Here are the different types of scar treatments
Scars are, unfortunately, unavoidable remnants of skin traumas that affect multiple skin layers, and their development is never predictable. Sometimes, when a wound heals poorly, it can cause scars that are very noticeable, even disfiguring, but even wounds that heal perfectly can become scars. Scars can be simple discolorations, they can be raised bands of tissue, or they can be sunken depressions in the skin.
Your possible avenues of treatment are affected by the type of scar and your skin type. The treatments available include topical creams and gels, minimally invasive procedures like dermabrasion and laser scar removal, and surgical revision. It is important for all patients to remember that no matter what method you choose to reduce the appearance of your scars, scar tissue is permanent and although it can be made less noticeable, it can never be completely erased.
Surgical Revision – Is it Right for Me?
Surgery to revise a scar is a very personal procedure. It should be done only for medical reasons (such as to remove and reduce scars that restrict movement of the muscles and tendons beneath the skin) or for a person to feel better about themselves. No surgical procedure should ever be done to make someone else happy! Scar revision surgery can be performed on most people (although it is usually not performed on children), and treatment is most effective for patients who are healthy, do not smoke, do not have any active skin conditions in the area of the scar, and who have a positive attitude and realistic ideas about what surgery can do for them.
Laser Scar Removal
Laser treatment for scars involves using a pulsing, concentrated laser light, which helps to destroy the top layer of skin without affecting the epidermis. This allows the top layer to grow back as new, healthy, smooth skin. It significantly reduces the appearance of scars, especially acne scars, and helps create a smoother, more even skin surface. There are many new lasers including advanced cooling systems that make treatment more comfortable.
Topical Scar Removal Creams
Scar removal creams and gels often contain natural home remedy-type ingredients that are supposed to lighten the color of scars, reduce the swollen skin, and break tough collagen bands. Some even have compounds like alpha hydroxy that work in the same way as Microdermabrasion to help exfoliate the skin to allow for new skin growth and make the skin smoother. They are most effective on raised scars, but can also help with recessed and pitted scars.
How effective are Acne Scar Removal Creams?
There have not been many official scientific studies conducted by doctors on acne scar removal products. Most evidence for their effectiveness is based entirely on testimonials and anecdotes. Most dermatologists advise that creams and gels that purport to remove scars will actually reduce their appearance but caution that nothing will completely remove scars, and that some creams have no significant effect whatsoever. How well the creams and gels work is based entirely upon the type of scar, how severe it is, and the location. Shallow acne scars will show more improvement with creams than pits and “ice-pick” type scarring. It can take up to a month, sometimes longer, for improvement to begin, so if you are using this method, be patient. Follow the product directions, and talk to your doctor as well.
Silicone Scar Sheets
Silicone scar sheets work on the concept of applying pressure to a scar. They can help reduce present scars, and stop the formation of new scars in recently healed wounds. The sheets contain a layer of silicone gel that rests against the skin, with the outside side being lined with either film or fabric. They stick much like a bandage. The Cochrane Library recently published a meta-study that was inconclusive in determining the effectiveness of silicone gel sheets in preventing and reducing scarring.
The study referred to past studies and determined that many of these were biased, or did not follow the scientific method. However, there have been a number of neutral clinical studies, which have determined the safety of silicone gel sheets and have shown some effectiveness in the treatment. There are currently ongoing controlled clinical studies that are testing the effectiveness of silicone gel sheets. The Scar treatment has been subjected to trials that are more clinical.