Scars are areas of skin that have been wounded and replaced by fibrous tissue that is unlike the skin surrounding it. Scar tissue differs from normal skin due to a difference in the fiber composition of the protein of normal skin. Scars are less resistant to ultraviolet radiation, and sweat glands and hair follicles do not grow back within scar tissue. The appearance of a scar can be a constant visual reminder of a bad experience. Phoenix Skin Dermatology has several options available to erase that painful reminder.
Most wounds after an accident, disease or surgery will result in some degree of scarring. As with the wide array of scar causes, the shape, color, size and appearance of a scar will vary as well.
Contracture Scars – A contracture scar causes tightening of the skin that at times can impair your mobility. This type of scar may go deeper and affect muscles and nerves. A contracture scar is the result of your skin being burned.
Atrophic Scar – Often associated with acne, chickenpox, skin infections (staph or strep), surgery or accidents; an atrophic scar takes the form of a sunken recess in the skin and has a pitted appearance. The appearance is the result of losing the underlying structures supporting the skin, such as muscle or fat.
Hypertrophic Scar – Hypertrophic scars take the form of a red raised lump on the skin as a result of your body overproducing collagen. Any type of injury can produce this type of scar including acne and surgery.
Keloids – A keloid is an excessively large scar that forms at the site of wounds or trauma, including body piercings, vaccinations, acne, accidents or surgical sites. They may form on any part of the body but are most common on the upper chest and shoulders. Keloids are a more serious form of scarring, because they can continue growing into a large growth. They are most common in dark-skinned people. Keloids can be itchy, painful and uncomfortable. Sun exposure can cause keloid scars to darken more than the surrounding skin.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Preferred for atrophic and acne scars, laser skin resurfacing works by destroying the upper layer of skin (epidermis) to a certain depth. Phoenix Skin Dermatology uses the Lumenis UltraPulse CO2 laser to perform Active FX, Deep FX and Total FX resurfacing treatments.
Active FX and Deep FX target a unique skin depth to effectively remove the various types of scarring. Scar removal is accomplished by the immediate collagen contraction and stimulation that results in a smoother skin surface. Total FX is a combination of Active FX and Deep FX treatments. Results are gradually seen as the collagen continues growing (up to 6 months).* Treatments are performed in a single visit with temporary minor swelling, pain and discomfort shortly after treatment.
Laser skin resurfacing is also an ideal method to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and other irregularities on the face, neck and chest in addition to scar removal.
Non-CO2 laser therapy may be used to treat hypertrophic scars and keloids. This laser smooths the skin by heating up and redistributing collagen while avoiding contact with the epidermis via contact cooling. This type of treatment usually requires multiple sessions for a significant reduction in redness and improvement in the texture and pliability of hypertrophic scars and keloids.
Chemical peels remove the epidermis, leading to exfoliation and the alleviation of certain skin conditions. A chemical peel is most effective for superficial acne scars as the depth of the peel can be controlled.
Scar removal by surgical procedure may be possible in some cases. The procedure involves carefully cutting the scar tissue out and closing the wound in a manner less likely to scar.
Dermal fillers can be used to temporarily raise atrophic scars to the level of the surrounding skin.
This technique uses a wire brush or a diamond wheel with rough edges to remove the upper layers of skin. The fast rotating brush or burr, takes off and levels the top layers of skin causing the area to bleed. As the wound heals, new skin grows to replace the damaged skin removed. Dermabrasion is effective for acne scars and scars caused by surgery and trauma (if not very deep). The process involves numbing of the area followed by a cryogenic spray (freezing), to harden it to make scraping of the affected skin easier. Regrowth of skin will occur within 5-8 days.* This new skin will be pink or red in color that will fade with 6-12 weeks.*
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* Individual Results May Vary