What are scars? Scars are the result of the body’s natural healing process. When an injury to the skin occurs, the body forms new collagen fibers to mend the wound. This is what we refer to as scars. These fibers may look different in color or texture from the surrounding skin. Scars do not typically pose a threat to one’s health. However, the inconsistency in appearance may be significant enough that people want to remove the scar.
Types of scars
A scar can result from any injury to the skin including, but not limited to, cuts, incisions, diseases, acne and other skin conditions. There are different kinds, depending on how each individual’s body heals.
Keloids are one type. Keloids are raised, often dark-colored bumps. Too much collagen is produced and the scar grows beyond the size of the wound. Keloids are more common in dark-skinned people.
Similarly, hypertrophic scars are the result of too much collagen, but these are more common where there is a lot of tension on the skin.
Healed skin may also be flat and smooth, lighter in color than the surrounding skin, and it may even be sunken. This occurs when muscle or fat underneath the scar is missing because of a significant injury.
Acne scars can be pitted or depressed. Treatment of acne is important to minimize its long-term effects. Acne scars can be minimized by laser treatment or bleaching creams if discoloration is present. If pitting has occurred, filler injections can fill in the depressions temporarily.
Depending on the type and severity of the scar, it can be treated in many ways. Keloids and hypertrophic scar tissue can be prevented by immediate use of silicone cream or silicone sheets following surgical excision. Another treatment option is steroid injections to reduce the size of the keloid. Topical or injected cortisone or laser scar revision surgery may also prove effective.
Some superficial scars can be treated with laser resurfacing. A laser is used to remove the top layers of the scar until it is flush with the surrounding skin. Microdermabrasion can also be effective on superficial blemishes.
How can you tell what is the best treatment plan for your unique situation? A dermatologist can assess each scar and not only properly identify its type, but offer the best course of action to remove or minimize its appearance.