Collagen Injections for Scars

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it is found in the skin, bones, and cartilage of a person. Patients often decide to have collagen injections in order to replenish the natural collagen in the skin as well as treat the appearance of scars on the body.

Let’s take a look at what is involved in collagen injections and how they can help reduce and improve the appearance of scars.

Collagen Injections Explained

In general, collagen injections are a cosmetic procedure that is performed by placing collagen under the skin to give the treated area a smoother and plumper appearance. The collagen injection can be made of human collagen, or it can be made of bovine collagen. In addition to improving the appearance of scars, collagen can provide a smoother and more youthful look to facial areas such as the eyes (crow’s feet), forehead and mouth (frown lines).

Collagen Injections for Scars – Options for Patients

In the past, patients with scars had to either live with them or they had to undergo a surgical procedure to remove the scar. The good news is that scars can often be corrected with collagen injections.

Bellafill is a long-lasting dermal filler that has been approved for the treatment of some scars. Bellafill is made of collagen from cows (bovine collagen) and the injection of Bellafill adds missing volume to lift the skin. In addition, the injection adds small Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) beads to provide additional support to the skin. The collagen will eventually be reabsorbed by the body, but the PMMA beads remain to support the skin and promote the development of further collagen. The patient must not have an allergy to bovine collagen, and it is available for both male and female patients.

Collagen injections are considered to be soft tissue fillers and they are an ideal option for improving the appearance of hollow or sunken (depressed) scars. The injection stimulates the growth of collagen and it also elevates the skin depression that results from the scar.

Collagen injections for scars

Collagen Injections – How Long Do They Last?

While collagen injections are considered to be permanent, the final results have been reported to last for up to five years. The final results can be prolonged if the patient decides to have follow-up treatments/additional injections before the five-year period is over. Some patients decide to have treatment once or twice per year to maintain the results.

Either way, additional treatments will be necessary in order to maintain the desired look to the scar that is treated with a collagen injection.

Collagen Injections – How Long does it Take for the Results to Appear

The effects of collagen injections are visible almost immediately but keep in mind that it can often take several weeks or months to gain the final results. The immediate changes are welcomed by patients who want to walk out of their appointment with skin that has a radiant and more youthful appearance.

Collagen Injections – Are There any Risks?

The doctor will administer a skin test before injecting the collagen which means serious reactions to the treatment are very rare. However, there are some possible side effects that are often found with other cosmetic procedures:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Infection located at the site of the injection
  • Discomfort
  • Skin rash
  • Itching
  • Lumpy skin

The collagen treatments can be placed in multiple areas of the body. The part of the body chosen by the patient is often one where a scar is visible to others. They usually want to lessen or reduce the visibility of the scar as they are often self-conscious about its appearance on the body.

There are several steps patients can take to minimize any possible risks.  The first step was mentioned earlier which is undergoing a test to make sure there is no allergy to the collagen injection.

Patients should make sure to visit a licensed and experienced medical provider when choosing a doctor. They should read actual patient reviews and ask questions when they meet with the doctor. Addressing any questions or concerns in advance will make the patient feel more confident about having the treatment.

Patients should never attempt to perform the treatment on their own body with collagen fillers that they purchased from another source, they should closely follow any post-treatment instructions provided by the doctor to ensure an easy recovery and optimal results. Call the doctor right away if the side effects are more severe than expected.

While the risks are normally not very severe, patients should still monitor their recovery and contact the doctor if they have any additional concerns or conditions that appear after the collagen injections are performed. It is important for the patient to keep in contact with the doctor as the medical professional can answer questions, prescribe a treatment plan and help the patient to successfully treat any side effects.

Facial Scar Treatment – How it is Performed

Facial scar treatment is performed to minimize or improve the appearance of scars on the face with both surgical and nonsurgical methods. There are various facial scar treatments, and the best method depends on the type of scarring and the ability of their body to heal itself.

Scars can be raised, indented or flat in appearance and some nonsurgical options for facial scar treatments include corticosteroid injections, lasers, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. Surgical facial scar treatment, which is also known as scar revision, involves the removal or cutting out of the scar so it can heal in a more aesthetically pleasing manner.

Facial Scar Treatment – Ideal Candidates

An ideal candidate for a facial scar treatment includes patients bothered by their facial scarring such as acne scarring or flat, raised, and red scars. It does not include patients with an active acne breakout or someone with certain skin conditions or skin diseases in the treatment area.

Facial Scar Treatment – How it is Performed

Facial scar treatment procedures are usually performed in an office and the procedure time and technique depends on the type of treatment.

Raised and/or red scars are typically treated with cortisone injections, but compression bandages can also be applied to help reduce the redness as well as flatten the scar. Microdermabrasion, laser treatments or chemical peels can treat indented scars and some flat scars. During these treatments, the facial area is numbed with a topical cream or a fan blowing cool air may be used to ease discomfort. A special sanding tip, chemical or laser is applied or passed over the skin to remove the top layers of skin and reveal new, fresher-looking skin.

