What is a scar?
Scars occur as a result of damage to the dermis within the skin. It is the normal healing response. For some people the scars are barely noticeable and for others they can be cosmetically problematic but also in some cases cause a functional issue or cause pain and itch. For some the scar affects the way you think, feel and behave.
Can I get rid of a scar entirely?
No. There is no technology or treatment that can remove scars entirely. We can make them look and/or feel better. Scars will also improve themselves over time, usually the first two years.
What happens when I attend for treatment?
You will be assessed for your scar type to determine which treatment would best suit you. The scar will be graded formally and photographed to monitor treatment progression.
There are a number of different types of treatment to help with scarring. They are typically divided into:
- Fat transfer
- Skin grafting
- Scar revision
- Laser therapy
- Pulsed Dye Laser – to address red scars
- CO2 laser to improve the texture of the scar
- Chemical Peels
- Psychological support
- Pressure therapy
- Dressing Therapy
What about acne scarring?
Acne scarring is complex. There is also not a one size fits all in terms of the process of treating acne scars. In the same way that not all people with acne develop acne scars, not all scars respond or behave in the same way to different treatment modalities.
There are multiple scar types that make up acne scarring, the majority of these are atrophic (dips in the skin) and some can be hypertrophic ( raised of the surface of the skin).
The atrophic scars are further divided into:
- Ice pick scars
- Boxcar scars – narrow
- Boxcars scars – broad
- Rolling scars
Each of these subtypes are best treated using a different modality, in some cases energy based devices such as non-ablative fractional laser; ablative lasers or micro-needling radio frequency is best. For ice pick scars – using techniques such as targeted chemical acids, a process called TCA-CROSS is better. For other scar types subcision and filler injections may be better.
All of these options would be discussed with you and an approach that usually requires multiple planned visits with a consistent improvement in the scarring will occur.
For atrophic scars the use of sun protection and topical retinoid is almost always beneficial.