Your skin is a seamless, critical organ. You can think of it as a silk cloth protecting valuable possessions, where a small tear or blemish can make a big difference in its appearance. It’s the same with your skin. Any injury, burn, abrasion, or incision can cause an unsightly scar.
When this blemish is in a location that is easy to hide, it’s not so bad. But when a scar is in the open for all to see, you may wonder how to make it appear less visible or go away. Unfortunately, a scar will never wholly become invisible, but treatments exist that can reduce its size and soften its appearance.
What is a Scar?
A visible scar is the result of built-up tissue comprised of the natural protein collagen. Collagen fibers that collect around a wound will form a different pattern, causing the skin to look different than the adjacent skin tissue. The scar tissue forms a cross-stitch pattern, distinct from the natural woven pattern of collagen.
The scar tissue is different in many ways from the healthy tissue surrounding it, and it is more susceptible to the sun’s UV rays. Hair follicles rarely grow back after a wound heals, making the area more distinctive, as well.
Different Scar Types
Not all scars are created equal. Although they are composed of the same types of cells and tissue, there are different types. They include:
These scars are a result of the body generating too much collagen to the wound area. Red bumps emerge on the scarred area and typically take a defined shape a month or two after the area heals.
Much like a hypertrophic scar, keloid scars present red bumps but may grow beyond the original wound and never go away. Keloid scars are more common in individuals with darker skin types. Although they form after injuries, they may appear spontaneously. They generally don’t pose health risks but can be a significant aesthetic issue.
These skin irregularities are often the result of losing muscle or fat in an area, making the skin appear void or sunken. Surgical and acne scarring fall into this category.
Stretch marks form when the skin stretches rapidly and for an extended period. They result from pregnancy or weight fluctuations and are more of a cosmetic concern than a health issue.
There are various treatments available to diminish scarring with varying success rates. You should note that no treatment will completely restore the scarred skin. However, some options can make a significant improvement in the tone or texture of the scars.
Although many drugstore products boast of scar reduction properties, they offer little hope for permanent improvements. If you are not ready for treatment from a dermatologist, you should wait to see if time will make your scarring less noticeable before using these non-medical-grade remedies.
Chemical Peels/Microdermabrasion/Laser Treatments
Removing the damaged layer of skin can lighten scar visibility as a new, fresh skin layer appears. The most promising results come from treatments offered by a board-certified dermatologist, not home exfoliation methods. A chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or laser skin resurfacing can produce fantastic results.
This advanced skincare technology creates micro-wounds in the skin to trigger collagen production to fill in voids and reduce scarring. Microneedling is a non-surgical solution that uses the body’s natural healing process to help reduce visible scars.
These injectable products can provide a temporary solution to visible scarring. They add volume beneath the skin surface to help fill in the voids left by acne or superficial wounds. Some dermal fillers increase collagen production to help maintain desired outcomes.