the effects of laser and light treatments. However, both drugs have side effects that may rule out their use.
Cryosurgery is freezing of the scar tissue that kills the tissue. It is not recommended for people of color due to the risk of hypopigmentation.
Acne Scar surgery is an office procedure that involves breaking up the scar tissue to make it less noticeable.
Dermal Fillers that stimulate collagen production can fill in a depressed scar to make it less noticeable and may provide a long-lasting improvement with repeated use.
Radiofrequency skin tightening can make depressed scars less noticeable.
The board – certified dermatologists at Lucent Dermatology in Beachwood, Ohio are leaders in their field, and constantly adopt new techniques, procedures and technologies to provide their patients with state-of-the-art care in a private, caring environment. Contact Lucent Dermatology to schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and the best treatments to meet your needs and cosmetic goals.