Treating Skin Scars
Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replace normal skin after injury. They are formed when all but the most minor wounds heal. Though skin scars do not pose a threat to health, they can be a source of shame or embarrassment. Some people complain that they are disfiguring, especially if they develop on the head, face, or neck. Though no blemish can ever be completely removed, there are a number of treatment options available which can diminish their appearance. If you decide that you want to undergo any treatment to diminish the appearance of one of these marks, you should contact your doctor or a cosmetic surgeon.
Needling is a process whereby the affected tissue is continuously pricked with a needle. The pricking promotes the production of collagen in the skin. Collagen helps to reduce redness, but it does not smooth the skin. Once the process is complete, the affected area is again allowed to completely heal. Needling is inexpensive, and home kits are available for those willing to perform the process themselves. It is crucial to work with sterilized equipment, as infection can worsen the appearance. Needling should be performed under professional medical supervision when used on the face or any area of the body surrounding major nerves.
A new treatment has been developed to reduce the redness of scar tissue. It is called laser resurfacing and has become an increasingly popular option in the cosmetic treatment of these blemishes. Like needling, however, it does not flatten the wounded area and is not an effective treatment option for abnormal scarring, like keloid and hypertrophic scars. The FDA has recently approved several cosmetic lasers for the treatment of severe acne scars, which often leave depressions in the skin.
If the skin mark is abnormal, then a doctor may recommend a steroid injection series. Every four to six weeks, a medical professional will inject a steroid into the affected tissue. This treatment option can reduce redness, flatten, and soften abnormal blemishes. Because the steroid is injected directly into the scar tissue, very little of the steroid enters the blood stream and side effects are minimal. Still, this treatment option thins the affected area and so it may pose a risk in rare cases of post-operative tendon scarring.
Dermabrasion is used to flatten disfigured tissue. A general anesthetic is used to numb the surrounding tissue and specialized equipment is used to remove the surface layer of the affected skin. This treatment option is only effective in treating raised scars; scar depressions, such as those caused by acne or chicken pox, will not readily respond to this treatment option. This treatment option may be paired with another in order to reduce redness in the affected tissue.