If you have a scar, it not only mars the surface of your skin but it may seem to leave a mark on your confidence, as well. On the other hand, getting rid of unwanted scars may not only improve your appearance, but also your self-esteem.
How scars form
Scar tissue is the result of the body’s imperfect way of healing itself after an injury. When the deep layer of the skin is damaged (the dermis), the body reacts by recruiting a number of cells of various types. Blood cells help stop the bleeding, immune cells help fight infection, and skin cells help regrow skin. The skin cells, called fibroblasts, produce various substances to help the skin regrowing process. One of these substances is collagen, a substance that gives skin its structure and consistency.
In normal skin growth, collagen proteins overlap in a variety of directions. The collagen molecules that form in response to an injury, however, typically position themselves in one direction. This is what makes the texture of a scar different from the surrounding skin. This scar tissue isn’t nearly as flexible as ‘normal’ skin, and doesn’t contain nerves or blood supply, hair follicles, or sweat glands. In short, it looks different than surrounding skin.
How scars form
Types of scars
- Hypertrophic – Hypertrophic scars are typically pinkish-red tinged and slightly raised. They may flatten and fade over time, but usually do not go away without specific treatment.
- Atrophic – Atrophic scars form beneath the surface of the skin, creating a trough. They are typical in wounds where muscle or skin has been damaged. Acne scars and chicken pox scars are examples of atrophic scars.
- Keloid – Keloid scars are a form of hypertrophic scar that is usually deep red-purple in color and elevated. They are more common in people of Hispanic and African descent. Keloids are caused by the production of excess collagen in the scar tissue.
- Contracture – Contracture scars occur most commonly in people who have sustained serious burns. They create a puckered, rough surface that tends to pull skin toward the center of the injury.
- Stretch marks – A very common scar that occurs in areas of rapid tissue expansion, e.g., during pregnancy or weightlifting
Scar treatments are tailored to the type of scar and the patient’s aesthetic and personal goals. They include:
- Injected corticosteroids
- Injected 5-fluorouracil
- Silicone gel sheets
- Surgical excision
- Radiation therapy
- Laser therapy
- Chemical peels
- Injectable fillers
- Scar revision surgery
If you are concerned about a scar, contact Dr, Jeannie Khavkin at Nuance Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery to discuss your treatment options. Together, you can decide on a treatment approach that is most appropriate for your scar type and condition and best serves your treatment goals.