Scar Treatment

Latest update: April 11, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jennifer Trent MD, FAAD
How it works

Details

Scars form when the deeper, thicker layers of skin are damaged. To heal itself, the body produces collagen, which seals the wound, mending the damage. The new tissue’s texture can be raised, pitted and uneven compared to the rest of the surrounding skin. Scars tend to be more prominent in darker-skinned people. 

Most scars go through 4 stages of healing: hemostasis, inflammatory, proliferative, and remodeling stages. In the first stage, the wound stops bleeding. Next, the body works to prevent or treat the infection. This takes a few days. The third stage can take up to 4 weeks and involves the growth of new cells to seal the injury. During this stage, the body produces collagen to strengthen the area. The prominence of the scar is sometimes determined by how long this stage lasts. The final stage can take years. It can result in the scar shrinking to a thinner, flatter shape.

There are different types of scars:
•           Normal fine-line scars are the most common type and develop following an incision or cut.
•           Hypertrophic scars develop due to the excess production of collagen. They keep to the boundaries of the original wound.
•           Keloid scars are also the result of excess collagen, but they extend beyond the original wound when healed.
•           Pitted/sunken scars, such as chickenpox or acne scars, take their name from their appearance. They can be caused by loss of fat.
•           Finally, scar contractures / burn scars. 

Scars can be treated in various ways, and the efficacy will depend on the type and age of the scar. Topical treatments include vitamin E creams, holistic extracts, and silicone. Scars can also be treated with steroid injections or tape to help flatten the area.
 
Topical Silicone Gel or Sheeting can be used to treat normal scars and is effective on keloid and hypertrophic scars. Brand name products include Embrace and Biocorneum. Both treatments are applied directly to the area. Biocorneum is effective at flattening hypertrophic scars.

Botox stops muscle movement to reduce tension in the area around the scar. This will prevent the scar from growing and getting worse. Botox injections must be performed on new scars.

Microneedling is used to remodel the scar by targeting the deeper layers of the skin to stimulate collagen production and break up the scar tissue. The procedure is safe for all skin types and tones.
Anesthesia
depends on treatment
Operation Time
depends on treatment
Inpatient Period
n/a
Number of Appointments
depends on treatment
Recovery Period
depends on treatment
Invasiveness
depends on treatment

Modes and Timing of Treatment for Wounds and Older Scars, Including Acne Scarring

Do you have older scars that you would like to seek treatment for? Dr. Amiya Prasad, cosmetic and oculofacial surgeon, answers questions about scar treatment. He covers various treatments but focuses on Microneedling. He covers various aspects of scars and scarring. He covers alternatives to Microneedling and talks about how lasers can help treat scars. He considers when to treat the scar and talks about the phases of wound healing.

Scars and How to Treat Them like a Dermatologist

Drs. Maxwell and Shah talk about scars and how to treat them like a dermatologist. They cite this as a popular topic and one they are discussing by request. They talk about how minimizing scars is one of their key goals but how, with any procedure that involves the piercing of skin, scars are inevitable. They explain how various things affect the formation of scars and encourage patients to have realistic expectations. They cover the different types of scars and how they can be treated.