After you’re injured — whether it’s a minor scrape or a severe burn — your body naturally repairs the damage. The degree and type of healing depend on the severity of the injury. If the injury damages the top layer of your skin or epidermis, you’ll likely see new skin when the wound heals. For more severe injuries, your body makes a tissue that’s thicker than your skin. This thicker tissue often becomes a scar. Scarring depends on a multitude of factors and can be exacerbated by improper wound care.
While many scars might fade and get paler over time, some need professional treatment to go away. If you’re ready to get rid of scars forever, contact Advanced Dermatology and Skin Care Center. Our dermatologists are committed to helping our patients achieve the glowing, blemish-free skin they’ve always wanted. Take the first step to scar-free, beautiful skin — get in touch with us today to schedule a dermatology appointment.
What Causes Scars?
Scars form when the deep, thick layer of skin, or dermis, is damaged. The body forms new collagen fibers, a naturally occurring protein in the body, to repair the damage, resulting in a scar. The new scar tissue will have a different texture and quality than the surrounding tissue, and scars form after a wound is completely healed.
Types Of Scars
Scars come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. It’s important to remember that scars are a perfectly normal part of the skin healing process after a scrape, burn, cut, or another injury. When pursuing scar treatment, the specific type of treatment will largely depend on the type of scar. For this reason, it’s crucial to have an experienced dermatologist examine the scar, and for patients to know the three main types.
Keloid scars are the result of an overly aggressive healing process — the body goes too far. These extend beyond the original injury, and as time progresses, a keloid scar might interrupt movement. They are thick, rounded, irregular clusters of scar tissue that grow at the site of a wound on the skin, but beyond the edges of the wound’s borders, and frequently appear red or darker in color compared to the surrounding healthy skin. These scars may appear anywhere on the body and occur more often in darker-skinned people. Keloid scars may show up to one year after the original trauma to the skin.
Similar to keloid scars, hypertrophic scars result from excess collagen as a wound is healing. However, unlike keloid scars, their growth is confined within the boundaries of the original injury. These scars might also appear red and are usually thick and elevated. Hypertrophic scars usually start to develop within weeks after an injury to the skin. Hypertrophic scars may improve naturally, although this process may take up to a year or more.
Typically forming after burns, contracture scars occur when the skin “shrinks,” or contracts. The scar formation pulls the edges of the skin together, causing a tight area of skin. The decrease in the size of the skin can then affect the muscles, joints, and tendons, causing a reduction in movement. Second- and third-degree burns result in contractures that need to be seen and treated by a doctor.
How Do You Treat Scars?
Although scars cannot be removed, there are many different treatments to reduce the appearance of scars. Schedule an appointment with our team, and we can determine which one of the following treatments for scars is right for you.
- Topical treatments. Creams and healing ointments are the first line of defense against scarring. Over-the-counter topical treatments, such as Vaseline and Aquaphor, might be somewhat effective in healing scars.
- Microdermabrasion. This much less invasive form of dermabrasion can sometimes be effective in removing the look of smaller, surface-level scarring.
- Laser treatments. These procedures remove the surface layers of the skin using different types of lasers. Newer types of lasers may achieve more subtle results by working on the collagen in the dermis without removing the upper layers of skin.
- Fillers. These treatments can be used to raise sunken scars, including acne scars, to the level of surrounding skin. The effects of these injections are only temporary, however, and the procedures may need to be regularly repeated.
- Microneedling. Multiple small puncture holes are made into the superficial skin to stimulate collagen production and even introduce collagen stimulators or other products to reduce the appearance of scars.
- Surgery. Though it will not remove a scar, surgery can be used to alter a scar's shape or make it less noticeable. Still, it is not recommended for patients with hypertrophic or keloid scars, as there’s a higher risk of more severe scarring.