Scar revision is a surgical procedure that involves cutting out the scar and then the doctor closes the new wound with stitches. A hollow, bladed instrument is used to punch out the scar from the skin. While these surgical procedures will still cause a scar, the new scar will be more cosmetically appealing in appearance.

Scar treatment

Facial Scar Treatment Recovery and Results

The recovery period after a facial scar treatment differs according to the procedure that is performed and the ability of the patient to heal. The patient might need a week of rest after the treatment depending on how big the scar is and how aggressively it is treated.

Patients might see some redness, bruising, peeling, or swelling after facial scar treatments. This will be followed by a pinkness that can last anywhere from several weeks to several months. Patients who have a surgical procedure may have some bleeding and will need stitches on the wound. Patients should avoid the UV rays of the sun as the skin will be sensitive to sunburns.

It can take some time for noticeable improvements to appear since many of the treatments rely on new skin growth as well as collagen stimulation. In addition, some of the treatments only require one treatment while others require multiple treatments. Patients that require multiple sessions that take place over a period of several weeks, or even multiple months, may have various recovery periods and will need to wait a longer time before the results can be appreciated due to additional swelling and/or peeling.

Approximately three months after most nonsurgical facial scar treatments, the patient can begin to easily visualize the results. Surgical facial scar treatment methods can produce an aesthetically pleasing scar which will replace the original scar. However, it can take a full year for this scar to effectively fade from red to a pale color. In order to maintain their results, patients will need to use sunblock when they are outside in order to protect the new skin and/or scars.

Facial Scar Treatments – Risks and Limitations

One of the main limitations of facial scar treatments is the fact that most scars cannot be completely removed. However, their appearance can be improved by a surgeon. Patients with darker skin tones might experience permanent skin discoloration after some facial scar treatments. Facial scars that are the result of an injury or surgical procedure are limited from most facial scar treatments until the scar has fully healed. The surgeon has to wait in this case because performing certain treatments too soon can actually cause the scar to become worse in appearance.

Some of the risks of facial scar treatments include:

  • Redness
  • Skin irritation (much like a sunburn)
  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing
  • Damage to the underlying structures
  • Scarring

Many of the side effects that result from facial scar treatments are minimal and the risks are usually rare. Having said that, it is important for patients to understand all possible risks before agreeing to any cosmetic procedure. In order to minimize the risks and promote better results, patients need to use the services of a board-certified surgeon who is experienced in treating a facial scar. A board-certified doctor can accurately assess the type of scar and determine the most appropriate scar treatment option. Patients should also follow all post-treatment instructions in order to gain the best results.

Scar-Free Healing – Will it be a Reality Soon?

Scar tissue is often the result of an accident or a surgical operation and is also usually an unwelcome addition to the appearance of the body. Researchers at Stanford University have decoded the physical and chemical signals that work to trigger a certain type of skin cell to produce scars. In addition, the research team also have found a way to reprogram these cells in order to transform them into another type of cell that is able to regenerate intact tissues.

Research Team Results from Study on Mice

The team from Stanford University reported that mice that received the skin cell “trigger” were able to heal from wounds without the appearance of any scars. The mice regrew glands, hair, and other critical structures to the point that an image-classifying algorithm was not able to tell the difference between the area where the wound healed and the healthy part of the skin that was not damaged.

The research team says their next step is to try and achieve a similar type of skin regeneration in animals such as pigs (because they more closely resemble humans and have tighter skin). The Stanford team is optimistic these findings can lead to scar-free treatments becoming readily available in the future.

Scarless healing for wounds

Scarless Wound Healing – A Goal that has been Years in the Making

It has been estimated that around 100-million patients gain scars each year after a surgical procedure. In addition, there are also millions of people that have some sort of injury or accident that results in a scar.  The study by the team at Stanford represents the culmination of medical discoveries that date back to the 1970s.

In 1971, a Chicago pediatric surgeon discovered when he performed operations on fetal lambs, their wounds were able to heal without any type of scarring. Over the next two decades, the same healing ability was found in animals as varied as mice, sheep, pigs, and rats.

The early 1990s saw Michael Longaker, whose Stanford lab conducted the new research, working under Michael Harrison, a pediatric surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco. Harrison was performing surgeries on the unborn by removing a fetus from the uterus of the mother with the umbilical cord remaining intact. Once the medical issue or defect was addressed and resolved, the unborn child was returned to the womb.  Once the baby was born, there would be some redness around the surgery site but there were no scars after the procedure.

Harrison asked Longaker to determine why this was happened and Longaker has spent the past three decades attempting to answer that question.

For a good portion of that time period, the research on the subject has almost always focused on stem cells AKA the cells that make all of the mini organs of the skin. Longaker incorporated the work of other scientists that studied fibroblasts (a cell located in connective tissue that produces collagen as well as other fibers) and were able to identify that there are different types of fibroblasts.

