We all have scars on our bodies. We get them in a variety of ways; from that biking accident when you were a kid to that poor football tackle to that surgery you needed. These scars are often reminders of some memorable and painful incidents in our lives. Fortunately, some scars will fade in time. However, for those scars that don’t there are procedures that can help you to have them removed. A scar isn’t so bad if it’s small or easy to conceal, but you may want a way to treat them other than hiding them away.
Many factors can influence how your skin scars. In addition to the depth and size of the wound and the location, heredity, sex and/or ethnicity can affect how your skin reacts.
The following are some facts about scars and how they can be treated.
What types of scars are there?
- Keloid scars are the result of an aggressive healing process. They extend beyond the original injury and over time can affect mobility. Possible treatments for their removal include surgery, steroid injections or silicone sheets to flatten the scar.
- Contracture scars are the result of skin having been burned. These types of scars cause the skin to tighten and can in turn impair your ability to move. Additionally, this type of scarring may go much deeper, affecting your muscles and nerves.
- Hypertrophic scars are raised red scars that are similar to keloids but they do not breach the boundaries of the injury site. Possible treatments can include injections of steroids to help reduce inflammation or silicone sheets to help flatten out the scar.
- Acne scars often occur from severe cases of acne. There are many types of acne scars that range from deep pits in the skin to scarring that is wavelike or angular in appearance. Possible treatments depend on the type of acne scars you have.
What are the possible treatments for scars?
Over-the-counter or prescription creams, ointments or gels. These can be applied if your scars are the result of general injuries or minor surgery. Treatments include corticosteroids or antihistamine creams for scars that cause itching and are extremely sensitive. If your scars are the result of surgery you should ask your surgeon if an over-the-counter treatment is sufficient. If not they will prescribe a different treatment that suits your personal needs.
Surgical removal. There are many different options for treating deeper and more overt scars. These include skin grafts, excision, dermabrasion or laser surgery. Burn victims often receive skin grafts. This consists of a surgeon removing the skin from one area of the body and using it to repair the burnt skin. If you have recently undergone surgery it is best to wait at least a year before making a decision about your scar removal treatment as many scars fade over time.
Injections. Protruding scars such as keloids or hypertrophic can be removed by the use of steroid injections. Your doctor may decide to use this as a stand-alone treatment or in conjunction with other treatments. Other types of injections – collagen or other fillers – can be used to help pitted scars, although they are not usually permanent solutions.
Of course, there is also laser treatment, which is dealt with on another page of our website.[Photo by seanmasn]