Removing Facial Scars, Keloids, and Stretch Marks
People have scars for a variety of reasons, which often makes them very conscious of their appearance, especially with facial scars. Scars may occur due to burns, surgeries, small injuries, acne or major accidents.
For many decades those that suffered from scars had little recourse to remove them, other than over the counter creams or expensive surgeries. The three types of common scars are keloids, hypertrophic scars and contractures.
Anatomy of the Skin
The skin is the largest body organ and consists of 5 layers. The top layer of skin (epidermis) is the first line of defense against pathogens. The top layer of skin also contains dead skin cells, which are shed continually. Damage to this layer heals by rebuilding skin cells and scarring is light. The thickest skin is on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands.
The skin has layers of cells:
- stratum basale
- stratum spinosum
- stratum granulosum
- stratum corneum
The dermis is the second layer of skin, which contains tough connective tissue, sweat glands and hair follicles.
Scars are formed as part of the natural healing process for more serious injuries. The way a scar develops depends on the nature of the injury and the body’s ability to heal itself.
Types of Scars
Keloid: They occur due to tough, fibrous protein (collagen), which forms after a wound heals around its edges. They look puckered, thick and they are itchy. They may occur anywhere on the body.
Hypertrophic: These scars are similar to keloids, but they remain within the body of the scar.
Contractures: Contractures occur when large areas of skin are injured and the formation of a scar pulls the surrounding skin together forming a contracture.
Facial scars: They can affect facial expressions and are of concern to most patients. Severe acne can also cause some facial scarring. The acne scars can be deep pits to a wavelike appearance.
Types of Treatment for Scars
There are several types of treatments for scars, which will depend on the nature of the scar.
Facial scars can sometimes be treated with dermabrasion. This is effective for acne scarring. Steroid injections and silicone sheets to flatten the scar may be used.
Laser surgery is very effective for several types of scar removal, including keloids, hypertrophic and atrophic scarring. The physician moves the laser along the scar, which exposes the healthy skin that will minimize the scar.
Z-plasty surgery is performed by a plastic surgeon for more extensive scars. The purpose of this surgery is to reposition a scar to conform to the natural lines or creases on your face or other areas of the body. The old scar is removed, and then flaps of skin are created, arranged and closed up with tiny stitches.
Skin graphs are also used for large scarred areas and are commonly used to treat burns. This procedure removes healthy skin from one area of the body to use on the injured area.
My Facial Scar Revision Looks Great
As with any surgery, expect some swelling, bruising and redness. Use a cold compress to reduce swelling. Follow your physician’s instructions carefully. Depending on the severity of the surgery more rest would be appropriate. The surgeon will require follow-up appointments to evaluate healing.
Methods of scar removal are very effective, plus there are over-the-counter bandages and creams that help prevent scarring.
Your insurance may not pay for scar removal, and it can be expensive. It might be wise to get more than one opinion from a plastic surgeon.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.