What is a Scar?
A scar is a mark left on the skin by the healing of injured or damaged tissue. Scars can be disfiguring, can cause unnecessary unhappiness, and contribute to low self-esteem and self-confidence. In some cases, they can be painful reminders, either psychologically or physiologically, of medical conditions, previous trauma or accidents.
Scars can be raised (hypertrophic), or sunken (atrophic), pigmented – brown, white or red, numb or painful. Scars can result from a variety of causes, including surgery, traumatic accidents or by medical conditions such as acne. The degree of scarring depends on many factors and is highly individual.
Reducing the Appearance of Scars
In some cases, the appearance of scars can improve with time, particularly when they occur in younger individuals and children. Unfortunately, in a lot of cases, significant scarring can remain permanent, causing stress, frustration, discouragement and in some cases, constant discomfort and pain for the patient.
With modern technology and advances in medical understanding of the scar process, the majority of scars can be dramatically improved both cosmetically and functionally.
Scars are complicated reactions of damaged tissue and consequently require advanced training and skill in order to treat them effectively. A dermatologist, assess your scar / scarring condition, and recommend the appropriate treatment options for your particular presentation and ensure that treatment is administered correctly.
Treatments for scarring include:
- A variety of laser therapies
- Surgical excision and subcision techniques
- Peeling procedures
- Injections with medicines such as cortisone and 5FU
- Topical treatments
The choice of a particular treatment for your scar will depend on several factors, including but not limited to:
- The type and degree of scarring
- Duration and location of the scar
- The patient’s skin type and colour
- The cause of the scar
The majority of scars are treated with a combination of several different treatment modalities in order to achieve the most dramatic and long lasting results.
Laser Scar Treatment
The appearance of most scars can be vastly improved by a variety of laser treatments. In fact, laser scar treatment in some capacity is currently one of the most effective ways to improve or remove scars in the majority of cases. At Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, we commonly use a combination of the Elite MPX Nd:YAG 1064 laser and Elite IPL, the Cynergy PDL and Nd:YAG 1064, the Palomar Icon IPL, and the SmartSkin Co2 for scar reduction / improvement.
Surgical Scar Treatment
In some cases, surgical excision of the damaged tissue or scar with reattachment of the skin provides the most acceptable scar revision results. This may or may not be used in conjunction with subcision, a procedure where the hardened scar tissue beneath or within the skin is mechanically broken up or released with a surgical instrument.
Punch grafting is a useful surgical procedure where damaged, scarred tissue is surgically removed through the use of a small circular scalpel device, called a punch. The resulting small hole in the skin is then filled with healthy skin grafted from a nearly site.
Chemical Peel Scar Treatment
Superficial and mid-depth scarring of the skin can also be effectively improved using some peeling procedures. We use TCA chemical peels in patients that have widespread, superficial scarring on the face (often resulting from acne). Chemical peels can also be very effective on the neck, chest, shoulders and back – areas where laser resurfacing for scarring can be problematic.
You don’t have to be bothered by unwanted, embarrassing or painful scars. Call Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery for a complimentary consultation. We will assess your skin type and suitability for scar treatment. We will discuss all of your options and come up with the most appropriate, safest, and most effective scar treatment strategy for you while carefully considering your scar concern, your schedule, your treatment objectives and your budget.