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:
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.
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-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.
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.