After enduring physical trauma, like surgical incisions or traumatic injuries to the skin, the body finds a way to heal but leaves some signs of damage behind in the form of scars.
It’s quite challenging to treat scars effectively. Most scars will never vanish completely, but there are ways to diminish their visibility with the help of a skilled plastic surgeon or dermatologist. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective treatments for making scars less visible.
Steroid injections can reduce the visibility of scars, although they can take some time to work and may not be fully effective on their own. Corticosteroid injections work best in treating certain hypertrophic and keloid scars. Your doctor will administer the steroids to the scar to reduce swelling or to encourage deflation.
Depending on the severity of the scar, you may need multiple injections. Injections usually are administered every three to four weeks as the doctor monitors your body’s response to the treatment. Usually, patients receive a series of three injections. If the scars improve, treatment may commence for several months.
Silicone scar treatments can come in the form of gels or sheets, and they are typically recommended for healing skin (but never on open wounds). If you have been complaining of itchiness and discomfort in your scar, then silicone could be the ideal treatment for you. Silicone treatments improve the volume, color, firmness, and elasticity of keloid and hypertrophic scars.
Your doctor will prescribe one silicone treatment that you will be required to apply to the scar for twelve hours a day. The therapy may stretch over three months while being monitored.
This scar treatment technique uses liquid nitrogen to cool a scar and its adjacent tissues to below-freezing temperatures. Medical professionals recommend cryotherapy during the early stages of keloid scar formation as the treatment may flatten the affected tissues and stop them from developing. Cryotherapy is most effective when combined with other treatments such as steroid injections.
In this category, there are two types of laser therapies: non-ablative and ablative. When your doctor wants to flatten scar tissue and make it less apparent, they will usually suggest ablative laser therapy. On the other hand, the non-ablative laser technique can be used effectively to interfere with and cut off the blood supply within a scar, killing off the underlying tissue.
During laser therapy for scar removal, your doctor will concentrate pulses of light into the scar tissue. Laser treatments may remove the top layers of the skin while stimulating collagen production in the underlying skin layers. According to researchers, this treatment creates remarkable results for patients with keloid scars, hypertrophic scars, and surgical scars.
Topical Medications: Skin Creams or Gels
Your favorite pharmacy may have effective over-the-counter skin medications such as gels and creams that can help with your scars. Antihistamine gels might help with sensitive and itchy scars. By preventing further itching, these products will help contain the spread of the scar and encourage healing.
Corticosteroid creams can sometimes help as well. They are thought to prevent scarring and to make scars less visible. You should also add sunscreen into your scar care regimen to avoid further skin damage when the scar is exposed to the sun.
Although these creams and gels do work, they require patience and persistence. Ask your plastic surgeon or dermatologist to recommend a good topical scar treatment cream or gel.
The technique involves rolling a small instrument equipped with many tiny needles across a prominent scar to resurface the area. Micro-needling methods can reduce surface scars by encouraging the skin to renew itself.
After treatment, you will notice that your skin is reddish, swollen, or sore. However, the irritation from micro-needling should go away after a week or two. Most experts recommend multiple sessions to achieve optimal results.
Also known as pressure therapy, these dressings are applied under specialized supervision and are mostly preferred for treating massive burn scars and skin grafts. The technique aims at softening and flattening scars.
A qualified practitioner will apply pressure dressing made from elastic material to the scar tissue. Despite the mechanical pressure from the dressings, people are expected to wear them for at least 23 hours a day for six to twelve months.
Makeup and Cosmetics
Even with treatment, scars do not vanish entirely. The goal of these treatments is simply to reduce the visibility of the scars. The good news is that certain cosmetics and makeup can be used to cover scars almost completely. Commonly known as skin camouflage, these cosmetics are applied to scars to cover the blemishes on the skin.
Makeup can particularly be useful for facial scars, although it is a temporary solution that can be washed off. If you are interested in skin camouflage treatments, fully trained practitioners will examine your skin color and recommend makeup that matches your skin tone for uniformity. Although they aren’t permanent, some last up to two or three days even when washed.
Scar revision with surgical intervention usually is the last resort when all other treatments have failed. Surgery may improve the appearance of a scar by:
- Reducing its visibility using a skin graft
- Distorting it to appear more natural
- Removing a tight scar that’s close to a joint to increase mobility
Due to its invasive nature, scar revision surgery isn’t suitable for everyone. Your doctor will take a good look at your scar and determine if surgery is your best bet.
Dr. Shervin Naderi and his colleagues at the Naderi Center are experts in their respective fields and together offer a wide range of treatments. If you have been looking for the ultimate cosmetic solution to your scars or another issue, visit our clinic at Reston. Our lead surgeons are experienced specialists who are ready to learn more about your goals and expectations, help you regain your confidence, and allow you to reclaim your appearance.