A scar is the body’s natural way of healing and replacing lost or damaged skin. A scar is usually composed of fibrous tissue. Scars may be formed for many different reasons, including as a result of infections, surgery, injuries, or inflammation of tissue. Scars may appear anywhere on the body, and the composition of a scar may vary – appearing flat, lumpy, sunken, colored, painful, or itchy.
The final look of a scar depends of many factors, including the skin type and location on the body, the direction of the wound, the type of injury, age of the person with the scar, and his/her nutritional status. Scars usually fade over time. Make-up can help cover the scar while it is healing. Some scars can be minimized by certain dermatologic techniques. However, treatment can only improve the appearance of a scar, but cannot completely erase it.
The following are some of the more common scar-minimizing procedures offered at Lane Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgery and Lane Aesthetics in Columbus, GA:
Dermabrasion may be used to minimize small scars, minor skin surface irregularities, surgical scars, and acne scars. As the name implies, dermabrasion involves removing the top layers of skin with an electrical machine that “abrades” the skin. As the skin heals from the procedure, the surface appears smoother and fresher.
Chemical peels are often used to minimize sun-damaged skin, irregular pigment, and superficial scars. The top layer of skin is removed with a chemical application to the skin. By removing the top layer, the skin regenerates, often improving the skin’s appearance.
One type of collagen, which is derived from purified bovine (cow) collagen, is injected beneath the skin to replace the body’s natural collagen that has been lost. Injectable collagen is generally used to treat wrinkles, scars, and facial lines.
These types of injections can help soften and then shrink hard scars.
Cryosurgery can help reduce the size of scars by freezing the top skin layers. The freezing causes the skin to blister.
Laser treatments use high-energy light to burn away damaged skin. Laser resurfacing may be used to minimize wrinkles and fine scars. Surgical scar revision involves removing the entire scar surgically and rejoining the skin. Although a new scar will form, the goal of the surgical technique is to create a less obvious scar. Surgical scar revision is usually reserved for wide or long scars, scars that healed in an unusual way, or scars in very visible places.