Scar tissue creation is a natural part of the healing process after injury, and can happen as a result of burns, injury, surgery, or any other form of trauma. Major factors influencing the development of scars include the depth and size of the wound or incision and the location of the injury.
- Age, sex, heredity, and ethnicity will also affect how the skin reacts and heals from injury (Birminghamskin.com, 2008).
- The type of procedure used (including the type of suture used and the tension on the incisions) will affect the degree of scarring, and the skill and attention to detail given by the surgeon is also a large factor (Brownstein, Michael L., n.d.).
Table 1 lists the types of scars that can occur and their description.
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Removal of Scar Tissue *
Scars take six months to two years to heal and it should be noted * that complete removal of scar tissue is almost never possible. Scar appearance can be cosmetically improved but once there, scar tissue is almost always permanent.
There are many over-the-counter scar removal products available but, since these products are used for many months, a hefty bill for them might ultimately be run-up. Few well-designed studies have been conducted to see if these specialized treatments are actually worthwhile.
A 2009 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found a huge gap between the advertised benefits of over-the-counter scar products and the clinical evidence that they actually work. Silicone gel sheeting as well as some substances such as vitamin C seem to be the exception.
Another thing to keep in mind that positively works on reducing or minimizing scarring is to keep a wound moist and covered. A 2010 article in the journal Aesthetic Plastic Surgery stated that keeping a wound moist is important because it reduces the production of excess collagen.
- Hypertrophic scars and Keloids
Several studies suggest that silicone sheets can speed healing and lead to smaller scars. It’s not exactly clear how silicone works in scar removal, but the sheets do a fine job keeping a scar covered and moist and show to be effective in flattening and reducing redness of hypertrophic and keloidal scars. They also prevent this type of scar tissue from forming. Learn more about silicone cream for scars.
Contractures are hard, if not impossible, to treat effectively with OTC products. Depending on the severity of the contracture (whether or not skin, muscles, tendons, are affected) the designated procedure often is surgical excision. Mild contractures may improve upon scar massage.
- Indented Scars
Indented or depressed scars are the result of a shortage of collagen. A proven method to resolve this cosmetic problem is (micro)dermabrasion in which the top skin layer is removed by needling. This process stimulates the skin to produce new collagen which will fill up the indentation. Skin needling can also be done at home with the use of derma rollers.
- Acne Scars
Dependable on the type of acne scars different treatment options are available. For brown or otherwise discolored marks the most popular removal methods are peelings (e.g. with glyoclic acid) and the use of lightening creams such as InviCible. Read on in this post about the best cream for scar lightening.