How To Avoid Scars

Unless you cloak yourself in bubble wrap and tape yourself to the couch, you will end up with a scar at some point. Precautions, such as wearing gloves when working in the garden or protective gear when bicycling, can help to circumvent scrapes and cuts which lead to scarring. It is strange to think that scarring is not supposed to be a bad thing. Scar tissue is the body’s way of healing itself after surgery or an injury but nobody is pleased to see a scar form. Scars that are raised, red, itchy or wide may need a form of scar revision to minimize their appearance. However, the best way to avoid a scar is to treat the wound properly. While a doctor will establish proper wound care for a surgical scar, here are some tips to help you avoid scar development:

  • Cleanse the Wound

Wound Care to Avoid ScarsIt is very important to keep the wound properly cleansed. Gently wash the wound with a mild soap and lukewarm water to get rid of germs and remove debris. If dirt and particles remain in the wound after a thorough washing, use tweezers to carefully remove them. Be sure to clean the tweezers with alcohol before removing the fragments. A wound that is clean will heal quicker, neater and is less likely to develop into a scar than one that becomes infected. Hydrogen peroxide and rubbing alcohol are not recommended since alcohol can be irritating to damaged skin and hydrogen peroxide destroys white blood cells needed to repair the wound.

  • Keep the Wound Moist

While some people say to let the wound have air so it can scab over, scabs are not our friends. Scabs allow scarring to occur so keeping the wound moist and covered is a better way to avoid scars. Moisture prevents a hard scab from being able to form since it slows the development of new tissue but it does allow cells to regenerate faster. If the wound is properly cleansed, don’t grab Neosporin or other ointments since they can impede wound cleansing. Instead, apply petroleum jelly to the wound and a bandage. Keeping the wound moist with petroleum jelly can keep the scar from becoming too large, deep or itchy. If a scab does form, do not pick at it. Otherwise, you are likely to get a worse scar.

  • Cover it Up

Research has shown that keeping a bandage on a wound speeds healing by as much as 50%. Cleanse the area, reapply ointment and change the bandage daily to keep the wound clean and free of infection as it heals. Anyone who has sensitive skin can use a non-adhesive gauze pad and paper tape. A large cut should be examined by a doctor to determine whether stitches are needed. However, you may be able to close small cuts or gaps with a butterfly bandage. Butterfly bandages can help keep a fresh wound closed for better healing and minimal scarring. These bandages can be found at most drugstores.

  • Consider Silicone Gel

If you have large scrapes, burns, sores or persistent redness, you may want to consider using silicone gel sheets or hydrogel. Silicone gel sheets can help to promote healing while minimizing scar formation. Silicone gel sheets can also be used after a scar has already formed. They can help to flatten raised scars and tone down redness and/or itchiness. Follow the directions on the package or the advice of a doctor for changing the gel sheet.

  • Eat Healthy and Exercise

Eating a balanced diet and getting exercise can help ward off scars. While protein and vitamins are essential to the body, getting adequate zinc is especially important for wound healing. Grab some roasted pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, Brazil nuts, lean beef or dark-meat turkey to help avoid scarring. Exercise can speed the healing process because exercise increases circulation and regulates the immune system and hormones that influence the healing process.

  • Apply Sunscreen Religiously

Once the wound has healed, frequently apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen whenever going outside. The sunscreen should be a SPF of 30 or more since scars are very vulnerable to sunburns. Scar tissue lacks the ability to develop a tan since it has less pigment than the surrounding skin. Furthermore, UV rays are known to slow healing since they interfere with new collagen production. Sunscreen may help to decrease red or brown discoloration and help the scar fade at a quicker rate.

Scar Tissue after Surgery

People often wonder what their scar is going to look like after surgery. Surgeons can give a general idea of the size, color and appearance of the scar but each person heals differently. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), scar tissue is usually thicker than the surrounding skin as well as pink or red in color. However, the appearance of a scar largely depends on the size and depth of the wound. Also, the age of the patient, location of the wound and the time it takes for the wound to heal are all aspects which can influence the look of the scar.

