Scars form when our skin heals from surgery or injury. They’re usually different to normal skin, with a different colour and texture. For some, scarring affects their lives, making it hard to move or look good. That’s why doctors sometimes recommend scar tissue reduction treatment.
This treatment helps reduce the look and feel of scars over time. Different methods can be used, including creams, laser treatments, surgery and silicone gels or sheets. Your doctor will decide which is best for you, after examining your scar.
Causes of Scar Tissue
Scar tissue can cause discomfort, due to it forming after an injury or surgery. To reduce it, we should understand the causes and treatments. This article will explore what can cause scar tissue and some ways to reduce it. So we can feel more comfortable again!
The causes of scar tissue include:
The treatments for scar tissue include:
- Topical creams
- Laser treatments
Skin trauma or injury is often the cause of scar tissue. This trauma can be anything from a deep cut to burns or stitches. It all results in the same thing – increased collagen production to repair the damage and protect against infection. The severity of the injury affects how much scarring remains after healing. Also, where the trauma happened may mean thicker, more pronounced scarring.
To prevent trauma-based scars, proper wound care is key – this stops infections and reduces inflammation which slows healing. Treatment for trauma-based scarring focuses on reducing the effects:
- Laser therapy helps break down collagen;
- Microdermabrasion and chemical peels promote cell turnover; and
- Corticosteroid injections reduce inflammation for keloids.
Scar tissue is something that forms when our body repairs itself after surgery. Fibroblasts make a strong protein, collagen, to bind and hold skin together. This can lead to a scar if there’s an overgrowth of this protein.
Surgery can cause lots of scarring – from mole removal to more complex procedures. Factors like genetics and lifestyle play a role in how visible the scar is.
Watch out for signs of scarring like discoloration, hyperpigmentation or raised patches (keloids or hypertrophic scars). Advanced treatments like laser resurfacing, injections and silicone sheet dressings can help.
Acne is a common cause of scarring, often seen in teens and young adults. It is caused by pores clogged with too much sebum, dirt and bacteria. This leads to inflammation of the skin, resulting in blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, and nodules. Severe acne can cause permanent marks in the form of scar tissue.
Squeezing spots or picking at affected areas can worsen scarring. Healing occurs by tissue growing in size rather than rebuilding skin cells, leaving scars. If your skin has discoloration and textural abnormalities due to acne, you may want to try scar reduction treatments. These can be:
- Chemical peels
- Laser surgery
They help reduce redness and improve texture over time by stimulating collagen growth and reducing damage from acne lesions.
Types of Scar Tissue
Scar tissue can happen after an injury, surgery, or any trauma. Collagen fibers form this tissue as the body’s natural healing process. Where and how bad the injury is decide the type of scar. There are many types of scars, such as hypertrophic and contracture.
In this article, we will explore them and how to lessen them.
Hypertrophic scars are raised, red lesions that form on the skin. On the face, chest, arms, and legs, they are common. The cause of these scars is unknown. But, trauma to the skin, genetics, hormones, or collagen disorders may be responsible. Hypertrophic scarring can last months or years. There is thickening of the tissue layers, not a change in skin color.
Treatments for hypertrophic scars depend on severity.
- Specialized creams,
- laser therapy,
- or injections
may reduce scarring. Before starting any treatment, a qualified doctor should be consulted due to potential side effects.
Keloid scars are raised and lumpy, often red and purple. They look bigger than the wound or irritation that caused them. It’s important to measure the length, width and height of the scar. Thankfully, there are treatments that may reduce the scar’s appearance.
These treatments can be divided into two types: topical treatments and invasive procedures. Topical treatments like silicone sheets and creams can flatten and fade the scar with regular use. Surgery and injections can dissolve or shrink the scar. These include laser surgery, steroid injections, cryotherapy, pressure garments and dermabrasion.
It’s best to speak to an experienced professional before deciding which treatment is best for you. This depends on the severity, size and location of the scar.
Contracture scars appear when skin is burned or exposed to extreme heat. This causes the skin and underlying tissue to shrink, often leading to movement restriction near joints like fingers, elbows and shoulders. Deep and serious contracture scars can also involve contraction of the underlying muscles.
Treatment depends on the severity. Surgery may be needed to stretch the skin back into its natural place. Topical steroids and silicone gel sheets are also options. Massage with steroid creams can reduce scarring over time.
Treatments for Scar Tissue
Scars are signs of unfortunate past events that can truly affect someone’s wellbeing. Although there is no miracle cure for eliminating them, there are treatments to make them less visible and improve the skin’s appearance. In this article, we’ll look at the available treatments to reduce scar tissue:
Topical treatments are non-surgical, noninvasive treatments that can be used on skin to reduce scarring. These treatments are generally budget-friendly and easy to use, making them a great choice for home treatments or professional therapies. Types of topical treatments include:
- Silicone-Based Products: Gels, squares or sheets are applied directly to the scar. The silicone prevents water loss, which helps skin remain moisturized and speeds up healing.
- Hydrocortisone Creams and Ointments: These creams reduce inflammation around the scar tissue, making the scar less noticeable. But, don’t use them on open sores or deep wounds as it can irritate skin.
- Medicated Ointments or Gels: Vitamin E oil, onion extract and aloe vera gel reduce swelling, pain and discoloration in the skin surrounding the scar. Research suggests onion extract gel might improve hypertrophic scars.
- Herbal Remedies: Traditional herbal remedies from ayurveda or traditional Chinese medicine have been used for centuries to soothe marks. People still use these today to manage scar tissue with visible results after regular use.
