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03-15-09 | Posted by


freckles

I have old scars from a car accident when I was a child and they never went away. Is there anything that can be done now to make them less noticeable?

Scars are forever, but that doesn’t mean they have to ruin your life. To find out what treatments can work for you, first you need to figure out what kind of scars you have.

Shallow scars resulting from acne and chicken pox can give skin a wavy appearance. Scars that are pigmented, brownish or reddish in color, may respond to Mederma or Bio Oil, over the counter products you can find at the drugstore. Fillers can be used to plum up  pitted or ice pick scars, and resurfacing lasers and light devices are well-suited to shallow scars; combination therapy is often the most effective.

Raised scars are more difficult to get rid of. Two major types of scars, hypertrophic (raised, red) and keloid scars (thickened, overgrown) appear most frequently in younger skin types and  people with darker skin. Older skin is actually less prone to thick scars. While hypertrophic scars remain one size, keloids can continue to grow into benign tumors if left untreated.

Scars last forever – but they will fade on their own over time, and can definitely be improved.  Thanks to the refinement of several techniques, scars can be treated with a wides spectrum of procedures to minimize their appearance.

Excision and Punch Replacement Graft – A depressed scar is surgically removed, and a patch of skin is grafted from elsewhere on your body.

Dermal Fillers – Hyaluronic acid or collagen fillers or your own fat (taken from another part of the body) are injected in small quantities below the surface of the skin to elevate depressed scars. Evolence, Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm are some of the safest.

Lasers – By delivering short pulses, raised scars can be smoothed out, sculpted and refined, and pigment (red, pink, and brown) can be normalized. Skin tighetening lasers like Thermage and Titan, as well as fractional lasers including Fraxel, ProFractional, and others can also help soften scars and even out the skin.  Some lasers can also reduce pigment to even out skin tone, thus making new scars less noticeable and increase the healing process.

Peeling – By applying a chemical solution of trichloracetic acid (TCA), mild scarring and certain types of acne scars may be improved over time. Obagi Blue Peel is also helpful to reduce the appearance of scars.

Microdermabrasion – Microdermabrasion crystals remove the dead layer of cells. By addingmore pressure, more suction, and increasingthe flow of crystals, exfoliation can go deeper to help stimulate and restore collagen and the elastic fibers in the skin’s deeper layer. To reduce scars with microdermabrasion, higher power needs to be used so home care devices will not be very effective.

Steroids – Steroids can be commonly injected by a doctor to flatten raised scars. This should be done with care because too much may cause a depressed area and make the scar look deeper.

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