Understanding Scar Tissue

After Surgery ScarsAfter surgery, the body uses its ability to create scar tissue to heal the new wound. However, excess scar tissue beneath the skin can be troubling even after the wound has healed. The tough, fibrous tissue can cause pain and significantly reduce function or range of motion. This decrease in function may transpire due to the direction of the incision and/or the depth of the wound.

For example, bend and straighten the elbow. The folds that form in the skin are known as Langer’s lines. These lines characterize the direction and orientation of the collagen fibers. While making an incision parallel with the Langer lines can happen in some cases, it is not always possible. This is because most surgeries involve cutting into multiple layers of the anatomy. Each layer that is severed must be repaired. As the collagen fibers begin to rebuild, they tend to be erratic and can cause a tightening which can impede some functions. Likewise, surgery on the knees, wrists, shoulder or ankles is often meant to improve movement and function but scar tissue that forms around the joints can create the opposite effect. Frozen shoulder, a condition some patients experience after surgery, is a buildup of scar tissue around the shoulder joints that can cause irritation and inflammation. This can lead to post-surgical pain and impair the range of motion.

Abdominal and Pelvic Adhesions

Abdominal incisions, such as when a person has their appendix removed, can cause abdominal adhesions. Adhesions are bands of tissue which form between the abdominal tissues and the organs. These bands often cause the usual slippery internal tissues and organs to stick together. This can lead to a twisting and pulling of the small or large intestines which create bowel obstruction and chronic pain. Likewise, pelvic adhesions can form after gynecological surgery and cause pain and infertility in some cases. Using certain surgical techniques, such as creating adhesion barriers, can help reduce these pelvic adhesions. Therefore, patients are encouraged to ask their surgeon how they plan to minimize the risk of adhesions.

Scar Prevention and Treatment

Prior to any surgery, patients should ask how much scarring is expected and what type of preventative treatment is recommended. Anytime the patient is undergoing a procedure that involves surgically manipulating a joint area, the surgeon will recommend moving the joints immediately after surgery. This improves function and also helps to prevent excess scar tissue from forming. Patients are always advised to follow post-surgical recommendations and perform targeted exercises to help stretch the skin and guide joints back into the proper position. Massage therapy and ultrasound therapy may also be used to help soften scars and maintain motion after surgery. Although these scar prevention treatments can help to eliminate an accumulation of scar tissue in many patients, some people still develop debilitating scar tissue. Nevertheless, there are numerous scar treatment options which can improve or lessen the appearance of scars and help patients regain motion.

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Benefits of Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a popular dermatology skin care treatment that is often overlooked since many people do not really know what it is. Microdermabrasion is a non-chemical and non-invasive exfoliating procedure, which uses a handheld device to gently remove the top layer of skin. The treatment does not require recovery or downtime on the part of the patient. The device is made up of superfine crystals, which scratch the surface of the skin. A suction process is then used to immediately remove the dead skin cells and crystals. The process minimizes facial blemishes and fine lines while causing the body to produce new cells. The end result is healthy and more youthful looking skin.

How Microdermabrasion Benefits Patients

MIcrodermabrasionMicrodermabrasion is for all skin types and can benefit a person who has:

  • Fine lines
  • Wrinkles
  • Age spots
  • Clogged pores

It can also minimize acne scars and improve oily or dull skin through the process of gentle exfoliation.

Since the skin is not wounded or abraded below the epidermis, the treatment is painless and no anesthesia is needed. Although microdermabrasion does not abrade the lower levels of skin, it can help promote healthier internal skin by enhancing the circulation. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, patients will only feel a scratching or mild stinging during microdermabrasion. There is no need to take time off work since recovery time is not necessary. Since microdermabrasion can be completed in as little as 30 minutes, it is often called a “lunchtime facial”. However, patients may need several sessions to gain the desired outcome. The skin may appear pink and slightly swollen but these side effects generally subside in one day. Nevertheless, a dermatologist will apply a moisturizer after the treatment and recommend a sun protection plan since the new layer of skin will be subject to burns.

