Your skin is the largest organ on your body and a big part of your health. The skin also maintains many different aspects of your appearance. One of the most important aspects of your skin is its ability to heal and protect you from the elements. Though it does a great job at healing from things like wounds, burns, and cuts, the skin leaves behind a scar. If the scar is somewhere prominent, like your face, it can be a major blow to your self-esteem. For those who have scars in highly visible or uncomfortable areas of the face, there is facial scar revision, a cosmetic procedure that can soften or enhance the appearance of scars.
Scar revision can soften the appearance of scars through the use of a variety of strategies. There are topical skin creams, minimally invasive procedures and surgical revision techniques with advanced wound-closure treatments. The type of treatment that is appropriate will vary depending on the type of scar, the age of the scar and the location of the scar. Scars are unfortunately permanent, but there are many available options to soften their appearance in sensitive areas.
Scars are a type of fibrous tissue that replaces the skin as it undergoes the natural healing process. Scar tissue is made of collagen, the same basic protein found in other parts of the body, but is different in the way it forms. Normal skin collagen is characterized by a randomized alignment of collagen proteins, whereas scar tissue is marked by collagen proteins patterned in the same direction. The randomized pattern of scar tissue doesn’t have as much of an ability to resist ultraviolet radiation and does not have sweat glands or hair follicles.
There are two general types of scars: hypertrophic and atrophic. Hypertrophic scars are a result of the body’s healing reaction where the body overproduces collagen. These kinds of scars tend to be raised, red lumps on the skin and expand beyond the borders of the wound. A more serious kind of hypertrophic scar is a keloid scar, which is often larger, can be painful and itchy, and puckers up. Atrophic scars appear as sunken recesses that replace the wound. This is a result of loss of underlying tissues like skin, fat, or muscle, which tends to happens with conditions like acne, chickenpox, or some skin diseases. Contractures are a type of scarring that tends to happen in the case of burns. This scar restricts movement and can affect the muscles.
Over-the-counter ointments, surgery, and minimally invasive treatments are possible ways to treat scars. For raised scars like keloid scars, chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser treatments may be appropriate. These types of “ablative” treatments have different methods of shaving away old, dead layers of skin. In the case of laser treatments, specific areas of skin are pulsed with laser energy to promote a healing reaction. Injections are effective for recessed scars. Surgical procedures generally are a matter of removing scar tissue entirely. Closures of the surgical incisions will heal more effectively because they are closed in layers for healing by “primary intention,” where the edges of the wounds are brought together.
Depending on your specific case, it’s important to consider all of your options for scar revision. If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to contact our office for a consultation with Dr. Berhane. During your consultation, you can gain a better sense of the procedure and what options are best for you. Contact us today for a consultation.