Throughout our lives, we all have experiences that injure our skin, leaving behind unwanted scars. Any burn, injury, surgery, or other trauma can cause these. How your skin develops scars depends on multiple factors: the depth and size of the wound, your heredity, your age, and even your gender and ethnicity.
Since it is more fragile than normal skin tissue, scar tissue is more susceptible to damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Other characteristics are that sweat glands and hair follicles do not grow back after the wound heals.
If your scars are affecting your self-confidence and quality of life, you can learn more about the scar revision techniques offered by an experienced board-certified facial cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Malena Amato, in Austin, TX, by contacting her online.
What Causes Scars?
When the layer of connective tissue below the epidermis takes damage, the body responds to close the wound by creating fibrous bands of collagen. These collagen fibers differ from normal skin by being stronger and with a different texture than the skin around them.
In some cases, this difference is minimal, as many scars gradually fade with time. They may become smooth and pale and be easy to ignore or conceal with cosmetics. However, in some cases, scars can be noticeable by being discolored, raised, pitted, or even sunken.
Raised scars, known as keloid or hypertrophic scars, can form when the body produces too much collagen during healing. Pitted scars can result from the loss of muscle tissue or fat below the skin due to injury.
With the normal shedding and regrowth of the dermis, superficial scars often disappear on their own. However, when a scar has grown into the dermis, normal cellular renewal does not reach its deeper layers. In these cases, scar revision therapies can play a role in completely rejuvenating badly damaged skin.
What Are the Different Types of Scars?
Scar tissue consists of collagen, the same protein found in normal skin. However, it differs in appearance from healthy skin because the collagen fibers in scar tissue form into a “cross-stitch” pattern, whereas a woven pattern more closely characterizes normal collagen.
- Hypertrophic scars: These result from the body producing too much collagen in the form of red bumps in the scarred area. They typically form in shape and size a month or two after the wound heals.
- Keloid scars: A type of hypertrophic scar, not always forming as a result of a wound, these not only show as red bumps on the skin. They can extend beyond the original wound site and do not diminish in size over time.
- Contracture scars: Often associated with burns, these scars tighten the skin, which can impair one’s ability to move. Contracture scars may also extend deeper, affecting muscles and nerves.
- Atrophic scars: This type of scar is generally the result of losing muscle or fat from an of the body, causing the skin to sink. Acne scarring or surgical scars are examples of these.
- Stretch marks: Caused by rapid weight gain or loss, as a result of pregnancy or growth spurts, these stretch marks are also more of a cosmetic concern than a medical issue.
- Acne scars: Any type of acne can leave behind scars, and these can be shallow or deep.
Should you have any concerns about treating your scars with a cosmetic scar revision, Dr. Malena Amato would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Contact her at Eyelid & Facial Plastic Surgery Associates in Austin, TX, and arrange a free consultation.
Can I Prevent Scars?
Not all wounds will form scars, especially if they are only a simple knee scrape or a scratch. However, a deeper wound, especially if it takes longer for your skin to heal, will be more likely to form scar tissue. Generally, the longer it takes your skin to heal, the more likely you are to develop a scar at the site of an injury.
After an injury or surgical procedure, proper wound care is vital in preventing the formation of raised, darkened, or uneven scar tissue. After sustaining a deep wound, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention and to make sure the wound closes quickly. Scar prevention measures are most effective when a wound is still fresh.
During cosmetic surgery like that performed by Dr. Amato, small incisions, laser, and endoscopic surgical methods minimize the risk of scarring. In the unlikely event that scarring does occur, she will provide scar revision treatment, which rejuvenates the skin and restores a smooth, unblemished surface.
What Are the Best Ways to Treat Scars?
There are a variety of options you can consider for the treatment of scars. Some of these may be more effective than others.
- Over-the-counter solutions: These products, which can be prescription creams, ointments, or gels, may reduce scars caused by surgical incisions or other injuries and wounds. You can ask your doctor for recommendations. Treatment options could include antihistamine creams if your scars are sensitive and cause itching or corticosteroids. Pressure dressings or silicone gel sheeting can prevent acne scars and to treat existing scars.
- Surgery: Many options exist in this category, and these include skin grafts and scar removal surgery.
- Injections: In cases involving protruding scars such as hypertrophic scars or keloids, steroid injections can flatten the scars. These injections can be a stand-alone treatment or in combination with other therapies.
- Laser surgery: During laser scar revision, Dr. Amato applies a Co2 laser to treat the fibrous bands of collagen and to stimulate the healing of the scar within the dermis. This treatment encourages the skin to start regenerating. In the weeks that follow treatment, healthy skin cells gradually replace damaged cells, and the distribution of collagen evens out. The Co2 fractional laser Dr. Amato uses is a specialized medical laser that is excellent for cosmetic purposes, including scar revision.
- Exfoliation, chemical peels or dermabrasion: Removal of the scarred layer of skin can often lighten the appearance of a scar. However, during your consultation with Dr. Amato, you’ll be able to discuss whether this type of procedure can help you.
- Fillers: While not permanent, fillers can introduce normal collagen into an atrophic scar. You may need to repeat the procedure every few months to maintain your desired results.
For your cosmetic scar revision, Dr. Malena Amato can help you improve your confidence and quality of life. To learn more about the outstanding scar revision techniques she offers, contact her at Eyelid & Facial Plastic Surgery Associates in Austin, TX, or by calling (512) 501-1010 to arrange a free consultation. She’ll be happy to answer any questions you have about scar treatment.