DIY Microdermabrasion

Patients that dislike the sensation of the microdermabrasion device, or those who want to gain results at home, may benefit from a manual microdermabrasion product. Pumice Peel can be used at home or in a spa setting to buff away fine lines and dullness and to improve the condition of the pores with ultra-fine pumice crystals. Pumice crystals are known to naturally exfoliate and smooth the skin. Pumice peel contains hydrogenated polydecene, vitamin E and vitamin C for hydrating and brightening the skin. While performing the treatment at home is convenient, patients may not get sufficient results with home kits. To get optimal results, and to avoid potential complications, it is best to seek the services of a qualified medical professional for microdermabrasion.

SP

Ways to Treat Acne Scars and Marks

Pimples occur due to an inflammation under the skin that is caused by the pores becoming clogged with dead skin cells as well as excess oil and bacteria. Exfoliating the skin with a chemical exfoliant is necessary to keep the skin healthy and clear especially with people who are prone to breakouts. Although many people see themselves as expert pimple poppers, this generally leads to further destruction of the tissue and even an acne scar. Therefore, popping pimples should never be the option. However, some pimples, when left alone, can create a scar on their own. Cystic acne is a type of inflammatory acne which causes painful lesions under the skin. Due to a rush of white blood cells and enzymes in that region, the lesions never really make it to the surface and the infection spills out under the skin’s surface. As the skin tries to heal itself, acne marks and scars may form.

How to Treat Acne scars

Acne Marks VS Acne Scars

An acne mark is not the same thing as a scar but it can still leave the person with noticeable flaws on the skin. People with lighter skin tones usually develop post-inflammatory erythema or marks that appear as red or purple. People with darker skin tones will generally have marks that appear brown in color and this is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These marks generally go away on their own but they can take 6 months or more to disappear. Acne scars are generally formed when the acne lesion destroys the collagen and elastin in the area but they often happen during acne popping or picking. This is because an indentation is created and the body is not able to regenerate the tissue properly and this results in a scar. Therefore, the best way to prevent an acne scar from occurring is to leave it alone. People who are prone to cystic pimple outbreaks may benefit from a cortisone injection to reduce the body’s inflammation levels and pimples within 24 to 48 hours and to lessen the chance of scarring.

Treating Acne Marks and Scars

If acne marks or scarring does occur, there are many treatments which can be used to improve the skin’s appearance.

  • People with darker skin tones may be able to treat a brown mark using an at-home exfoliating product with glycolic or salicylic acid to bring the dark skin cells to the surface
  • Retinoid skin products can be used for both types of acne marks
  • Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen whenever going outside can help to reduce the appearance of marks and scars since the sun can intensify or darken a scar
  • Cortisone cream can be purchased, without a prescription, and used to reduce the appearance of a red or swollen scar
  • Cortisone injections can be used to calm down a red or raised scar
  • Ablative lasers can vaporize the scar and promote smoother skin
  • Non-ablative lasers can promote new collagen formation to fill-in acne scars
  • Dermal fillers can be used to fill-in depressed or “ice pick” scars but this method is temporary and will need repeat treatments, every 4 to 6 months, to maintain the results

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How to Treat Scars on the Scalp?

Scar tissue can form anywhere on the body and this includes the scalp. When scars form within the hairy regions of the body, the tissue becomes damaged and the scar can also destroy the hair follicles. A small scar from an injury or acne, surrounded by healthy tissue, may not be visible to others since it can hide within the surrounding hair follicles. People prone to severe acne or psoriasis or have had significant head injuries or surgery may have regional hair loss. This happens because the fibrous connective tissue that makes up a scar has limited blood flow and restricts healthy hair growth within the scar. Multiple scalp scars, or even one scar, can permanently destroy countless hair follicles and leave a person with noticeable visibility of the scalp. Thankfully, there are several ways to treat scars on the scalp and lessen their visibility.

