Scars are some of the most difficult cosmetic conditions to treat, but can be the source of frustration for many people. We offer a variety of options to help treat the most stubborn stretch marks and scars that may be bothering you.
What causes Scars?
The formation of scars is a natural component of the body’s healing process after an injury. Scarring develops as the body proceeds to rapidly close an opening in the skin. Damage to the top layer of skin often only requires the production of new skin in its place; however, for damage deeper than the first layer, new scar tissue develops since the body must form new collagen fibers to mend the damage and bring the skin back together. Because the body is rushing to heal the wound, this collagen that forms scar tissue is thicker and less flexible than the rest of the skin. Initial scarring may be minimal, but scars can become enlarged and discolored over the next 4-6 weeks. Some scars can fade over time, and the narrow bands that appear may eventually sink beneath the skin. Scars are reddish in color when they first appear but may become lighter and looser as time goes on. The development of a scar can take up to one year to fully mature. The healing process is complete when a scar is light in color, smooth, and is no longer sensitive to the touch. The outermost layer often loosens a bit while the deeper layers remain intact. The appearance of the scars depends on a myriad of factors:
Depth & size of the wound
Because there are many factors that can determine the appearance of a scar, two similar scars can look very different due to the cause, wound, body part, and how they were cared for.
Types of Scars
The type of scar that develops can be classified into one of 6 categories:
1) Hypertrophic scar: Raised scars that are often red. The body produces high amounts of collagen, which in turn causes the scar to be a bit raised. The amount of scar tissue that forms does not extend beyond the initial wound site or injury. These types of scars tend to flatten a bit over time, but this can take several months or years.
2) Keloid: An overly aggressive healing process that causes the scar to be much greater in length and scope than the initial injury. Keloids will never go away without treatment. These scars extend beyond the initial wound site or injury.
3) Contracture Scar: These kinds of scars cause the skin to tighten and can affect movement if they are located near a joint. They can extend beneath the skin’s surface, and can possible impact muscles & nerves. Contracture scars are very common after burn injuries.
4) Atrophic scar: These scars are sunken or pitted in appearance. They occur when underlying structures, such as fat or muscle, diminish over time, or when inflammation causes damage to the skin’s collagen. These kinds of scars are prevalent with surgical scars and acne scars. These scars are also common with chicken pox as well. Acne scars in particular can be divided into separate subcategories of their own, and can get more pronounced with age as the skin loses even more collagen and elastin.
5) Cicatrix scar: These scars are flatter in appearance, and tend to be pink or reddish in color when they first begin to appear. They can be a bit itchy or painful as well. As the skin continues to heal, they will begin to smoothen out. Flat scars are very similar to the color of the skin, although they may be slightly paler or darker. Proper wound care may facilitate the development of a cicatrix scar as opposed to a hypertrophic (raised) scar.
Microdermabrasion: This treatment uses an abrasive surface to gently sand away the thick outer layers of skin. The skin then begins to form new tissue that smoothens out the treated area and provides a more uniform appearance. This is an option for small scars on the face that aren’t very deep. In addition, microdermabrasion can be used to treat fine lines wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, and acne as well. Microdermabrasion usually does not require anesthesia or numbing agents.
Laser Skin Resurfacing: lasers help break up the fibroblasts on raised scars in order to make them flatter and lay more evenly with the skin. These are aimed directly at the scars so that surrounding skin is not affected. Collagen is stimulated and then grows to remodel the area. The new repair of the fibers creates a smoother appearance, and a visible reduction in the look of the scar and stretch marks. They can also increase the ability to move in instances where a scar may limit movement. Treatments last approximately 30 minutes. Multiple treatments are often required depending on the age and size of the scar/stretch marks. Redness, tenderness, and some swelling is common, and will clear up on its own within 1-3 days. Some slight bruising is possible as well, and this will also clear up on its own within 3-10 days. While lasers can be used to treat almost all types of scars, patients with conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, and cystic acne may not be the best candidates for lasers, and will require other methods.
Microneedling: (Collagen induction therapy) – Microneedling can be an effective treatment for scars that are lower in the skin, such as acne scars and stretch marks. Microneedling breaks up the collagen on the existing scar, and stimulates new collagen growth in the affected areas in order to add more volume and a smoother consistency in the skin. This treatment is widely used for patients who are prone to hyperpigmentation. In addition, microneedling also has the benefit of being able to treat fine lines and provide overall rejuvenation of the skin on the face.
Chemical Peels: Chemical peels remove the top layer of skin in order to regenerate new tissue. This treatment is best for surface level scars and scars that aren’t very large in size. In addition to improving the appearance of these surface level scars, it also reduces the appearance of sun damage, color irregularities, and can provide overall brightening of the face. When performed correctly, the side effects from most of these treatments are minor and temporary. After a treatment, you can expect redness and swelling, which disappears and fades in a few hours to a couple days at most.
Fibroblast: Plasma fibroblast treatment may sound like a made-up futuristic invention from the latest science-fiction franchise, but it is one of the newest anti-aging procedures available today. By utilizing the latest in modern beauty business technology, we can easily take care of any loose skin, acne scars, wrinkles, stretch marks, and pigmentation of the skin, all in one convenient, noninvasive treatment. This procedure stimulates cell renewal from the inside out and shows improvement of acne scars, creating smoother skin in just 2 to 3 sessions.