In 2015, his Stanford team amassed an inventory of the multiple types of fibroblasts that live on the skin located on the back of a mouse. The team found there was only one fibroblast subset (EPFs because they expressed a protein by the name of engrailed-1) that was responsible for the creation of most scar tissue. When this cell line was knocked out, the mice had less scarring along with a slower recovery period.

Their next task was to determine how the EPFs worked and if they could be turned off with a drug. If so, medical personnel might be able to stop scarring in humans. Longaker and his team have been working on this task for the past 3.5 years.

Scar-Free Healing and the Study of EPFs

The first step in the process was using fluorescent markers to track the origination of the EPFs. The research team learned scar-producing cells arise from another type of fibroblast, that regenerates healthy skin, and is “turned on” when the animal being studied was wounded. Longaker said the group hypothesized the trigger might be mechanical in nature such as the force of the skin being split apart.

The group then studied how fibroblasts respond to a number of different mechanical cues. When they were grown in soft substrates, they did not flip on engrailed-1. The group also studied the tension of wounds in mice and made the same discovery. They noticed that the application of more tension resulted in the production of a greater amount of a protein known as YAP.

In order to determine if YAP was the main chemical signal that started the scarring process, they blocked YAP with verteporfin (a YAP-disrupting chemical) and by genetically modifying the mice they were testing so they did not express YAP in their fibroblasts. In both cases, the cells that flooded into the wounds of the mice were not the EPFs that produced scars. Instead, they were the fibroblast that told the skin to regenerate instead of simply repairing the damaged area.

The mice that were treated using the YAP-blocker were able to recover their normal collagen structure as well as grow back their hair follicles and glands within a period of 30 days. In addition, their mechanical breaking strength was comparable to normal skin.

Scar-Free Healing – What the Future Holds

Even though the group led by Longaker was able to show the return of some skin structures, it was not a complete list so more work will need to be performed by the research team. The additional research is needed to see if YAP-blockers are able to turn on all of the necessary signals to regrow all of the needed elements for healthy skin to be able to function.

Surgery Scars – Steps to Reduce or Prevent Them

Surgery scars can be reduced or prevented in a variety of ways. If you are planning on having surgery, it is a good idea to understand how to prevent or minimize your scarring. Of course, one of the first things to consider is good incision care. Taking care of your incisions post-procedure is the first step in minimizing long-term scarring.

Surgical Scar Causes

There is the possibility of scarring anytime the skin is damaged. Most of us have a few scars from childhood from skinned knees or elbows. No matter the skill of your surgeon, any surgery results in damage to the skin. A surgical incision causes damage through all of the layers of the skin and can result in scarring no matter where the incision is on the body or what type of surgery is performed. Of course, surgery performed by a less-skilled surgeon can result in greater scarring but, in most cases, the skill of the surgeon has little effect on the amount of long-term scarring. Any surgeon is unable to control all of the multitude of factors that determine your risk for long term scarring.

Surgical Scars how to avoid them

Scarring Risk Factors

Many of the risk factors for scarring are beyond your control. Your ability to heal without scarring depends on factors that cannot be changed. The information below can help you determine your likelihood of post-surgery scarring.

  • Age – The skin becomes less elastic and thinner as we age. The fat layer under the skin thins out and collagen production slows down. When you combine these two facts with sun exposure and other environmental and lifestyle issues, older skin does not heal as quickly or as well as younger skin. There is a silver lining, though – sun damage and uneven tone to older skin can help to hide scars that would be more visible on younger skin.
  • Race – Some skin tones are more likely to scar than others. Keloid scars and hypertrophic scars are much more common with African American patients. With both of these types of scars, there is an overgrowth of scar tissue at the site of an injury. With more fair-skinned races, scars are generally thinner and the color will stay near the color of the surrounding skin. These scars tend to be red or pink when they are new but they will fade with time. Patients with darker skin may experience scars that remain darker than the surrounding skin.
  • Genetics – If your parents have the tendency to scar badly, you will most likely exhibit the same tendency. If you know that you have a family tendency toward scarring heavily, you may want to discuss this with your surgeon ahead of the procedure.
  • Type of Incision – A larger incision is more likely to cause a lasting scar than a smaller incision. The width and the depth of the incision directly affects the length of the healing process and the opportunity for deep scars. Another thing to consider is that a longer incision in the skin may be exposed to more stress with body movements which can delay the healing process in many cases.
  • Skin Healing – Some people are just lucky in that their skin heals quickly and easily with minimal to no lasting scarring. Others are not so lucky and their skin tends to heal more slowly. Sometimes this is due to underlying medical conditions. Having a disease like diabetes can cause your skin to heal more slowly. How quickly the skin heals varies from person to person and can change over time depending on illnesses or current medical conditions.