Scar Scar Treatments

  • Scalp Acne Treatment

Although acne on the scalp may seem irrelevant, it is one of the main causes of hair loss because acne is infected glands in the skin. They can become inflamed, itchy and burst at the surface. The lesion is then replaced by scar tissue. When someone has recurring acne outbreaks, the skin is unable to heal properly and excessive acne scarring can occur and cause baldness. It is best to treat acne issues as soon as possible using an acne wash containing salicylic acid either 2-3 times a week or as directed by a dermatologist. If acne scars already exist, there are some natural treatment options available.

  • Take Vitamin E

Vitamin E has therapeutic properties to increase the rate of wound healing. It is rich in collagen production and can be a natural means to maintaining healthy hair and skin. Vitamin E is full of antioxidant qualities which make it popular for use in beauty products as well as highly recommended by dermatologists. It can help prevent acne and keep scars at bay by promoting a healthy flow of oxygen and blood to the scalp.

  • Scalp Massage

Dead skin cells can form all over the body and they clog the pores and accumulate on scars. Massaging the scalp can help remove dead skin and stimulate blood circulation. Scalp massages can reduce scar tissue build-up and keep the surrounding skin healthier.

  • Itching Solutions

Scar tissue can have some unpleasant side effects such as inflammation and itchiness. In many cases, itchiness can become unbearable and cause the scar to become worse than it already was. Keeping the scalp clean and applying a steroid ointment can help reduce itching and allow the skin to heal more naturally. Depending on the type of scar, certain injections may be beneficial with alleviating inflammation, itchiness and making a raised scar flatter.

  • Hair Extensions and Lasers

Hair extensions can hide thinning or bald patches caused by scarring. Since treatments can take time to improve the appearance of the scar, hair extensions can provide adequate coverage at an affordable cost. In some cases, the scar may not be receptive to non-invasive treatments and may not improve. Therefore, the patient may need to consider alternative treatment options such as laser treatments to reduce the appearance of the scar.

  • Hair Transplant

When scars are left untreated or the skin and hair follicles have been severely damaged, the hair may never regrow. Therefore, some patients turn to a surgical method such as a hair transplant. A hair transplant can reduce the scar and make it less noticeable thanks to the implanted hair follicles. The donor hairs are taken from the back of the patient’s head so any scarring from the transplant technique will be hidden within the patient’s natural hair.

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Natural Ways to Remove Moles without Surgery

Natural Mole Removal

Most people have a mole somewhere on their body. Moles are small spots on the skin that are usually black, brown or flesh colored but they can also be tan, red or pink. Moles are either round, flat or slightly raised and exist with or without hair follicles. Moles form due to a collection of melanocytes which are the cells that produce pigment or melanin. Most moles are benign or non-cancerous. Benign moles are only one color and remain the same in size and shape. Getting rid of mole doesn’t have to involve surgery as there are some natural ways to remove moles.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is used in home remedies for a variety of ailments including the treatment of scars. It is also very popular for mole removal due to its acid content. Apple cider vinegar slowly burns the mole which causes it to scab over and eventually fall off. Apple cider vinegar is also known for its anti-bacterial properties which protect the treatment area from secondary infections. It can be harsh to the skin so, if an irritation occurs to the surrounding skin, discontinue treatment. Don’t be alarmed if the condition of the mole looks worse in the first few days because it will get better.

  • Apply a little petroleum jelly to the skin surrounding the mole (for protection)
  • Dip a cotton ball in the ACV and place it on the mole
  • Use gauze and medical tape to hold it in place for 1 hour
  • Repeat for 10 days which should be enough time for the mole to fall off
  • To make the process faster, use an emery board to gently scrape the mole and then apply the ACV until the mole turns white and then allow it to dry naturally

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil works well for moles that are slightly raised with a shallow root. Like apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil is proven to have anti-bacterial properties to protect the skin. However, tea tree oil can be harsh and some people may be sensitive or allergic to it. Therefore, it is best to test this remedy on a small part of the skin. Minor stinging that goes away in a few seconds is natural but a persistent burning sensation is not.

  • Dip a Q-tip in tea tree oil and gently apply it to your mole
  • Apply an adhesive bandage over the area for 1 hour and then remove
  • Repeat twice a day for about a month

Iodine

Iodine is known to cause cell death and “kill” a mole. The area to be treated should be washed with lukewarm water and patted dry before applying iodine.

