Scarring is your body’s way of healing skin after it has been injured, and several factors can affect how a scar ends up looking. These include your ethnicity, sex and age, as well as the size and location of a wound. Scars—whether caused by injury, acne or surgery—can contribute to feeling uncomfortable or self-conscious. Scarring on your face can be particularly distressing.Some scars can even interfere with facial movements, inhibiting full functionality of the mouth, nose or eyelids.
There are several different types of scar development:
- Hypertrophic scars: This type of scar is raised and generally red or pink in color. Hypertrophic scars do not extend outside the boundary of the original injury or incision.
- Keloid scars: Keloid scarsgrow beyond the boundaries of the initial injury. They are raised and are often irregularly shaped. While other types of scars may regress somewhat over time, keloids do not.
- Contracture scars: Contracture scars occur when the skin is burned, and are characterized by a tightening of the skin. This kind of scar can limit movement and affect underlying tissues.
- Acne scars: Scars left behind by acne can affect people for many years after the blemishes have cleared up. Acne leaves different types of scars. Some of the most common are boxcar scars (round, depressed scars), rolling scars (which cause a “wavy” appearance on the skin) and icepick scars which are very small and deep.
The 3 most common scar revision options involve the use of laser resurfacing, dermal fillers or surgical correction. These treatments may be done alone or combined depending on the type and severity of your scars.
Laser Scar Treatment
Laser resurfacing for scar removal is often done over a series of treatments.
Laser skin resurfacing can help diminish the appearance of acne scars and improve the overall texture of your skin. Different types of laser treatments may be used for different kinds of scars. Depending on whether your scars are raised, pitted or a combination of both, you may benefit from laser treatment combined with another scar revision procedure. After having laser treatment, it takes time for your skin to recover and begin to show improvement. Many people choose to take around 1 week off after laser skin resurfacing.
Minimizing Facial Scars with Injectable Fillers
Dermal fillers can be used to plump up the area underneath an indented scar, smoothing out the skin’s surface. There are several options for dermal fillers, which are formulated using different ingredients, most commonly hyaluronic acid (HA) and collagen.
These fillers are also used to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and fill out the hollow spots that can make us appear older. Fillers are one of the most convenient scar revision options, since you can have them done during a short office visit and there is no recovery period afterward. While you may experience some mild bruising after having fillers, this can usually be covered easily with makeup.
Certain types of scars may require a surgical approach, particularly scars from previous surgeries.For this type of scar revision, options your plastic surgeon may use include skin grafting from elsewhere on your body or re-closing an old wound using advanced techniques.This kind of scar treatment may be used to repair scarring from Mohs surgery for skin cancer.
The overall goal of scar revision treatment is to bring your scar into congruence with the rest of your skin. After scar revision, your scar should be less noticeable, with a smoother and more even skin texture. Choose a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who specializes in facial procedures to help you decide which scar revision option would be most.
Waleed Ezzat, M.D., F.A.C.S. is double board-certified in facial plastic and reconstructive surgery and otolaryngology/head and neck surgery. He operates under the philosophy that natural beauty is the best kind of beauty. Dr. Ezzat addresses each aesthetic or reconstructive challenge by considering the whole facial anatomy rather than focusing on one isolated area. This comprehensive approach maintains a goal of fully functional and natural-looking results that fit perfectly within each individual’s unique genetic makeup.