The 411 on Scars
Most people have a scar somewhere on their body. Scars form when the skin heals after a wound. They tend to look different from the skin around them in terms of color, texture or size. While scars are common, some can be more problematic than others. If a scar is in a location that’s hard to conceal or if it is the type of scar that continues to grow, you might consider seeing a plastic surgeon for treatment.
Types of Scars
Not all scars are the same. The type of scar that develops depends on a few factors, including your skin type, the type of injury you had and your genes. For example, people with darker skin have an increased chance of developing keloid scars. Keloids are also more likely to develop in people younger than 30-years-old or in pregnant women. What sets a keloid scar apart from others is the fact that it continues to grow, even after the wound has healed.
The scars are usually red in color and are raised on the surface of the skin. Depending on where they are located, they can make movement difficult.
Another scar that is also red and raised is a hypertrophic scar. The major difference between a keloid scar and a hypertrophic scar is that hypertrophic scars don’t continue to grow beyond the boundary of the original wound.
If a scar forms after a person is burned, it is usually a contracture scar, which develops when the skin becomes tighter as it heals. The scar usually forms if a lot of tissue is damaged or lost due to the injury. If the wound is across a joint, such as the elbow or knuckles, a contracture scar can also develop. The scar can restrict movement or affect the deeper muscles and nerves.
One other type of scar develops as a result of acne on the face. Acne scars can take many forms. Some appear as pits or depressions on the skin, while others are raised.
One of the best ways to deal with scars is to keep them from forming in the first place. While that’s not always possible, there are a few things you can do while your wound is healing to keep scarring to a minimum. Proper wound care is a must, for starters.
If you get a cut or have an incision from surgery, it’s important to keep it covered. Use an ointment on top of it to kill off any bacteria, then cover with a bandage. Although it might seem like a good idea to apply rubbing alcohol or peroxide to the cut or wound, doing so can make scarring worse, as the products kill bacteria and inhibit the growth of new skin.
You can reduce the likelihood of having keloid scars form by putting pressure on the wound as it heals. Some bandages are designed to put pressure on a healing wound to reduce the chance that a keloid will form. Your surgeon might also recommend using special silicone sheets after surgery if you have an increased risk for keloid scars.
If you already have a scar that you aren’t happy about, you have a few options when it comes to removing or reducing the visibility of it. One option that is minimally invasive is derma planing.
During a derma planing treatment, a plastic surgeon will gently draw a sharp blade over the surface of your skin. The blade removes the top layer of skin, leaving behind skin that’s fresher and brighter looking. The treatment can help a variety of skin issues, including scarring from acne, fine lines and hyperpigmentation.
Another option to consider is reconstructive surgery. Surgery is often best reserved for deeper or larger scars that don’t respond to less invasive options. During surgery, the doctor might excise the scar or use a skin graft to conceal it.
People who suffer from acne scars that have created depressions or craters on the face might benefit from injections that fill in the scar area, at least temporarily. While a filler will provide instant results, the drawback of the treatment is that the injections usually only last for a few months. You can have the injections repeated at any time, though.
In the Virginia Beach area, facial plastic surgeon Dr. Kyle Choe offers patients a number of solutions to their scar issues. To find out which treatment can work best for you, contact his office for a consultation today by calling 757.389.5850.