  • Gently scratch the surface of the mole with an emery board
  • Protect the surrounding skin from the possibility of pigmentation by applying a little petroleum jelly
  • Apply 1 drop of iodine directly on the mole
  • Cover the mole with gauze and medical tape or adhesive tapes
  • Repeat each day to eliminate the mole within a couple weeks

Garlic

Garlic has been used for various medicinal purposes as it contains enzymes that can break down anomalous cell structures which formed the mole. For this treatment, fresh garlic is needed instead of dried garlic. This treatment works the best just before bed.

  • Slice a clove of garlic in half or just a piece
  • Apply the cut-side of the garlic onto the mole and secure it with medical tape
  • Leave the garlic in place overnight
  • Repeat this process each night to remove a mole within a few weeks

Castor Oil

Castor oil works well to remove several types of skin blemishes such as moles, warts and skin tags. Castor oil is known to be a dissolvent so it has the ability to eliminate skin growths. It can take some time to eliminate the growth since castor oil takes the layers off one at a time. This treatment for removing moles is commonly used on areas such as the face since it has less chance of scars than others. Note: This method can be used with or without baking soda.

  • Mix a few drops of castor oil with a pinch of baking soda
  • Gently rub this mixture onto the mole
  • Allow this mixture to stay on the growth until it dries
  • Repeat twice a day for about a month

Banana Peels

Although it may seem strange, using a banana peel to rid the body of a mole is considered very effective. Banana peels contain numerous enzymes which can dry out a mole and cause it to eventually fall off. For best results, use a ripe banana peel.

  • Cut off a piece of the banana peel and scrape the inside of the peel
  • Place the inside of the peel on the mole with the yellow skin facing outward
  • Use adhesive bandages or medical tape to hold it in place
  • Leave the banana peel on for 1 hour
  • Repeat each day for a few weeks

-SP

Why Scars Heal Differently on the Body

Have you ever noticed that you can have scars on different parts of your body and they look dissimilar? When an injury breaches the layer of the skin, the skin cells and blood vessels become damaged and the body sends excess collagen to quickly repair the region.

Healing Rate of Different Types of Scars

This is the body’s way of forming a barrier to protect it from bacteria and germs. Depending on the amount of collagen sent, it can cause the wound to heal differently and result in scar tissue that looks and feels unlike the rest of the skin. Other factors that impact how a scar heals include:

  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Lifestyle
  • Size and depth of the wound
  • Treatment methods
  • Location of the wound

Below is a quick rundown of different areas of the body and how scars normally heal in these regions.

Knees and Elbows

The knees and elbows are prone to heavy scarring since they are constantly being stretched. Therefore, the skin cannot properly regenerate and heal. The scar tissue may constrict mobility over the joints since the tissue becomes tight and less pliable. Severely limited mobility or pain may require scar revision surgery to improve functionality.

Chest and Shoulders

Per the National Institutes of Health, the chest and shoulder regions have the poorest results when it comes to extensive scarring because areas of tension produce thicker scars which appear more noticeable.

Legs

Scars tend to be thicker and more prominent on the legs since the skin is normally tighter and tougher than other parts of the body. Scars on the legs are inclined to be hypertrophic scars. Hypertrophic scars can be red in appearance and are raised above the surface of the skin.

Abdomen and Stomach

Scars on the abdomen and stomach generally heal well leaving a thinner, flatter scar. Surgical scars can usually be placed below the waistline or bikini line and are rarely seen while wearing everyday clothing. Additionally, this placement keeps the scar protected from the sun for optimal healing and to avoid hyperpigmentation.

The Mouth

When it comes to scars, the inside of your mouth is the best at healing. The intraoral tissue stays moist and can regenerate quickly. However, it is critical to keep the area clean to avoid infection. An infection will slow down scar formation and may generate a larger, denser scar.

Ears

A scar on the ear is generally thick and more prominent than others. This type of scar is generally a keloid scar. Keloids can be found on any part of the body but are common after an ear piercing. Like hypertrophic scars, keloids are red and raised. Unlike hypertrophic scars, keloids extend beyond the edges of the wound. Keloid scars can be minimized with pressure and topical scar treatments.