Injections are a little and not-so-invasive way to reduce the look of scars. Such injections contain a mix of steroids, hyaluronic acid fillers, collagen stimulators, and intralesional triamcinolone acetonide.
- Steroids reduce inflammation around the scar, decreasing redness & superficial scarring.
- Hyaluronic acid fillers add volume to the skin, evening out indents in scarred areas.
- Collagen stimulators encourage collagen production in the area, making scars less visible.
- Intralesional triamcinolone acetonide can be injected, softening scars by hydrating deep tissue.
Injectables can be effective, but not for everyone. People with autoimmune issues and those who’ve had surgery in the same area should speak to their doctor before getting any injectable treatments for scars.
Laser therapy is a great way to reduce scar tissue size, thickness, and visibility. It works by sending light energy to the scar tissue, encouraging skin remodeling and healing. It is far faster and less painful than surgery or topical treatments.
A beam of laser light is used during treatment. It penetrates the skin and breaks down old scar tissue, and stimulates new collagen growth for improved texture, color, pliability, and dimension. After each session, some mild redness is common and should subside in a few days.
The number of sessions needed depends on age, the severity, and size of the scar tissue. Usually, 1-3 sessions are enough, but deeper scars may need more treatments. Results vary from person to person, but many report long-lasting success.
Surgery is the usual way to treat scar tissue. The kind of surgery you need depends on the scar’s severity. Here are some examples that might be suggested:
- Scar excision: Taking out damaged and excess tissue to reduce the scar’s look. Dermabrasion or laser resurfacing may help healing.
- Scar reconstruction: Surgery to fix the deep skin layers (dermis) to restore normal shape. Excess tissue might be taken away, and unused muscles can be removed for better closure.
- Skin grafts: Healthy skin from other parts of your body (thigh, chest) is transferred to cover scarred parts. This often goes with dermabrasion.
No treatment will make scars invisible. But surgical procedures often reduce them significantly, and they look better over time if done by an experienced surgeon.
Prevention of Scar Tissue
Scar tissue can be a common and upsetting outcome of surgery, trauma, and other medical treatments. It can be bothersome, itchy and often long-lasting. Thankfully, there are some preventive measures one can take to help reduce the amount of scar tissue.
In this section, we will look at the preventive strategies and techniques available:
Follow Post-Surgical Instructions
It is vital to do all that you can to ensure proper healing and avoid scarring after surgery. This means caring for wounds, avoiding strenuous activities, using compression garments, and taking any prescribed medications. It is also important to not cause any further injury or trauma to the incision site. Following physical therapy instructions and allowing enough time for full recovery are key elements.
Additionally, natural remedies such as massage, moist heat, and exercise may help improve healing and reduce scarring by increasing collagen production. You can also try topical vitamin E oil and Vitamin A creams, but it is best to talk to your doctor first.
Protect your wounded skin from sun exposure. It can cause burns, irritation and slow healing. To reduce the chances of scarring, use sunscreen that is SPF 15 or higher. Apply it liberally before going outside. Wear clothing that covers the wounds to limit exposure to harmful UV radiation.
For those at high risk of scarring, UPF 50+ rated long sleeve shirts, pants and hats might be a good option.
Avoid Picking at Scars
Avoid picking a healing wound or injury! Doing this can damage the area, put bacteria and debris in, and increase the risk of infection. Keep it clean and dry. Cover it with gauze or an adhesive bandage to protect it.
If you have scars, take steps to reduce how visible they are. This can be done with
- laser therapy, or
- pressure bandaging.
Ask your doctor or dermatologist for help.
Scar tissue reduction can be a long and difficult process. It depends on the size, age, and severity of the scar. For best results, research treatments and find a specialist.
Traditional excisions, hormones therapy, laser resurfacing, dermal fillers, microneedling with radio frequency, silicone sheets and creams may help reduce scars.
The most important step is talking to a healthcare provider who has experience with scar tissue reduction. With personalized care and time to heal, it is possible for scars to shrink.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How does scar tissue reduction work?
Scar tissue reduction typically involves using various techniques, such as massage, laser therapy, or surgery, to break up or remove scar tissue. The goal is to improve the appearance of the scar, increase mobility, and alleviate any pain or discomfort caused by the scarring.
2. Is scar tissue reduction painful?
The level of pain associated with scar tissue reduction depends on the specific technique used. While some methods may cause discomfort or mild pain during the procedure, most patients report little to no pain afterwards. Your doctor or therapist can discuss pain management options with you before any procedure.
3. How long does scar tissue reduction take?
The length of time it takes to reduce scar tissue varies depending on the severity of the scarring, the treatment method used, and how well you respond to the treatment. Some people may see improvement in just a few sessions, while others may require several months of treatment to achieve the desired results.
4. Are there any risks associated with scar tissue reduction?
As with any medical procedure, there are certain risks associated with scar tissue reduction. These may include infection, bleeding, scarring, or nerve damage. However, in most cases, the benefits of reducing scar tissue outweigh the risks.
5. Who is a good candidate for scar tissue reduction?
Anyone looking to reduce the appearance of scarring or alleviate pain caused by scar tissue may be a good candidate for scar tissue reduction. However, it is important to talk with your doctor or therapist to determine if a specific treatment is right for you, based on your individual needs and medical history.
6. Does insurance cover scar tissue reduction?
Whether or not insurance covers scar tissue reduction depends on the specific treatment method used and your insurance policy. Massage therapy or laser treatment may be covered under some policies, but surgery may require prior authorization or be considered a cosmetic procedure and therefore, not covered.