Scar Treatment Options

Types of Scar Treatments

Almost everyone has had a scar on their body at one time or another. Scar tissue appears on areas of the body that have been injured and protects the injured section. While it does protect the injured area, many patients consider scar tissue to be less than pleasing to the eye. Some scars heal naturally with few issues in fading and becoming less noticeable. Two of the most common types of scars include:

  • Hypertrophic scars which are scars that are larger than normal that tend to have a lumpy appearance.
  • Keloid scars are scars that become raised and spread beyond the wound due to the overgrowth of collagen.

While some scars fade and are hard to notice on the skin, other scars are not able to be completely removed after they form on the body. However, there are various forms of treatment for all types of scars to make them less noticeable in appearance. Depending on the extent of the scarring, the method of treatment might take weeks, or even months, to make a difference in the appearance of the scar. The following are some of the more common methods used for treating scars:

  • Applying pressure to a scar or placing silicone sheets over it can often improve the appearance of the scar. These treatment options tend to flatten any raised scars and also make them paler.
  • Surgery can be performed on some scars to remove them. It should be noted that the surgery might leave a new scar. However, the new scar might look better in appearance than the older scar.
  • Laser surgery can remove the raised surfaces of keloid or hypertrophic scars.
  • Skin grafts can cover scars created by burns.
  • A doctor may choose to inject corticosteroids, which is a cortisone-like medicine, into the area of a raised scar. The medicine serves to reduce inflammation as well as limit the synthesis of collagen that may have been the cause of the raised scarring in the first place.

Before deciding to undergo any kind of treatment for scars on the body, patients should consult with a doctor. Some scars can be easily treated while others might be considered permanent because they are too hard to remove. Meeting with a board-certified doctor will help a person determine the proper scar treatment to undergo in order to achieve the desired results.

Dangers of Using Accutane

One of the most effective acne treatments for patients who suffer from severe acne scarring is Isotretinoin AKA Accutane. In general, it takes 4 to 5 months for the medication to eliminate cases of acne severe enough to warrant the use of Accutane after all other treatment options have failed. It is also useful in treating acne that has not shown a complete response to creams or antibiotics. Accutane was approved by the FDA in 1982 for use as an acne medication. The American Academy of Dermatology has reported that 85% of patients who use Accutane have results that range from long-lasting to a complete reduction of acne.

Accutane Dangers

How It Works

Accutane belongs to the retinoid medication class which includes drugs that are used in cancer treatments. In fact, the drug was originally marketed as a chemotherapy drug. Accutane works by controlling the oil located in the sebaceous gland and is most often used to treat acne with nodules that are 5-mm or larger in diameter. The dosage of Accutane taken by a patient depends on his or her body weight. As mentioned above, it can take up to 4 or 5 months for the treatment to eliminate the acne.

Side Effects

As effective as Accutane is for treating severe acne, it is also known to cause side effects that range from mild to severe.

Some of the milder, and most common, side effects include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Dry eyes
  • Cracked/Peeling skin
  • Pain in the back, joints and muscles
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen or Bleeding gums

There are also a number of serious side effects associated with Accutane and they include:

  • Psychiatric disorders such as depression, aggressive behavior and suicidal thoughts
  • Inflamed bowels
  • Pancreas inflammation
  • Pseudotumor cerebri (a buildup of pressure in the skull that mimics a brain tumor)
  • Bone loss

Birth Defects

Accutane has been known to cause birth defects in women. As far back as 1985, the FDA added a black box warning telling pregnant women (or women who hope to become pregnant) not to use Accutane because of possible birth defects including fetal deformities and potential fetal death. These potential birth defects can happen even if Accutane is only taken for a short period of time by a woman who is pregnant. Some of the serious birth defects that can occur include:

  • Eye and ear abnormalities
  • Cleft palate
  • Problems with the heart and brain
  • Facial dysmorphia
  • Central nervous system malformations
  • Fetus death

Interactions with Other Drugs

Anyone who uses Accutane should be aware of how it interacts with other drugs. Patients need to consult with a board-certified physician before making the decision to actively use Accutane. While the label on the medication informs patients of the lengthy list of interactions, here are some of the most common interactions associated with Accutane:

  • Vitamin A – Toxicity can be the result if used with Accutane
  • John’s Wort – Taking this product while also using Accutane can decrease birth control effectiveness and lead to pregnancy
  • Tetracycline – When combined with Accutane, the risk of pseudotumor cerebri increases
  • Phenytoin – Since this drug can cause low mineral density in bones and Accutane can cause bone loss, the two should not be taken at the same time

Treating Scar Formations

Scars and scar formation are some of the most commonly misunderstood medical concepts. If a person undergoes surgery, for cosmetic reasons or otherwise, having a scar is one of the things they should expect. Most patients assume if the operation was performed by a plastic surgeon, there won’t be any scarring. Scars always form but some surgeons are better than others at hiding them.

Scarring is the body’s way of healing itself after an injury. In fact, it is the final phase of the body’s wound healing process. A scar is a direct result of damage from accidents, burns, skin conditions, surgery and trauma. Something as simple as having piercings in your body can cause scars to form.