Preventing and Treating Scars

To keep scars at bay, you should keep the wound clean and moist until it has healed. Serious burns or deep cuts should be evaluated and treated by a doctor. Post-op instructions should be followed as directed to help minimize scarring. Silicone scar treatments can minimize scarring or reduce scars that have already formed. There are many different types of scar treatments available and each type of scar may respond differently to certain treatments. Consult with your doctor about which treatment might be right for your scar.

-SP

Scar Revision Guide

How Can I Treat Scars?

Scar revision surgery minimizes the appearance of a scar by making it blend with the surrounding skin tone and texture. Patients often seek the help of a plastic surgeon after they have exhausted non-invasive treatments such as creams, ointments and silicone sheets. Since there are several types of scars, a doctor will need to evaluate the scar to determine which surgical method is appropriate. The treatment will be determined by several factors including:

  • The anatomical location of the scar
  • Type of scar
  • Skin quality
  • Skin type
  • Availability of surrounding tissue
  • Current functional impairment
  • Possibility of decreased functionality after surgery

Scar Revision with Excision

The most common form of scar revision is excision and primary closure. In fact, scar excision is the most effective method to improve deep, wide or long scars. Excision may be necessary if the scar has healed in an unusual way. This method of scar improvement involves cutting the scar out and then rejoining the skin with layered sutures to close the wound. Although it will create another scar, the new scar will be straight and thin and have a chance to heal more discreetly.

In some cases, the closure may require some tissue arrangement. After cutting the scar away, the surgeon will realign the scar with geometric rearrangements such as a z-plasty to elongate or change the direction of the scar. If a patient does not have enough healthy tissue to suitably close the wound, the surgeon may need to use a skin graft. A pharmaceutical tissue substitution can be used to cover a large area, if needed, in cases such as a patient having large scars caused by burns. After healing from scar revision surgery, the patient generally ends up with a scar that is less noticeable than before. It can take six months before the patient sees an improvement and up to a year to see the final results.

Alternative Treatments

There are many methods for treating scars including non-invasive and natural remedies. However, not all scars will respond to minimal treatment.

Laser therapies are often restricted to treating a recent scar, scars that are persistently red in color and light skin resurfacing for scars.

During scar revision with laser treatments, the surgeon uses a laser light beam on the scar and the surrounding skin. The laser removes the outer layer of skin by burning it off and this begins the regeneration of new skin. After it has healed, the new scar will look smoother as well as lighter in color. It may take multiple sessions to gain the desired appearance. Although laser therapy can make mild improvements, it is not an effective solution for most scars. Deep laser resurfacing and dermabrasion may work well for wide, raised scars that are not appropriate for excision.

Follow Post-Op Instructions

Scar revision is about improvement and not about “erasing” a scar since scars can never be completely removed. Furthermore, the lifestyle of a patient after scar revision surgery can impact the long-term outcome. Following post-op instructions and limiting sun exposure can help the scar heal better. Patients should cover the scar or apply sunscreen SPF 30 (or higher) before going outside to maximize the healing process.

-SP

How to Lessen and Remove Burn Scars

Getting Rid of Burn Scars

Scars form thanks to a natural reaction of the body during the healing process after trauma or an accident. One type of trauma that can cause scars is burns on the body. Shallow burns tend to result in light scars while deep burns can cause darker scars. Here are some of the steps patients can take to lessen and remove burn scars from the body:

Moisturizer Works Wonders

Get some moisturizer and massage the scar to increase the amount of circulation to the scar area. By increasing the amount of circulation, patients are also increasing the chances of collagen being distributed evenly throughout the skin at the area of the scar. Plus, increased circulation helps burn scars fade and flatten when performed on a regular basis.

Chemical Peel

Patients can also schedule a chemical peel to get rid of any damaged skin that is located on the outer layers of the skin. The chemical peel eats away at the damaged skin in order to reveal new healthy skin underneath the damaged or dead skin. The type of chemical peel depends on the severity of the burn and/or the scarring.

