Scars tell our history, but many times it’s not a story we want to share. While many types can be covered by clothing, visible ones, especially on the face, can be unsightly and even affect self-esteem. Learn what are the causes, the difference between four main types, and what can be done to treat them.
At West Dermatology, our experienced team of medical and cosmetic dermatologists can give you the skilled skin care needed to reduce the appearance of scars and restore your skin. Call us today at 888-554-8740 or fill out the online contact form to schedule a consultation and receive effective scar treatment today.
What are the Causes ?
Scars are caused by the body’s healing process after an injury. They form when the dermis is damaged by a deep cut or abrasion. As the body heals, it forms new collagen fibers to repair the damage, which creates a scar. As with any physical condition, a person’s propensity for scarring will be affected by such factors as gender, age, ethnicity, and skin type.
Many times, scarring can be kept minimal, especially if wounds are treated carefully and quickly. Acne scars, in particular, can be minimized if the condition is quickly treated, and if the patient avoids picking at his or her face.
4 Types of Scars
There are four main types:
- Keloid—These smooth, hard, raised scars are the result of the body producing too much collagen as it heals, thus creating excess scar tissue. The resulting scar typically extends beyond the boundary of the initial injury. This type of scar is more common in children, and people with darker skin. The thickness of a keloid scar may eventually hamper movement.
- Contracture—These scars are typically caused by burns. They tighten skin, which can impair mobility, and can go deeper than the skin, affecting muscles and nerves.
- Hypertrophic—These raised, red scars are similar to keloids but don’t extend beyond the boundary of the injury.
- Acne scars—As if acne itself isn’t bad enough, severe cases often leave acne scars behind. Acne scarsmay resemble deep pits or be more wavelike in appearance. They can also be the result of picking at pimples, so a hands-off policy is encouraged.
For more information on acne scars, visit WebMD.com.
Fortunately, with today’s advanced techniques, there are more ways than ever to make them less visible. Options range from natural remedies to cosmetic and medical procedures. Here are some of the most common:
- Topical treatments—Natural options such as essential oils and cocoa butter cream can help the appearance of minor scars. There are also a number of over-the-counter skin care products available to help reduce their appearance. They should be well covered with sunscreen to help prevent them from further darkening.
- Steroid injections—These injections can help flatten scars, and can also soften the appearance of keloid or hypertrophic scars.
- Radiotherapy—Low-dose, superficial radiotherapy can be used to prevent the recurrence of severe keloid and hypertrophic scarring in people who are especially affected. However, this treatment comes with potential long-term side effects and is only used in the most extreme cases.
- Dermabrasion—Useful for raised scars or for acne scars, dermabrasion involves removing the surface of the skin with special equipment. Note that this treatment varies from microdermabrasion, which is a less aggressive exfoliation technique that removes damaged skin cells by applying a crystalline spray to the body. Microdermabrasion is minimally useful for very superficial scars.
- Laser resurfacing—Similar to dermabrasion, this treatment removes the surface layers of the skin using different types of lasers. New advances mean that the procedure doesn’t remove the upper layers of skin, so there is less recovery needed than with traditional resurfacing or dermabrasion. This procedure can be especially useful for acne scars.
- Filler injections—These procedures can replace the lost collagen in sunken scars with a variety of soft tissue fillers that temporarily “fill them in” to even the level of the skin. Dermal filler treatments may include Juvederm or Restylane.
- Surgical repair—Many types, including keloid and contracture, can be treated with surgery if they are truly life-altering. Check with your doctor to see which ones might respond well.
Scar vs Skin
At West Dermatology, we know that acne scars can mask the skin you want. But they don’t have to be permanently disfiguring. In almost every case, there is a treatment that can minimize or erase the acne scar. To find out more about how to treat your acne scars, contact your local West Dermatology office today, and begin the journey to the smooth skin you were born with.
Next, read about Skin Cancer.