What causes scarring and how to get rid of them

No matter the cause, having scars can impact a person’s self-esteem in many ways. It can be frustrating to deal with scarring whether caused by acne, scrapes, or other severe injuries.

What causes scarring?

A scar is a fibrous tissue that contains high levels of collagen—the protein responsible for stimulating the production of new, healthy skin cells to repair the damage sustained from the injury. A visible scar forms when collagen levels at the wound site surpass the requirements of the damaged tissue. More often than not, we see scarring related to acne.

What are the different types of scars?

Scars vary significantly in terms of location, size, and depth; however, all scars typically fall under one of four general categories:

Contractures: occur when a wound crosses a joint, or when there is a significant amount of tissue loss (as with a severe burn) and the skin and underlying tissue pull together during the healing process, causing the skin to contract and restricting movement in and around the area adjacent to the injury.

Hypertrophic Scars: often present as red, raised, and potentially painful clusters of scar tissue that form around the wound site. Hypertrophic scars may expand in width over time, and can be darker in color (hyperpigmented) or lighter in color (hypopigmented) than the patient’s healthy skin tone.

Discoloration and Surface Irregularities: scars in this category generally do not cause physical pain, nor do they have a detrimental impact on the body’s ability to function normally. Acne scars, as well as scars resulting from previous surgery or minor injury fall under this category and can be treated depending on severity.

Keloid Scars: typically larger than hypertrophic scars, keloid scars often extend beyond the edges of the original wound, and have the potential to pucker, or to become itchy or painful. 

How do you get rid of scars?

Scar revision treatment is largely determined by the type and degree of scarring. 

Treatments may include topical treatments, minimally invasive procedures or surgical procedures using advanced wound closure techniques

Surface Treatments: these treatments function by minimizing uneven pigmentation and softening surface irregularities through the removal (exfoliation) of the outermost skin layers, or by altering the surface of the skin and promoting the growth of healthy skin cells at the wound site. Microneedling, microdermabrasion, laser/light therapy, and chemical peels are examples of treatments in this category.

Injectable Treatments: steroidal-based compounds that are periodically injected at the wound site in order to reduce collagen build-up and improve the appearance of the raised scar tissue

Topical Treatments: best suited for very minor wounds, this category includes gels, tapes, or external compression to facilitate wound healing and closure. Silicone gels work well as first line agents for some scars.

Surgical Treatments: best suited for deeper scars and for scars that impair the patient’s mobility, surgical scar revision techniques may include pharmaceutical tissue substitutes, complex flap closure, or tissue expansion (used as an alternative to skin grafts).

And while scars cannot be completely removed, there are many tools dermatologists can use to lessen the appearance of scars. 

If you have scarring you are concerned with, come visit Dr. Maryann Mikhail here at Waverly DermSpa! Call 954-666-3736 to book your appointments.