Eat Healthy

Protecting the skin from the sun is very important each time patients step outside. The UV rays from the sun can make the scars on the body become darker which, in turn, can make them more visible than ever to others. Using SPF 25 (or higher) sunscreen is necessary to protect the skin and prevent the sun from slowing down the healing process.

Food for the Body and Soul

Eating a healthy diet plays a big part in generating collagen for the skin. A well balanced diet also gives the skin the necessary nourishment it needs to heal and grow. Some of the foods patients should look for include those high in zinc and vitamin C such as peanuts, citrus fruits and some vegetables.

Patients unsure about how to implement the steps listed above should consult with a board-certified doctor. A medical professional can lead patients in the right direction and offer them advice and support when it comes to dealing with scars caused by burns on the body.

-MA

Effective Ways to Say Good-Bye to Scars

Get Rid of Scars

Do you have an unsightly scar you want to get rid of? Are you about to have a procedure and are concerned about how the scar will look afterwards? Scars not only look unappealing but they can also be painful, itchy and restrict natural motion. Thankfully, there are numerous scar treatments to remove or reduce the appearance of scars. However, there are several types of scars including hypertrophic, keloid, acne and atrophic and each may respond better to certain treatments. While some scars may be treated with topical ointments or natural remedies, other scars may need a little more help. The type of treatment will be based on the location of the scar, cause of the scar, its appearance and the type of scar. Let’s look at some effective treatments to say “good-bye” to scars:

Injections

Cortisone injections are one of the quickest and easiest ways to treat a raised or thick scar like a keloid or hypertrophic scar. Either injection can help reduce the production of collagen which causes scars to thicken. Over time, the scar will lighten and flatten out. Injections to treat scars can also calm itchiness, pain and redness associated with these types of scars. Depending on the scar, a series of injections may be needed to attain the desired outcome.

Pulsed Dye Laser

Although the redness in most scars will reduce as time passes, pulsed dye lasers (PDL) can remove the redness from the scar and the surrounding skin. Pulsed dye lasers help to blend the scar with the color of the surrounding skin while also flattening a raised scar. In addition, pulsed dye laser treatments can be performed in combination with injections. However, multiple treatments may be required to obtain the best results.

Non-ablative Laser

This type of laser treatment involves making microscopic injuries to the skin which allows new collagen to form in the area. Over time, non-ablative laser treatments can help raised scars become softer and flatter. This treatment can also be used to help fill-in acne scars and indented scars. Non-ablative laser treatments are safe to use on all skin types but multiple treatments will be needed and should be scheduled about a month apart. Patients can expect their skin to look a little puffy and red and it may take 5 days or more for the skin to return to its normal appearance.

Ablative Laser Treatments

Ablative laser treatments are generally used on dense scars. This method of scar removal usually involves fewer treatments than others but the healing time is lengthier. Healing from ablative laser treatments can take 7 to 14 days because small areas on the top layer of skin are removed during this treatment. Due to the nature of the treatment, this procedure carries greater risks and downtime than other laser treatments. Ablative laser treatments can also be combined with injections for the most optimal outcome.

Micro-needling

Micro-needing works to treat acne and atrophic (sunken) scars. It can also treat raised scars in conjunction with injections or topical treatments. Micro-needing treatments consist of using a small handheld device to distribute numerous fine needles into the skin to stimulate collagen formation. The doctor sets the depth of penetration per the thickness or flatness of the scar. Patients can expect pinpoint bleeding, redness and swelling which should heal within 2 to 3 days. This treatment can be repeated monthly until the desired improvement is made.

Radiofrequency Micro-needling

This treatment is like micro-needling except the device uses micro-needles to distribute heat at various depths. Small areas of coagulated collagen are formed and then progressively replaced with new collagen to fill-in the scars and improve their appearance. This treatment requires multiple sessions and the number of treatments depends on how severe the scars are being treated. Recovery time varies depending on the depth and strength of the radiofrequency treatment. However, patients can expect 2 to 5 days of redness with swelling and bruising.

-SP