First, let me ask, what kind of scar or scars do you have?
The type of scars that you have and where they are will one hundred percent impact what the best treatment for YOUR scars is. You see, the best skin treatment for someone with a tummy tuck scar and black skin may not be the best scar treatment for someone with facial acne scars and white skin.
It’s fair to say then that there is no ‘best’ treatment for scars because everyone’s need and skin is so different, but there is the best treatment for your skin and your scars. This is where a skin consultation comes in because you need a practitioner or skin clinic who is willing and able to tailor your treatment plan to you and your scars.
However, the non-surgical cosmetic industry is packed with all kinds of different treatments so it can be really daunting knowing where to go and what to choose, so I am going to run through the different types of treatment we offer at our CQC-registered Hertfordshire skin clinic.
Before I do so, my best tip for when you’re researching your scar skin clinic is to look at one that offers multiple scar treatment options; as I mentioned before, there is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to scar treatment. In fact, some people often benefit from a combination of treatments to get their best results, for example, those with acne scarring probably have a few different types of scars in just one small area that will each respond best to a different treatment.
So, let’s jump in with our first treatment…
This is solely used for keloid scars. Keloids are frequently confused with hypertrophic scars. Hypertrophic scars are slightly thick and raised skin in the area that has been damaged and are a common scar. Keloid scars however are very different and must be treated as such. The British Association of Dermatologists defines a true Keloid scar as:
“A scar that overgrows and becomes larger than the original wound.”
Unlike Hypertrophic Scars, Keloids:
Steroid injections help to reduce the size and flatten the keloid scar. You may require a few treatment sessions. Keloids have the ability to grow back, even after treatment so you may require maintenance in the future.
Although pulse dye laser therapy is a known treatment for keloid scars, any damage to the skin in a keloid-prone person can risk the scar growing. Lasers create controlled damage which triggers the skin to heal, allowing scars to become smoother, flatter and less obvious; this is ideal in the skin that does not have keloids, however with keloids there is a risk of stimulating them and them becoming worse; this is why we only ever offer steroid treatment at our skin clinic.
Hypertrophic scars are thick, raised scars that may be red or pinky in colour. Over time, the colour of raised scars may fade which can help them to look less obvious.
This type of scar is common post-surgery or as the result of an injury to the skin. Our go-to treatment for hypertrophic scars is the Fraxel laser. At our Hertfordshire skin clinic, we can offer the extremely sought-after Fraxel Dual laser which is a ‘fractional’ laser; this means that it creates tiny channels in the skin, which mimic an injury, in a fraction of the skin at any one time. Now, creating an injury might sound counterintuitive, but it is entirely controlled-in fact we know precisely to what depth we’re going down in the skin. This controlled injury triggers your skin to quickly heal itself, removing the old and damaged skin cells and replacing them with new ones. The result is that the scar becomes smoother, flatter and starts to blend in with the ‘normal’ skin around it.
It is realistic to expect to need a course of scar treatment with the Fraxel laser. There’s lots more information here, should you be interested in learning more about how it could treat your hypertrophic scar.
‘Acne scars’ is more of a generalised name for a number of different scar types that have been left behind by acne. Acne scars can be made up of ice-pick scars, rolling scars, boxcar scars and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
The latter is a type of skin pigmentation which occurs because of trauma to your skin, however, it does not create a structural change in the skin; the skin remains smooth and flat. There are several treatments that may be suitable for these types of marks, including chemical peel; Clear and Brilliant laser aka ‘the baby Fraxel laser’; Fraxel laser; and micro-needling.
In our experience, many cases of atrophic acne scars (such as rolling scars or boxcar scars), often respond well to a course of Fraxel laser and sometimes combined with micro-needling and/or PRP therapy.
If the scar is tethered down to the deeper skin structures below (your practitioner should be able to assess this for you), the tethering may be causing the scar to look more obvious. If this is the case, then a treatment called Subcision may be appropriate. Subcision is a very minor surgical procedure where a hypodermic needle is inserted into the scar to break up the fibrous connective tissues that are causing the tethering. This treatment is performed under local anaesthetic, so you are comfortable. It results in the skin lifting and allowing scars to become smoother and flatter.
Some depressed scars may benefit from dermal filler treatment; this is where a synthetic hyaluronic acid which is designed to mimic the hyaluronic acid already found in your skin is injected into the atrophic scar to plump it up, helping it to blend in with the surrounding skin.
Jane Lewis, our MD said: “As each scar is totally unique, it is best to let a professional assess your skin and give you guidance on the type of scar treatment that is going to be the safest and effective for you. It is very uncommon that scars will require only one treatment session, so know that you are likely to require a course or a combination of treatments.
A great addition to in-clinic treatments is using a topical retinol product which helps your skin cells to turn over, gradually helping scars to fade. I have had one very patient patient who, partly because of the lockdowns, only ever used retinol with my instructions on a facial scar she had. After two years of persistent use, she came into our skin clinic to tell me how happy she was with the improvements it had made. Of course, this was over the course of two or more years and not everyone wants to wait that long, nor can we guarantee that level of improvement in every scar. But retinol is a fabulous adjunct to any scar treatment you decide to have.”
If you are looking for a skin clinic in Harpenden, St. Albans or the surrounding areas to treat your scarring, we would be happy to assess your skin and discuss the types of scar treatments that would be suitable. Contact us here for more information.
Disclaimer: This blog is not to be used for diagnostic purposes. We are all unique which means that our results, recovery and suitability for any type of treatment will vary. Always seek the advice of a professional should you have any health or cosmetic concerns or to discuss treatments specifically for you.
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