Scarring Prevention

Even with all of the factors listed above, it is possible to prevent scars by focusing on the factors that you can control. They include:

  • Not Smoking – If you smoke, go ahead and stop as smoking increase the risk of scarring as well as slows down the healing process. Many plastic surgeons will not operate on patients that do not quit smoking for at least two weeks before surgery.
  • Avoid Alcohol – The consumption of alcohol dehydrates your body which causes slower healing. While your incision is healing, you should avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • Stay Hydrated – During the healing process, you should make sure your body is hydrated properly. Dehydration diminishes your overall health and healing can be impacted.
  • Weight Management – Overweight patients are at greater risk of scarring. The fat deposits under the skin can work against the efforts of the doctor to close your incision seamlessly. Watch your weight as much as you can leading up to your procedure.

Scarring and Wound Care

One of the best ways to prevent scarring after surgery is to perform good, consistent incision care. Follow these guidelines:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Perform incision care consistently
  • Watch for signs of an infection
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure
  • Minimize stress on your incision

Treatments for Scars

There are available treatments for scar minimization that can be performed in the office of a doctor or at home. If you are concerned that you might not heal as well as you would like, consider discussing these treatment options with your surgeon. The doctor can likely recommend options such as silicone wound treatment or prescription medications to help the healing process.

The Future of Scar Healing – What Scientists are Predicting

Following an injury or surgical procedure, scars often form on the body. These serve as reminders of the physical trauma the body has endured. Not only do people not like the look of scars, the scars on the body can also heal incorrectly and cause further damage. Scars can cause tissue to contract which can limit the mobility of that area of the body, induce pain and cause basic functional problems soon after.

Scar Treatments are Highly Requested

Many experts agree that seeking treatment for scars is one of the most requested treatments in the world. “It’s an astronomical burden on our healthcare system,” says plastic surgeon Steven Moran, chair of the Division of Plastic Surgery and Reconstructive Surgery at the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Reconstructive Transplant Surgery.

As long as people can remember, they have wanted to make their scars disappear. Whether it is because of a painful memory or just an unsightly scar in a very visible spot, people have looked for any way to get rid of scars for centuries. They have gone to extreme lengths to try and remove them including surgical removal and freezing scars with liquid nitrogen. These procedures have produced middling to unsuccessful results. For years people have spent large amounts of money for their scars to only look marginally better.

What if there was a way, instead of trying to get rid of scars after they form, to prevent scars from forming at all? While there is no magical fix to make scars disappear forever, medical experts have discovered ways to prevent them all together. Two recent studies have shown researchers discovering new ways to do exactly that. While it may sound like something straight out of a movie, topical or injected medicines may actually cause tissue to grow back. This tissue can also grow back complete with hair follicles, sweat glands, skin oil and even pores. It may sound like science fiction, but it might soon become a reality for many. Before looking into the future, let’s discuss different types of scarring as well as the current treatment methods for dealing with them.

Scar treatments to heal scars

Types of Scarring

When the layer of skin, called the dermis, is injured or damaged, the tissue usually heals improperly. This forms a scar. Scars can also form when, during surgery, muscle is stitched together. Another common cause of scarring is when a ligament or tendon is torn.

Cells are arranged in a highly organized fashion in healthy, non-injured tissue. But when that tissue becomes damaged, collagen can flow in to fill up the wound. Collagen is of the utmost importance to the proper healing process. However, the body will sometimes send in too much collagen. When there is too much collagen in a small space of skin, as is the case with many different scars, there may be visible side effects on the surface of the skin. These include raised tissue or reddened tissue.

The scars caused by too many proteins like collagen are called hypertrophic scars. These often appear red in color, elevated and hard to the touch. They will look quite different compared to the surrounding tissue. In other cases of different scar types, collagen and other proteins can accidentally move outside the boundaries of the wound, causing bumps in the surrounding skin called keloids. This is another type of scar. These may become noticeable months or even years after the original injury. This type of scar can also cause intense itching and discomfort. The likelihood of developing a severe scar such as keloids mainly depends how well the wound was treated. However, ethnicity and genetics also play a part in their formation.

Present-Day Treatment Methods

Doctors currently have many different ways to treat scars. Dermatologists apply tape to relieve the tension around, or on, the wound which lessens the chance of developing a scar. They also use silicone gels, sheets and other products that can prevent scars by keeping the injury properly hydrated. Some medical providers also inject cortisone or other steroids to reduce the thickness of an incoming scar. Other treatment methods include laser therapy, freezing, onion extract, and even radiation therapy! Currently, the best way to prevent an injury from turning into a severe scar is to keep the wound clean and wet, avoid more trauma to the impacted area and apply sunscreen.

Scar Treatment Methods in the Future

Recently, scientists have discussed studies that indicate injecting a drug into the surrounding edge of a skin injury could prevent keloid and hypertrophic scars from forming into severe scars. In the discussed study, scientists were able to induce the regeneration of cells. When the body starts regenerating cells, it also naturally starts to produce more skin cells and hair follicles. If this treatment continues to show success, any tissue that was once a wound or a scar can actually operate like normal, healthy tissue.

