Scars: Healing After Healing
Our bodies are miraculous! Our natural healing powers protect and repair in amazing ways. Part of that process includes scarring as the body forms new collagen to suture the dermis—the thick, outermost layer of skin. This fresh tissue looks and feels different from the skin around it, but please don’t lament your scars. They show that you’ve lived and survived and most everyone has some!
A Scar Is Not Simply a Scar: There Are Many Facets
Since all scars are not created equal, each one needs to be individually evaluated to determine the right treatment approach. A lot depends on its depth, size, and location on the body as well as how it happened, how it was treated, and how old it is. Please consult a doctor at the time of an injury in order to maximize healing and minimize scarring. A person’s genetics, age, ethnicity, and sex play in as well. The following questions will help determine the type of treatment best suited to the scar.
Is it raised or flat?
Keloid scars are raised and often extend beyond the original wound. They are the result of an overly exuberant healing process that creates an overgrowth of scar tissue. Keloids can also continue to grow over time.
Hypertrophic scars are also thickened and raised, but do not grow beyond the original scar site.
The mainstay of treatment for both of these types of raised scars is cortisone injections done in-office. Usually, 1-6 treatments are given monthly depending on the individual scar. Silicone sheeting or gel is used in lieu of this or in between cortisone treatments. Try our epiderm silicone sheeting or xeragel silicone gel.
Another option is the VBeam laser, an in-office treatment that can help soften thick, raised scars by stimulating collagen production with gentle bursts of light. Multiple sessions are usually required with most patients noticing improvement 6-8 weeks after their initial treatment.
What color is it?
If a scar is flat then its color determines the course of action.
Scars that are brown may respond to a lightening cream such as melaquin, a prescription-grade hydroquinone (must be purchased in the office).
Pink scars may benefit from our SkinMedica scar recovery gel, which gently exfoliates while encouraging cell renewal. The VBeam laser may also help.
If the scar is a little lighter than the natural skin tone, this indicates a superficial situation that may be best left alone. However, microneedling might offer some benefit. Microneedling creates tiny controlled wounds to the skin that encourage the growth of new elastin and collagen. This has a tightening effect that can reduce the appearance of even fine scars. If the scar really bothers you it’s worth a try since it involves minimal downtime—you might see pink or mild redness and slight tightness to the skin for a few days.
Is it sunken in or depressed?
Scars that are depressed will benefit from lasers or fillers injected directly into them. Uneven and depressed scars can also benefit from microneedling.
Softer depressions may respond to microdermabrasion, which uses crystals to cause gentle abrasions. This is a safe and effective way to stimulate new cells and regenerate collagen. A series of 6 treatments is generally recommended.
Is it wide or linear?
A wide scar often occurs when you should’ve gotten stitches. The wound is just too deep for the body to produce a narrow, well-healed scar. Or maybe you did get stitches, but the wound was in a high-action area like the elbow or knee. These areas see a lot of movement and stretching, which pulls the wound apart each time the body attempts to heal it. The nature of the injury can also cause your scar to be wide.
Every treatment plan needs to be customized to the individual. For example, a common concern is a C-section scar. These can be pink and linear, but they may also be keloidal or hypertrophic. In the latter more visually dramatic case, a patient may benefit from cortisone injections, VBeam laser treatments, and silicone gel or sheeting plus SkinMedica scar recovery gel. But as you can guess, that plan would be overkill in a subtler situation.
And don’t forget, the treatment plan evolves as improvements are seen.
We highly recommend coming in to have your scar(s) evaluated. Let’s see what it is about the scar that’s making you see it as a scar. There may be multiple factors at play and that leads us to the right treatment plan with the best possible result for you. Don’t go it alone!
Ready to treat your scars?
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