Scars are your body’s natural response to significant tears in the skin, but they can also be uncomfortable, itchy, and unsightly. Many patients take a confidence hit when they realize they have developed scar tissue or that their scars are not fading as they hoped. Managing the appearance of scar tissue usually comes down to the first steps of scar treatment you take, so keep reading to learn how U Plastic Surgery + Aesthetics can help you reduce these effects.
How Are Scars Formed?
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.
Types of Scars
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.
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.
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.
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. Tag.
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.
First Steps of Scar Treatment
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 scar cream that has silicone in it. We recommend Biocorneum cream to all our patients (we have in the office).
Dr. Tag counsels started scar cream at two weeks post op. The silicone, moisture, and pressure can help set up scar for an optimized result while the collagen in the scar is remodeling.
For more advanced scarring, like keloids or hypertrophic tissue, corticosteroid injection treatments may offer relief. These scars can be a result of too much tension, trauma, and genetics. These shots may reduce inflammation or discomfort and show the best results over a series of repeated treatments.
Using tiny needles to penetrate the top layer of skin, the microneedling technique stimulates more even collagen production. The new collagen minimizes the look of scar tissue, making your skin appear tighter, smoother, and brighter.
Scar Revision Surgery
For more prominent or particularly discomforting scars, excision/revision is a potential treatment option at U Plastic Surgery + Aesthetics. This procedure removes the scar altogether before recovering it with a flap of skin or skin graft from another area of the body.
Scars look the most red and firm in the first 3-6 months. Final scar appearance is evident at 1-2 years! So key is consistent scar care, avoiding sun exposure, and above all else….Patience!!! It’s a process that takes much longer than your surgery to heal!
The Only Thing That Matters Is U
At U Plastic Surgery + Aesthetics, Dr. Tag’s sole focus is your experience, confidence, and beautiful results. Whether you’re looking to reduce the appearance of scar tissue or find your best self through any of our other treatments, we’re here to help you feel comfortable in the mirror. Contact our Baltimore-area team today to get started!