Different Scars and Four Natural Ways to Treat Them

Everyone has scars but they often react differently to having them on the body. Some consider their scars to be cool and something to be proud of while others are embarrassed and want to hide them from the view of others. Whether you are self-conscious about your scars or do not mind displaying them, the fact is many people seek treatment to try and get rid of them. Almost everyone would want to reduce or remove a scar, but they need to understand what a scar really is and the way to approach removing them.

Scars – How do They Form?

A scar is formed due to the natural healing process of the body after an injury. The layer of skin known as the dermis forms collagen fibers to repair any damage done to it. The formation of those fibers results in your scar. Most scars follow the rule of the faster the wound heals, the less collagen fibers there will be, which means a less noticeable scar. To go along with this, the severity of the scar is usually dependent on the severity of the injury to the body. There is also the variable of how scars form differently based on different parts of the body and based on the age of the injured person.

Types of Scars

  • Learn how scars are formed and natural methods to treat themAtrophic scars are defined by the loss of tissue on the skin of the injured person. They can appear in different ways including depressed or flat against the upper layer of the skin. If you see a scar with darker skin pigmentation than other areas of the skin, it might be an atrophic scar. A couple of examples of atrophic scars are acne scars and chickenpox scars.
  • Hypertrophic scars can be identified by excess tissue that forms over the injured skin as it heals. As with an atrophic scar, hypertrophic scars are typically darker than the other skin in the surrounding area of the body.
  • Keloid scars, like hypertrophic scars, involve too much tissue formation. Keloid scars are what happens when aggressive healing causes an overproduction of tissue. They can be identified by a thick, puffy, or raised appearance and are normally darker than the pigment in the surrounding area. One of the unique things about a keloid scar is that it can grow beyond the initial injured area of the body.
  • Contracture scars are most commonly formed after suffering burns on the body. They involve lots of areas of the skin being damaged or lost completely. They can be identified by shiny, tight skin that can restrict movement in the injured part of the body.

Top Four Easy Fixes for Scars

How to reduce scar appearance at homeScars will become naturally lighter over time, but they will never fully disappear. However, there are many efficient treatments to help speed up the healing process. The following four remedies have helped people in making their scars less noticeable:

  1. Aloe vera should be applied directly to the scar, using circular motions, after removing the dark green “skin” from the flat side of the aloe vera leaf and scooping out the light green gel. Once 30 minutes goes by, remove the gel by washing it off with cool water. Patients should repeat this process twice each day.
  2. Vitamin E should come in a capsule so cut open the capsule and squeeze the Vitamin E oil onto the scar. Massage the oil on, and around, the area of the injured skin/scar for about ten minutes. After this, wait approximately 20 minutes and wash off the oil with warm water. Patients should repeat this whole process a minimum of three times a day.
  3. Believe it or not, a household potato can help treat the appearance of scars. First, slice the potato into medium-sized rounds and then rub the potato slice on the scar in light, circular motions. The potato slice will eventually dry out. When it does, simply throw it away and continue with another slice. Continue the rubbing for about 20 minutes and then let the scar “air-dry” for about 10 minutes. Finally, wash the injured area with cool water. This process should be performed at least one time per day.
  4. Another easy household item that can be used on scars is baking soda. For this technique, mix distilled water into two tablespoons of baking soda until it forms a paste. Wet the injured area with the distilled water and then rub the paste on top of the wet scar. Hold the paste on the scar continuously for about 15 minutes and then rinse the area surrounding the scar. This process should be performed once per day.

Scars and Natural Remedies

Natural remedies are a great way to make a scar look less noticeable in an easy, efficient, and healthy way. Many experts believe in the healing power of natural remedies. They also recommend having a conversation with a board-certified doctor before attempting to perform home remedies.

Scar Treatment Options – What You Need to Know

The appearance of scars on the body is quite common after an accident. Some of the scars might fade on their own while others might be permanent additions to the appearance of a person. While the appearance of a scar is normally not a reason for a person to be concerned, there are many people that want to lessen the appearance of them.

Here are some of the most effective, and popular, scar treatment options to reduce or eliminate the appearance of scars:

Scar Treatment Techniques to Try at Home

Scar Reduction at HomeThe use of home remedies for scars can help to reduce the appearance of the scars located on the body. In general, home remedies are ideal for treating new scars or scars that are relatively minor in their appearance. If a scar on the body is older, or considered to be extensive in its appearance, it is best to visit a doctor to discuss medical cosmetic treatment options instead of home remedies.

