Many media campaigns will tell us to wear our scars with pride as each one tells a story, but in reality, this may not be the case for everyone – for some, they can be highly distressing and greatly impact on our confidence. Whether as a result of major surgery or even a minor scratch, we are often left with the indelible marks of the body’s natural healing process.
Although it is not usually possible to removal it completely, the good news is that there are many surgical and non-surgical procedures that can greatly improve a scar’s appearance and make it less conspicuous.
All scars – whether due to surgery, an accident, a burn, acne or a skin condition – are formed due to the same process. When the skin is traumatised, the body produces collagen to build up the area where the tissue has been damaged. This collagen strengthens the wound, covering up the opening so bacteria is kept out and the underlying tissue can continue to function.
Although scarring follows the same process, everyone heals in a unique way. The different types of trauma to the skin and the location also determine the type of scarring you’re left with. Understanding this is essential to providing the appropriate scar reduction treatment.
Different types of scars and scar treatment options
This is the general term for raised scars that are formed when your body produces too much collagen during the healing process. They stay within the boundaries of the wound but are raised and red and can be itchy and painful. Recommended treatment: either a topical steroid treatment or a course of steroid injections may be advised. Wearing a pressure garment can also help reduce the appearance of hypertrophic scars. If they are still a cause for concern, scar revision surgery aims to replace a poorly healed scar with an improved scar that will heal well.
Like hypertrophic scars, it’s thought that keloid scars form as a result of an over-production of collagen. However, keloid scars grow beyond the original wound and can look very swollen and shiny. They can also form many months or years after a small injury to the skin. These can be challenging to treat – sometimes scar revision surgery is not advised as a new keloid scar could potentially form. Recommended treatment: steroid injections or other steroid products can help reduce the appearance of keloid scarring. If scar revision surgery is performed, you will be advised about wearing compression garments and steroid treatments that can optimise the healing process.
These are sunken, pitted scars and occur when some of the underlying structure has also been damaged and lost. A deep surgical scar will sometimes have this appearance. Recommended treatment: Subcision involves breaking up the fibres that connect the scar to the tissue underneath and it can lift indented scars as well as stimulate collagen production. During scar revision surgery, the new scar may be positioned so its less visible or reduce tightness and tension in the scar, so it blends in better with the surrounding tissue.
Boxcar, Rolling and Ice Pick Scars
These are all types of atrophic scar and are common after acne. A boxcar scar presents as a broad indentation with sharp, well-defined edges. This can be the result of chicken pox, for example. Rolling scars are similar to boxcar scars, but shallower with smooth edges that give the skin an uneven look. Ice pick scars are narrow and deep and can be more challenging to treat. Recommended treatment: Dermal fillers can add volume, so a sunken scar is level with the surrounding tissue. iPixel fractional laser resurfacing creates controlled microscopic wounds to stimulate collagen production, improving the scar’s appearance.
Most scars start red and then become white over time, but vascular scars stay reddish in colour because of blood vessels very near the surface of the skin. Recommended treatment: Laser treatments are highly effective and VBeam can specifically target red blood vessels.
Often the skin is left darkened and discoloured after a wound has healed as a result of the inflammation response. Recommended treatment: The Obagi Blue Radiance Peel contains Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) which is indicated as an excellent treatment for the removal of blemishes and hyperpigmentation.
Often scars don’t respond to just one type of treatment; at Karidis Clinic we offer both surgical and non-surgical procedures which can be used in combination to produce the optimal result. The first step is always to evaluate the age, size, colour, location, texture and tension of the scar and then provide you with a bespoke treatment plan. Call 0207 432 8727 to arrange your scar revision consultation today.