Most people have scars. Scars occur whenever the skin is damaged, whether from an accident (scraped knee etc.), burn, surgery or a skin condition, like acne. Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to avoid them.
The body has an efficient process in place to heal a wound after the skin is injured. First, the body controls and stops the bleeding. A scab then forms, keeping bacteria out of the wound and reducing the risk of infection. Finally, the wound is closed with collagen and fully repaired, leaving a scar.
New scars are usually red and can be quite noticeable. The redness typically fades over time. Some scars may remain noticeable, depending on the type and the severity.
That’s where we come in — you don’t have to live with highly visible scars. There are options available for scar treatment that lessen the visibility and help scars blend into the surrounding skin.
Read on to learn more.
Types of Scars
Most scars are small and over time, you stop noticing them. However, there are some specific types of scars that may remain visible.
Atrophic scars are either flat or depressed into the skin. They’re common and range in color from white to red. The pigmentation of the scar may lighten over time, or may remain darker than the surrounding skin — this is called hyper pigmentation.
Due to excessive amounts of collagen, hypertrophic scars are raised from the surrounding skin. They may be white, pink or red in color. Some hypertrophic scars have a wave-like appearance, called a rolling scar.
They’re commonly seen where cuts and burns have occurred, or where large acne pimples once appeared. Sometimes, you’ll see a hypertrophic scar around the site of a body piercing.
A keloid scar is another type of raised scar, although they spread beyond the size of the original wound. The keloid is raised from the skin and it spreads, typically forming and growing slowly.
If somebody has keloid-prone skin, any type of skin injury can cause a keloid — burns, cuts, acne scars, piercings or tattoos, chickenpox scars or scars from surgery.
Scar contractures occur after a severe burn. The scarred skin feels tight and may cause limited movement. Usually, a significant area of skin is affected.
Acne scars are caused by severe cases of acne. They can look red and angry and take time to fade. The size and depth of acne scars can vary. Some scars are raised, while others look pitted.
Most people don’t realize that stretch marks are a type of scar and can be treated with the same procedures. Anything that causes the skin to stretch rapidly such as puberty, weight gain or pregnancy can cause stretch marks.
They occur when the skin tears. Initially, they may be purple or red, but eventually lighten to look silver/white in color.
Can you prevent scars? Not in most cases, but there are exceptions.
You can’t prevent accidents such as falls, cuts and burns. You also can’t really prevent stretch marks, especially during puberty and pregnancy. Striving for healthy and slow weight gain can help, but it isn’t a guarantee that stretch marks won’t occur. If you suffer from acne, resisting the urge to pop pimples and pick the skin can reduce the chance of scarring.
- If the wound is already present, a scar is inevitable. But you can take steps to minimize the appearance and increase the chance of the scar healing smoothly.
- If the wound is deep, like a cut, you should see a medical professional to assess whether it needs stitches. The scar will be much less visible after stitches than if it is left to heal alone. Be timely about seeing a doctor — if the wound starts to heal, it may be too late for the doctor to close it with stitches.
- Use petroleum jelly to keep the wound moist and keep it covered to keep germs out — this is a good practice whether the wound has stitches or not.
- Don’t pick the scab! Picking the scab will only increase the scarring and will slow the natural healing process. Not to mention, it increases the chance of infection.
- Keep the wound out of the sun to prevent hyper pigmentation around the wound and on the scar.
I Hate My Scar. What Are My Options?
If you have a scar that you hate, you have options. At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, we use state-of-the-art techniques and top-quality products to treat all types of scars, including stretch marks and acne scars.
One of our favorite products is Bellafill®, a collagen-based dermal filler that provides immediate results by lifting the skin and creating volume. The product allows more of your own collagen to develop, leading to smoother-looking skin long term. It’s an excellent treatment for acne scars.
Depending on the condition it’s being used to treat, Bellafill® can last for up to five years. It’s been clinically proven to be safe and effective for male and female patients. The product has been in use for more than ten years, which is why we use it at the Dermatology Center.
Our doctors also recommend MicroPen®, a microneedling procedure. It is designed to build your own natural collagen and thicken your skin. It’s regarded as one of the safest cosmetic skin procedures available for all skin types and colors.
It works by using multiple small needles to create tiny punctures in the skin. Your body treats these tiny pricks just like it would a large cut or burn — by creating more collagen in the affected area. Your doctor will numb your skin providing a more comfortable treatment experience.
The procedure is fantastic for smoothing the skin and helping reduce the appearance of acne scars. It can minimize the appearance of some stretch marks, so the procedure is safe for the entire body.
Dermatology Center for Skin Health | Reduce the Appearance of Your Scar
Many salons and spas offer scar treatments. They may cost less, but you don’t have a guarantee that the "expert" has experience or is adequately trained.
At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, our physicians perform all injectable procedures to reduce the appearance of scars. Drs. Maouad and Gharib have extensive experience with Bellafill® and procedures like MicroPen®.
To book a consultation with the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, give us a call at (304) 598-3888. We can discuss your options in a completely confidential, no-obligation appointment.
For a more in-depth look at other cosmetic procedures we perform, download our Guide to Cosmetic Procedures. We discuss chemical peels, Botox, microdermabrasion and more.