  • It is important to start treating a scar as soon as possible to achieve the best results in reducing its appearance. Patients should keep the scar clean by washing it daily with water and a mild soap. Petroleum jelly can be applied to the wound to keep it moist and stop scabs from forming. A wound can be covered with a bandage or, if the wound is larger, a silicone gel sheet.
  • Once the wound has healed, a regular regimen of exfoliation can help to remove any dead skin cells so the wound can enjoy a faster recovery time. Patients can exfoliate the area that surrounds the scar and then apply natural oil or moisturizer after the exfoliation is completed.
  • A gentle massage with oils on the area around the scar can help to reduce the amount of collagen that builds up in the targeted area and flatten the scar. Patients are advised to massage the skin three or four times each day for 5 minutes at a time. One of the most popular natural oils for treating scars is coconut oil. Studies have shown that coconut oil can encourage the healing of skin tissue.
  • Aloe Vera gel has been shown to improve wound healing in patients. While Aloe Vera gel might not improve the appearance of scars, it can hydrate the skin to reduce the amount of tightness in the scar.
  • Sunscreen will not get rid of scars but it can help them to fade and also reduce the amount of skin discoloration.
  • OTC medicated gels and creams are able to improve the level of wound healing as well as reduce the appearance of scars.

Scar Reduction – Medical and Cosmetic Treatments

Cosmetic Scar Reduction Medical TreatmentOlder scars that tend to be more visible might only respond to medical or cosmetic treatments of the scars. Here are some examples of the most effective medical and cosmetic scar treatments:

  • Dermal fillers can be injected into the area where the scar is located. The fillers work to plump us the area where the skin is indented to make the scar less noticeable to others.
  • Chemical peels are placed on the skin to remove its top layers and reduce scars that range from moderate to severe.
  • Botox injections reduce the visibility of the scar and smooth out the skin.
  • Cryotherapy is when a doctor uses liquid nitrogen to freeze the scars in order to flatten and reduce their overall growth
  • Corticosteroid shots work to flatten out scars that are raised as well as reduce the size of the scar.
  • Microneedling is when a small pen or roller is used to poke small holes in the top layer of the skin where the scar is located. The small pen or roller contains hundreds of tiny needles. The punctures from the holes encourage the production of collagen in the body to reduce the appearance of scars.
  • Laser therapy is when a focused beam of light is used to treat scars that are classified as severe. The laser light removes the outer layer of the skin or it stimulates the production of new skin cells to replace the damaged skin cells.
  • People that have a scar that is very tight can have scar reduction surgery to lessen the scar and also reduce any restrictions in the movement of the body where the scar is located.

Choosing how to Treat Scars

Patients should be aware that different types of scars can require different treatment options. It is important to consult with an experienced doctor about the best treatment option for a scar. Scars from a sports accident or mishap at home will need to be addressed differently than a scar that is the result of a burn.

The final result of any type of scar treatment varies depending on the age, depth and type of scar. While the scar treatment might not be able to completely reduce or eliminate the appearance of the scar, there should be some improvement in the overall appearance of the area of the skin where the scar is located.

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Discover Scar Surgery Options for Patients

The appearance of a scar on the skin can cause a person to have less confidence in their appearance as well as worry about how to remove the scar or at least revise its overall appearance. Some of the medical options available to surgeons include removing excess scar tissue or reconstructing the skin that surrounds the scar as well as other soft tissues that are located near the scar. Here are some of the most popular surgical methods used by doctors across the country to address the appearance of a scar on the skin.

Scar Revision Techniques

Techniques for scar revisionScar revision surgery is performed to minimize the look of a scar as well as help the scar better blend-in with the skin that surrounds it. Scars can be the result of a surgical procedure and they can also appear after an injury or accident occurs to a person. Once an injury or wound appears on the skin, the soft tissues that surround the wound or injury can change shape or become uneven, sunken or raised in appearance as the wound heals.

If the scar is the result of a surgical incision, the sutures or stitches used to close the incision can alter the look of the scar. Stitches need to be removed before the top layer of the skin heals around them or the entry point of the stitches might become a permanent feature on the body. This is often referred to as a “railroad scar”.

If a scar forms after an injury occurs, it might heal in an uneven manner which can cause the skin on the side of the scar to be higher in appearance as opposed to the skin on the other side of the scar. If this type of scar occurs, it is often referred to as a “trapdoor scar”.

The decision about the extent of the revision surgery, as well as the scar revision technique used, depends on the size and location of the scar as well as the type of scar that is being treated. The surgeon can reposition the scar so it is in an area that is less visible on the body, reduce the size of the scar or smooth the contour of the skin and other soft tissues to correct the look of scars that are dimpled or sunken in appearance.

When it comes to repositioning a scar on the face that was caused by the closing of an incision, the surgeon can remove and reposition the scar so that it heals along a natural fold in the skin. The surgeon can also “break up” the appearance of the scar so it is not as noticeable to others. If the scar is a large scar from burns, the surgeon can realign the scar tissue so that it follows the natural body contours.

Patients that do not want to have surgical scar revision can have fat placed in a sunken scar area to fill-in the sunken portion of the scar. The fat is typically removed from the body of the patient so there is little chance of an infection occurring after the fat is placed in the targeted area.

