What is scar removal?
Damage to the deeper layer of our skin (dermis) is responsible for visible scarring. Damage to our epidermis, or the superficial layer of skin, will not always result in scars, but when there is skin damage, tissue break or a change to the architecture of the regular surface feature, a scar may be created.
Generally patients request a scar removal treatment when the scar is aesthetically undesirable. However, in some cases, patients ask for a scar removal procedure when the healing process results in keloids. Keloids are unsightly, itchy, red, thick, knobby bumps which continue to enlarge and create larger margins of the original wounds.
Scar removal is the treatment by which dermatologists can reduce or remove scars. The process may include injecting steroids directly into the fibrous scar tissue. Some thicker scars can be sanded and flattened by dermabrasion.
Depressed scars are elevated with the help of various treatments such as cosmetic skin fillers. Depending on your scar type and if you require facial scar treatment, a form of laser treatment may be necessary.
How is scar removal different from scar revision?
Scar revision usually consists of surgical treatments such as excision of a scar, skin grafting, flap reconstructive surgery or laser scar resurfacing. There are also special techniques used to address acne scarring such as subcision and punch elevation.
Benefits of scar removal
For many patients, having their scars less visible is the highlight of the treatment. It can promote self-confidence and where scars are restricting physical movement or causing pain, scar removal can help reduce discomfort.
One of the most significant benefits of scar removal treatments is that they are non-invasive in nature.
Chemical peeling, microdermabrasion, dermal fillers, and microlipoinjections are all examples of scar removal procedures which do not require undergoing surgery and have minimal downtime post-treatment. In contrast, scar revision procedures such as reconstructive surgery can take several operations and require longer recovery periods.
What types of scar respond well to scar removal?
Scar removal treatment is effective for many different types of scars including:
Hypertrophic scars: These are scars which rise above the skin and are visually red. Steroid injections can effectively treat these scars. In some cases, microdermabrasion and laser surgery may be required.
Keloids: These type of scars jut out from the skin. Keloids which are more prominent in size generally need surgery to be removed entirely. However smaller keloids can be treated with the help of steroid injections or laser surgery.
Depressed scars: Depressed scar treatment depends on how shallow or deep the scar is. These scars appear when the skin ceases to regrow healthy tissues. Procedures which respond well to depressed scars are laser resurfacing, chemical peeling, skin needling, microdermabrasion, laser resurfacing, punch excision and elevation and cosmetic fillers.
Is scar removal safe?
Since scar removal treatments are non-invasive and non-surgical in nature, they are highly safe. Most procedures take anywhere between 15-90 minutes with minimal recovery time post-treatment.
Microlipoinjection is considered a natural scar treatment because one’s fat is extracted from the body and reinjected into the scar area. This means there is no chance of allergic reactions.
Moreover, Dr Hills's extensive experience in scar treatment will assure you that you are in good and experienced hands.
How is scar removal performed?
The procedures can vary depending on the treatment your dermatologist has suggested for you.
Since the scar treatment is non-invasive, depending on the treatment, they require none or minimal pain medication or sedation.
Treatments and procedures
Microdermabrasion - Using the machine the surface of your skin is cleansed and the blocked pores are emptied with a vacuuming action. The device then cleanses the skin and puts a layer of corundum crystals on the skin which helps in removing the dead skin cells. The dead skin cells and the crystals are then suctioned up and discarded in a waste container, giving you a healthy glow.
Microneedling - For your comfort, at Aesthetix, we apply a layer of topical anaesthetic to the skin which is left on the surface of your skin 30 minutes before the scar removal procedure. Depending on your needs the skin needling device is then moved over your skin in a specific pattern. During the process, you will feel a prickling sensation as the roller moves over the surface. However, the procedure is not uncomfortable after the targeted area has been treated.
Microlipoinjection - This procedure requires you to take a local or general anaesthetic. The fat from your donor site is extracted via an incision. Once removed and separated from other fluids, the fat is then injected into your recipient site.
Cosmetic fillers - Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a smooth injectable gel made from natural sugar complex found in living cells, including human skin. The dermatologist injects this natural gel into the affected area. HA helps to keep the skin hydrated and gives it a visibly structured appearance by combining with collagen and elastin in your skin.
Chemical peeling - The skin is cleansed by the dermatologist before the procedure to remove any oils or grease on the surface. Once the peel solution is applied to your skin, you may feel a stinging or burning sensation for 5-10 minutes. However, there is no discomfort for the rest of the procedure.
What can be expected after the scar removal procedure?
Since the solutions used in scar removal treatments are all either derivatives of chemicals found in our skin or our fats, the chance of any allergies or side effects are reduced tremendously.
However, depending on the procedure you have undergone, in some cases, there may be some skin color alterations, discomfort around the procedure site, redness or swelling, increased circulation and mild exfoliation of the skin.
However, it is vital for you to take care of your skin after the procedure. Do not rub your skin and always use creams and sun protection as prescribed by your doctor.
How long will the improvement last?
Everyone’s programme is tailored to suit their individual needs. In some cases, just one procedure is enough to deliver the desired results.
However, in some cases, more than one procedure may be required. For example, In case of microlipoinjections, the improvements are long-lasting. Some follow up injections may be necessary.
How to prepare for the scar removal procedure
Before the procedure, it is essential to let your dermatologist know if you are taking any medications regularly and any current illness or allergies you may have. You should also provide details of your daily skin care regime.
If you are undergoing skin needling, it is crucial to let the dermatologists know of any cold sores. In the case of microlipoinjection, no smoking or alcohol must be consumed a week before the procedure.
It is also important to be comfortable with your dermatologist and make sure you feel informed about your procedure. Read about your dermatologist and their qualifications thoroughly. You can read more about Dr Russell Hills and his qualifications and experience.
Make sure you meet with the dermatologist before your procedure date and ask any questions you may have.
Most of all, even though there is minimal time taken off after the procedure, it is essential to arrange for someone to be at home for the first 24 hours post-treatment for your comfort.