Scar Removal – We Have the Solutions
If you think of scars, you might probably be able to identify a few scar types be it scars from falling, acne or burn scars. But there are other scars that you might have that you might not think are scars.
There are three different types of scars that are the hardest to remove without going through treatment or surgery. They are the mature widened scars, bad depressed scars and keloid scars.
Mature Widened Scars
Mature scars will not cause you any itchiness or pain but like all surface scars, they will affect the appearance of your skin and sometimes the function of that area. The appearance of these scars are typically widened beyond the original injury or trauma and have a pale silvery or translucent appearance due to the abundance of scar tissue rather than the normal constituents of the skin, which can cause the skin to appear unattractive.
Depressed scars are scars that appear sunken beneath the contour of the surrounding skin. This may be due to the original injury, or a result of repeated high dose steroid injections administered to treat the thickened scar initially.
Depressed scars that are shallow may be amenable to simpler techniques such as filler or fat grafting that serve to elevate the scar to match the level of the surrounding skin. Badly depressed scars or those that have thick internal scar that tethers it down to the deeper tissue will require surgical correction.
People usually confuse all thick scars to be keloid scars. There are 2 forms of thickened scars - hypertrophic scars and keloid scars.
Hypertrophic scars are thick, wide and raised above the skin. They develop where the skin is injured and occurs during the wound healing process. However, hypertrophic scars are an uncommon and abnormal response to trauma or injury that you might have experienced.
This type of scar occurs when body cells called myofibroblasts produce too much collagen during healing. This might also occur because of someone’s skin type and body healing tendencies but most often, the scars are produced when the wound becomes infected or inflamed due to a great deal of tension or motion. This can occur when wounds are left to heal without stitches.
Hypertrophic scars are the most common by-products of burn injuries but can also be due to acne, cuts or piercings. They do not extend beyond the original area of injury. Once formed, they are not dangerous or life-threatening but can be itchy and painful.
Keloidal scars on the other hand are much larger than the original wound. They can most commonly be found on the shoulders, earlobes, cheeks and chest but keloids can be formed on any part of the body, even without penetrating trauma to the skin.
They are formed when scar tissue is formed over the wound to repair and protect the injury with an excess of scar tissue growing beyond the area of injury to form smooth and hard growths. They may develop months or years after the original injury has healed, distinguishing them from hypertrophic scars.
How to identify a keloid scar:
- A flesh-coloured, pink or red scar that is irregular in contour
- A lumpy or ridged area that is raised
- An area of scar that continues to grow larger
- Pain and itch
Keloid scars are not harmful to your health or life-threatening but they are often itchy or painful and clothing or friction against your skin might cause discomfort or itchiness.
Non-Surgical Methods to Treat Scars
There is a variety of non-surgical methods that can lessen the appearance of these types of scars but they may not entirely get rid of them. There is no research at the moment that guarantees the complete removal of scars from the skin if these home remedies are used.
A non-invasive treatment, silicone sheets can be applied right after the skin heals from an injury. Silicone treatments are also available through a variety of products such as sheets, sprays, gels and foams – many of which are available in pharmacies. A silicone sheet must be worn over the scar for around 12 to 24 hours a day for 2 to 3 months and a gel has to be applied multiple times a day to work.
Onion Extract Creams
Onion extract creams might sound strange but it is just a topical gel made from onion extract. They are usually marketed as Mederma in pharmacies and is easily available. However, their effectiveness on scars have limited research in reducing their appearance.
Pressure and Massage
Massaging the area(s) affected or applying pressure to the scars is one of the most affordable ways to treat these scars. Another way to do this is through bandages or tape to put pressure on the scar if you do not have time to constantly be massaging the area. This method helps to weaken the scar tissue and thus, improve the appearance of the scar you might have.
Bio-oil is probably the method you might already know about. It’s a product that is known to treat all types of scars and can be purchased from most stores. Test trials using this product have shown positive results but because sample sizes were small, bio-oil may not be able to completely erase away your scars.
What is Scar Revision Surgery?
If you’ve already tried every home treatment there is and are frustrated with the results and want to get rid of your scar(s) for good, you might want to consider a scar revision surgery. Scar Revision Surgery helps to considerably reduce the appearance of the scars versus home remedies.
The surgery is suitable for both children and adults. If you’re unsure if you can qualify for this surgery, a qualified plastic surgeon will be able to tell you.
There are a few techniques that the doctor may use for this surgery such as:
- Fusiform elliptical excision
- Geometric broken-line closure
- V-Y and Y-V enhancement
- Flaps and grafts
During consultations with a plastic surgeon, they will conduct an assessment to assess the scar(s) you have on the skin. These assessments are usually non-invasive and are only used to map the surgical plan before surgery.
What to Expect During Surgery:
- Anaesthesia – the choice of this will vary by surgery but the main types you can expect are local anaesthesia, regional anaesthesia and general anaesthesia
- Incision direction – where 90-degree incisions are made to the skin to keep edges clean and in the direction of the skin’s hair follicles
- Tissue handling – Using fine-tooth forceps and skin hooks, the skin will be gently handled to reduce tissue trauma
- Skin hydration – Using a moist sponge, the skin will be kept hydrated regularly to ensure that the tissues can adhere smoothly
- Layered skin repair – Repairing the lower layers of the skin first, the surgeon will then move gradually to the upper layers
- Wound edges – This refers to how the edges of the wound are cut and fit so that they can be sewn back together
After the surgery, you may experience mild pain, swelling and wound discolouration for about 1 to 2 weeks. This is normal and is important to follow wound care instructions given to you by your doctor to avoid infection. The wound should be clean and dressed regularly to prevent moisture build-up.
Your body will start producing collagen and this phase will be when the skin tissues will start to rebuild themselves. To aid recovery, you will be advised to take vitamin supplements to aid in recovery as well as a well-balanced diet. Smoking should be avoided during this time and hydrogel dressings may be prescribed to you by your doctor to keep the recovering area hydrated.
Any surgery should be considered carefully and at Allure, we recommend you make your final decisions only after seeing an experienced plastic surgeon.