Scar Removal Techniques

There are times when the surgeon feels that the best option for treating a keloid or large hypertrophic scar is to remove it. There are times when keloids go beyond the margin found in the original wound. In these cases, keloids will require removal so the surgeon will be able to reconstruct the surrounding tissue and skin and also restore some of the underlying structure of the damaged area. A large hypertrophic scar can also be removed which gives the surgeon the ability to create a new scar that is thinner and much less noticeable in appearance.

Scars from a burn frequently cover a large area of the skin. The surgeon can use a technique known as skin expansion to replace the scar from the burn with normal skin. During the skin expansion process, the surgeon will implant a small balloon beneath the healthy skin of the patient (located next to the scar). In the weeks before the surgery, the balloon is filled slowly with saline water when the patient visits the office of the doctor. The purpose of filling the balloon with saline water is to expand the healthy portion of the skin. During the scar removal surgery, the surgeon will be able to use the expanded skin to replace the skin that has been burned. The new skin will then heal naturally on the body of the patient.

Scar Surgery – What to Expect after the Procedure

Once the surgery is over, the surgeon will place a bandage over the wound and the stitches (if applicable). There will be a follow-up appointment about a week after the procedure so the doctor can evaluate the healing process and remove any necessary stitches.

Over the next few months, the skin will heal and the new scar (that is smaller in appearance) will start to flatten and fade so it matches the surrounding skin. It can take up to a year for the healing process to finish.

If it looks like a keloid or a hypertrophic scar is starting to form after the surgery, the doctor can administer a corticosteroid injection to lessen its appearance. It might take several injections into the new scar tissue to prevent any recurrence of the keloid or hypertrophic scar.

Patients that have any questions about scar revision surgery or scar removal surgery should schedule a consultation appointment with a board-certified, experienced surgeon to examine the scar tissue and determine the best option to address the appearance of the scar. Whether it be for a mole, a hair transplant scar, or another type of surgery, consult with an experienced surgeon in person for the most accurate assessment.

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Scars from Burns – Learn how to Reduce their Appearance

Besides the pain that comes from getting a burn on the skin, patients can be at risk for a number of other complications including a risk of infection, damage to the nerves, a lack of mobility in the impacted area and a change of scarring or discoloration in the area where the burn is located. Thankfully, there are some opportunities for people that suffer a burn to lessen its impact on the skin and greatly reduce the chance of a scar resulting from the burn on the body. Let’s take a look at the different degrees of burns and also how to treat the burn during the healing process in order to lessen the appearance of a scar of any size that might appear on the skin.

Different Degrees of Burns

When people refer to the degree of a burn they have experienced, they are discussing the depth of the damage to the skin. Here are the various degrees of burns that patients can experience:

  • Scars from Burns - Learn how to Reduce Their AppearanceFirst-Degree Burn – The burn only damages the epidermis of the skin (top layer of the skin) and causes skin discoloration that is pink to red. In addition, the skin will show some minimal swelling and patients will experience some moderate discomfort but the burn can normally be treated at home.
  • Second-Degree Burn – This type of burn normally goes a bit deeper into the skin as it impacts both epidermis (top layer of skin) and dermis (bottom layer of the skin). In addition, a second-degree burn can cause blistering on the skin. Patients should place a clean bandage on the blisters that result from the burn. While patients can normally treat a second-degree burn at home, they are encouraged to seek professional medical attention if the burns are larger than the palm of their hand or if the burn involves the face, toes or fingers or if it goes across a joint. If the second-degree burn impacts any of these areas of the body, there is a higher risk for scarring that might limit the mobility of the impacted area.
  • Third-Degree Burn – This type of burn damages the entire epidermis and dermis and is called a “full thickness burn’. The skin can look black, white or brown and the condition requires emergency medical attention.
  • Fourth-Degree Burn – These burns cause the deepest damage to the body as they can reach the bones, muscles and tendons. Much like a third-degree burn, the skin can look black, white or brown and the condition requires emergency medical attention.

In addition to the burn degrees listed above, the two most common types of burns are chemical and thermal burns:

  • Chemical burns are the result of exposure to acidic cleaning products such as bleach or hair relaxers and straightening formulas that contain lye, AKA sodium hydroxide, which can burn the scalp if there is prolonged exposure to the product on the scalp.
  • Thermal burns occur when the skin comes into contact with heat that is so intense that the proteins that make up the skin cells start to break down. A thermal burn can also occur if exposure to a lower temperature takes places over an extended period of time (like a heating pad on the skin) or higher temperatures for a short amount of time (such a hot drink spilling on the skin).

The severity of either type of burn depends on the length of the contact as well as the temperature of the object causing the burn.

How to Treat a Burn Immediately after it Occurs

Immediately after a person experiences a burn, they should remove any clothing or jewelry near the burn but do not remove anything stuck to the burn.

If the burn is not serious enough to require immediate attention, the person should flush the burn with lukewarm water for 10-20 minutes to reduce the pain and slow the initial injury.

Do not flush a chemical burn with water if the chemical is known to react with water. Seek medical attention if the chemical burn is causing breathing difficulties or covering a large area of the body.

