Scar tissue formation is a normal healing response to tears in the skin tissue. However, the overgrowth of the skin can feel unsightly or uncomfortable at best or painful at worst. Getting a nasty cut is bad enough – but when a scar forms over the healed tissue, it can cause major anxiety for many cosmetic patients. Minimizing the effects requires fast action, so following Dermatology Realm’s first steps of scar treatment tips is your best bet for effectively healing a recent scar.
When you get a cut, your body sends all its resources to the site of the injury. Red and white blood cells carry important materials for healing to the affected area and begin working to patch the cut as quickly as possible. Usually, your body can stop the blood flow and plug up the wound with platelets. You may form a scab that slowly fades until your skin looks as good as new.
Some cuts, however, are too deep or broad for this process to prove completely effective. Instead, these skin abrasions may require the help of a protein called collagen to work similarly to platelets. Collagen collects at the site of injury, building and building until there is enough tissue to protect the area and begin the healing process. This usually results in a raised or bumpy section of skin that we know as scar tissue.
Unlike scabs, scars form permanent marks on the skin. It is normal for some of the collagen buildup to recede in the weeks or months after a scar is formed, making the appearance of the tissue softer and smoother, but after two years, whatever remains leaves a permanent scar on your skin.
Scar tissue can cause emotional discomfort for many people, especially when they are in plain view. Patients may wear extra clothing to prevent others from seeing their scars, or they may simply turn their discomfort inward and take a self-esteem hit. Their response is often related to the type of scar tissue formed, as well as its location.
There are several types of scar tissue, and each presents its own unique stressors for those who have them.
This type of scar tissue is formed when the collagen that collects at the site of an injury is overproduced by the body, leading to thicker, more prominent scars that can cause emotional distress. This tissue is not harmful to the body, but because of the overdevelopment of protein, it can appear darker, higher, or cover a larger surface area than the initial abrasion. Keloids may even become itchy or uncomfortable, leading patients to seek treatment with Dr. Baker or Alexis Johnson.
Similar to keloids, hypertrophic scar tissue is defined by an excess growth of collagen at the site of the abrasion. The difference between the two, however, is that keloids may extend growth beyond the barrier of the initial injury, whereas hypertrophic scars only form where the injury occurred.
Also known as sunken scars, pitted scars are usually the result of other skin conditions like acne or chicken pox. They leave crater-like indentations on the skin’s surface as a result of underlying fat loss.
These scars are typically the most natural-looking after they have completely healed. As a result of minor or thin cuts, fine-line scars are usually left after surgery or a small wound. During the healing process, collagen collects at the site, leaving a thin, raised patch of skin. Over a period of up to two years, these scars typically flatten out and fade.
Scar Treatment: First Steps
It is not possible to prevent scars from forming completely, but it is possible to minimize their appearance or treat them later. If you’ve received a deep cut through an accident or surgery, following these steps could help you reduce the look of the resulting scar tissue.
Apply Topical Treatments
One of the best ways to reduce the appearance of scar tissue is to use topical moisturizers. Acting quickly after receiving a cut that you suspect may develop scar tissue can help minimize the effects. Avoiding picking scabs, reducing sun exposure, and applying petroleum jelly or other antibacterial ointments to the wound can all help.
You can also try using over-the-counter creams to aid the healing process. Try antihistamines, anesthetics, silicone, or corticosteroids to keep the affected area moist and hydrated.
For more advanced scarring, like keloids or hypertrophic tissue, corticosteroid injection treatments may offer relief. These shots may reduce inflammation or discomfort and show the best results over a series of repeated treatments.
Dr. Baker and Alexis can also use dermal fillers to smooth the scar tissue for several years. Because fillers are not permanent solutions, however, you would need to get additional injections every few years.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
This treatment method allows Dr. Baker and Alexis to target precise sections of the skin using pulsating beams of light. These beams heat the skin layer by layer to reduce the effects of scar damage and encourage new skin growth.
Similar to laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion targets specific layers of skin. By removing the top layer of skin, this form of treatment can minimize the look of scar tissue and is especially effective for acne scars.
Scar Revision Surgery
For more prominent or particularly discomforting scars, excision/revision is a potential treatment option at Dermatology Realm. This procedure removes the scar altogether before recovering it with a flap of skin or skin graft from another area of the body.
Expert Skincare in Germantown
Life is too short to feel uncomfortable with your appearance in the mirror. Whether you’re concerned about scar tissue, early aging, hair loss, or more, the experts at Dermatology Realm are here to help. Schedule your appointment with our team today!