A scar is just the body’s way of healing itself and is a perfectly normal reaction to an injury that damages the skin. They can be the result of accidents or medical procedures, but one thing is certain, many people can become self conscious about their scars and want to explore their options for scar removal. Technically, a scar can never be fully removed, but certain procedures can be conducted to drastically minimize the appearance of scars. Most small types of scars will become almost invisible over time, but others might become thick, raised scars that extend even beyond the original area of the injury that caused it. Below are some of the most common types of scar removal options that dermatologists will recommend, depending on the type and cause of the scar.
Microdermabrasion and Dermabrasion: A non-invasive and non-chemical procedure, microdermabrasion is a process that removes outer layers of dead and dry skin to reveal healthier and younger looking skin. Microcrystals are sprayed onto the area of the scar and encourage the skin to produce new skin cells with higher levels of collagen and elastin (what makes the skin appear tight and youthful). More intensive than microdermabrasion, dermabrasion is a similar method that is used to treat more extreme scars and damage to the skin that is deeper than microdermabrasion would be able to reach. Depending on the size and location of the scar, either method may be recommended by a dermatologist.
Collagen Injections and Fat Transfer: When a scar appears as an indentation or groove in the skin, it’s because the structure beneath the damaged skin has been damaged to the point where the skin “collapses” in on itself. To replace these damaged structures, dermatologists may use collagen or fat from a patient’s own body to recreate the supporting structure beneath the scar to make the indentation or groove almost unnoticeable.
Laser Scar Removal: Dermatologists can now remove a large number of scars by using focussed, high-energy lights to remove or reshape areas of the skin affected by scarring. Different types of lasers are used for different types of scars, but a dermatologist will be able to determine what kind of laser will work best for the scar to be removed.
Surgical Scar Removal: While very effective at removing scars, surgical scar removal is kind of a catch-22 because surgery will naturally create additional scars. Surgery is often only recommended for scars that are considered large, raised, and/or prominent by a dermatologist. In the hands of a skilled dermatologist, the scarring created by surgically removing a prominent scar is often well contained and kept to a minimum.
Anyone considering scar removal options should always consult a dermatologist before having a procedure performed. Using the wrong procedure on a scar can cause unnecessary pain and may further damage to the area of skin that a patient wants to repair. A dermatologist may also recommend using certain non-invasive procedures before prescribing something as invasive as surgery, but only talking with an experienced dermatologist will reveal the best course of action a patient should take.