Do not pop any blisters that appear as they are helping the skin heal since there are white blood cells under the blister helping to get rid of bacteria that can cause an infection. Keep the skin clean and covered with a bandage or ointment until it is no longer oozing or open.

Treating Scars from Burns

The scars that can result from a burn can change the texture of the skin and make it darker or lighter in appearance. It can take years for the skin to regain its normal color and the discoloration can be a permanent change to the body.

Nanosecond and picosecond lasers can be used to stimulate the removal of hyperpigmented skin discoloration that comes from a burn injury and this is similar to the process of removing a tattoo with a laser.

In addition, pulsed dye lasers such as Vbeam, have proven to be effective in reducing the appearance of burn scars that are reddened in appearance.

For scars that are more complicated in nature than simple discoloration, CO2 ablative fractional lasers are ideal in treating scars that are hypertrophic (raised) or scars that have contracture. Low-density, fractionated, micro-ablative lasers have been shown to rehabilitate scars and improve the aesthetic appearance of the impacted area by giving the skin more flexibility and reducing the signs of burning.

Any of the above laser treatments normally require multiple treatments to achieve the best results and should be conducted by a board-certified doctor that is an expert in performing laser treatment of scars.

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Discover the Benefits of Laser Treatments for Scars

Scars that are visible on the body can cause a person to be ashamed of their appearance and try and hide them from the view of others. In addition, these scars can cause pain and itching on the part of the patient. In order to reduce the size and appearance of a scar, patients often turn to laser treatments to address the look of the scar, Laser treatments for scars stimulate the growth of new and healthy skin while also making the scar less noticeable and not as uncomfortable for patients. Laser therapy for scars can be used on acne scars, surgical scars and scars that are the result of an injury.

Laser Treatment for Scars Explained

Laser treatment for scars penetrates the outer layers of the skin in order to stimulate the growth of new and healthy skin. The laser works to remove skin that is older and damaged so the new skin can take its place.

A scar is a natural response that the body creates when there is an injury. While they do not normally require any type of treatment, scars can be painful and also impact the self-image of a person. In addition, a scar might limit the range of motion of the skin around the scar so reducing the scar helps the area located around it.

Doctors have a number of lasers they can choose from to reduce the appearance of a scar. These laser choices have different light wavelengths. Some of the lasers are ablative which means they remove the top layer of the skin while others are non-ablative which means they go underneath the surface of the skin to make the desired changes.

Some of the most popular laser choices include:

  • IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)
  • Ablative Fractional Carbon Dioxide Laser
  • Non-ablative Fractional Laser

Before making the final decision about which type of laser to use to treats scars, the doctor will need to perform a thorough examination of the scar to determine the amount of changes and improvements that can be made to the scar.

Learn how laser treatments for scars lessen their appearance

Types of Scars that can be treated with Lasers

There are many types of common scars that can be treated using lasers including scars from an injury as well as acne scars and scars that limit the range of motion of the area around the scar. In addition, scars that are the result of a burn or scars that appeared as the result of a previous surgery can also be treated using lasers.

There are times when laser therapy is not enough to treat a scar and provide the desired final appearance. In these cases, doctors might use injectable filers to plump up the skin around the scar which can make the actual scar less noticeable.

Laser Treatments for Scars Procedure

Although different types of lasers can be used by doctors to treat scars on the skin of a patient, the laser treatment for scars procedure is often the same for patients:

  • The doctor will clean the area located around the scar
  • The doctor might use a numbing cream or local anesthetic to lessen any pain or discomfort
  • The doctor places gauze or wet towels around the area with the scar to absorb any laser pulses that might impact the otherwise healthy skin
  • The doctor moves the laser over the scar tissue with the occasional use of a cooling saline on the skin
  • Once the laser treatment is finished, the doctor applies ointment to the treated area and places a dressing on it to protect the treated area

The area that is treated by the laser might be red for several hours after the treatment. There could be some mild swelling and a stinging sensation that is similar to sunburn.

Laser Treatment for Scars Risks

Some of the most common risks of laser treatment for scars include:

  • Bleeding
  • Swelling
  • Infection
  • Skin Discoloration

Laser Treatment for Scars Cost

Patients will need to pay for their laser treatment for scars if the procedure is being performed for cosmetic reasons. If the treatment is being performed because of any health reasons, insurance might pay for some of the treatment.

In general, the cost for laser treatment for scars is in the range of $2000-$2500 for an ablative laser treatment and $1100-$1300 for non-ablative laser treatment.

Laser Treatment for Scars Consultation

Patients interested in undergoing laser treatment for scars should schedule a consultation appointment to have their scars examined by a doctor. The doctor will be able to tell the patient the best type of laser to use to achieve the desired results as well as set realistic expectations for the changes that can be achieved using the laser treatment. Once the laser treatment for scars is performed, the patient will enjoy a reduced appearance to the scars while also having new and healthy skin growing to provide the person with skin that is rejuvenated and refreshed in its appearance.