The body’s wound healing process comes in multiple stages. The first phase involves the sealing of the wound by blood clots to prevent further blood loss and infection. This is followed by a series of events that lead to the formation of collagen to actually repair and fully heal the wound. Wounds that are left to heal on their own produce scars that are a bit worse than those which are closed through stitches. It can take at least a year for a scar to completely heal. Once healed, a scar may appear as a fine line that is minimally visible or as a thick scar like hypertrophic scars and keloids.

Scars are treated using various methods. The choice of treatment depends on how thick and big the scar is. Small and soft scars are best managed by massaging them with moisturizer once or twice a day for a few minutes. The moisturizer should contain ingredients like vitamin E and cocoa butter for maximum results. Sun exposure must also be avoided as much as possible to keep the scars from turning dark. On the other hand, thicker and more extensive scars such as hypertrophic scars, keloids and burn scars can heal properly by using silicone gel sheets.

In recent years, steroids have also been prescribed as a treatment for scaring. Topical steroids alone, or in combination with other scar treatment products, have been proven to improve scar formation in some patients. Steroids administered through injections are said to be effective on hypertrophic scars and keloids. A series of injections is required when using steroids in intervals ranging from six to eight weeks. The most common side effect of injected steroids is the formation of a dent on the site where it is administered. Steroids may be combined with surgical excision especially in cases involving keloids. This combination treatment is usually effective although there is still a possibility for recurrence.

If the treatments listed above fail to produce any response, the patient may try a less common treatment option like radiation therapy. Stubborn keloids respond well to low-dose radiation following surgical treatment. Radiation therapy does raise some concerns due to the risk of long-term complications. Laser treatment is another option but the results vary and some patients find using lasers to be an ineffective treatment.

Scarring should be expected by a patient no matter what type of plastic surgery procedure they are having performed. The key to effectively managing the lasting effects of a scar is knowing how to treat and minimize the long-term effects of any scar formations.

Scar Treatment and Removal Tips

Scars are unwanted things that can be a result of surgical procedures, burns, injuries and the removal of moles and acne. Scars develop due to any pull or tension that lasts for too long. Thankfully, there are a variety of methods to help reduce and remove scars.
Cosmetic surgery procedures can remove scars. There are a variety of methods and treatments that can be used to treat and remove scars including:

• A procedure called dermabrasion can lighten scars. An instrument called a wire brush is used to remove the upper layer of skin and, in turn, makes the scar light in appearance.

• Natural remedies used for dealing with scars include the use of lemon, aloe vera gel and onions. These items are rubbed on the scars and left on there for some time. Natural products like lemon, aloe vera and onion possess anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce skin irritation. They are known to reduce scars and help new skin cells to develop. Natural remedy methods take more time to show their results.

• Silicone gel sheeting is known to reduce scars. It is applied to the affected area and should be used for 3 or 4 months to get rid of scars.

• Steroids are also known to lighten scars. Steroids are injected on the skin that has the scar and converts the raised part of the scar into a flattened one. This procedure takes longer than others to get rid of any scars.

• Laser procedures can be used to remove the upper skin that is affected by scars by making the scar lighter. The laser is also used to activate collagen that helps the new cells to generate and cover the scar.

• Concealers can be used to cover the scar temporarily. In this method, a concealer that matches the skin color is used to cover the scar. It will make the scar invisible for some time.

• Creams can be applied to the scars. If the scar is not very deep, it can lighten up in 3 or 4 months.

• Vitamin E is helpful in dealing with scars by regenerating the skin and redeveloping the treated area. Vitamin E supplements as well as creams and lotions that contain Vitamin E are available at almost any grocery store or drug store. After applying the lotion to the scar, the skin regeneration starts and the scar will disappear within some months depending on the deepness of the scar.

• Dermatologists can apply chemicals on the skin that peel the scar away and allow the new skin to develop. They lighten up the scar and it eventually disappears. Chemical peeling is the name of this method and the chemical used for peeling of the skin is light acid.

• Scrubbing is also a method for treating scars. Exfoliation with a scrub needs to be regularly performed on the scarred area. The scrub must contain alpha hydroxyl acid to help make the scar disappear. The scrubs should be used as directed by a physician after a careful examination of the scar and skin type.

Scars can be lightened, or even removed, by following the steps mentioned above. Sometimes it takes a good amount of time to diminish deep scars depending on the deepness of the scar and the regeneration ability of the skin. A patient should consult with a dermatologist before starting any scar treatments.

What is a Scar?

Many of us will have the experience of getting scars, but some may wonder what is a scar? Scars occur when the skin starts to heal itself. Once the upper layer of the skin is damaged, a person’s body begins to form collagen fibers to close the wound. Once the wound is completely healed, scars will begin to form. There are many factors that can cause scars to form different shapes and colors.

Pale scarScars start off by appearing red in color, which is when the blood vessels are inflamed and damaged. This part is known as hyper pigmented scars. Once a scar matures, the skin pigment will be lost and the color will change to white, which is known as hypo pigmented. Scars take approximately six to twelve months to completely heal and become white. The size, shape, and depth of the scar are all factors that contribute to how the scar will look after completely healing. In order to prevent darker scarring and infection, it is important to always keep the scar area clean and moist, during the healing process.

Although you can never get rid of scars, there are many treatment options now that can help to camouflage the look of the scar. Some types of treatments are topical creams, surgery, dermabrasion, steroid injections, laser resurfacing, and filler injections. Depending on where your scar is located and the size of the scar, your doctor can recommend you to try one of the treatments.