The skin is a seamless organ that acts as a protective barrier to the body. When several layers of skin become injured — whether it’s due to acne, injury, surgery, or another form of trauma — the body repairs the damage. The time required for the body to heal following trauma depends on the severity of the injuries sustained. For minor injuries that affect only the primary skin layers, such as the epidermis and dermis, new skin may form, and the wound might heal without leaving a trace. However, for more severe injuries, the body creates thicker tissue than that of the skin, which may result in scarring.
While most scars can become less visible over time, some scars require treatment from dermatologists to heal and fade properly. If you’re ready to improve the appearance of your scars, contact Gainesville Dermatology & Skin Surgery. Our dermatology team is committed to helping our patients feel confident and beautiful in their skin, which is why we provide a wide range of skin condition treatments. We offer safe and effective dermatological procedures and customized treatments tailored to each patient for healthy, glowing, and blemish-free skin they’ll love.
Contact us today to schedule a dermatology appointment.
What Causes Scars?
Scars form when the deep, thick layers of the skin (dermis) are damaged or injured. The body generates new fibers of collagen — a naturally occurring protein found in the body — to repair the damage, which results in a scar. New scars typically have a pink, red, or brown color, but scars may become lighter or darker than the surrounding skin over time.
Additionally, new scar tissue has a different texture and appearance than surrounding tissues and only forms once wounds heal completely. While most scars appear flat against the skin, the skin on top of a scar may likewise appear to be raised or wrinkled.
Types Of Scars
Scars may exist in a variety of colors, tones, shapes, and sizes. Scarring is a naturally occurring part of the healing process following a cut, burn, scrape, or another type of skin injury. While preparing for scar treatment, it’s important to note that the chosen treatment type will largely depend on many factors, including the type and location of the scar. As such, it's imperative that an experienced dermatologist examines and diagnoses the scar. During your in-office examination, our dermatologist will determine which of the following types of scars you have.
Not every acne breakout leads to scarring — scars form when deeply penetrating acne damages the surrounding skin. As acne clears, the body repairs this damage by producing extra collagen, which results in scars. Those who produce too little or too much collagen will likely see scars form as a result of acne. Too little collagen produces depressed or pitted acne scars, while too much collagen produces scars with a visible bump. As we age and lose collagen, acne scars can become more visible. Find out what you need to know about acne — contact our dermatology practice today to schedule acne treatment and acne scar treatment.
If you have a scar from an injury, it’s most likely a keloid scar or keloid. Keloids are a result of an overly aggressive healing process in which the body overcompensates regenerating new tissue. As they mature, keloid scars can affect the movement of the area. They are thick, rounded, irregular clusters of scar tissue that originate from the site of the injury. However, they extend over the edges of the wound’s borders and frequently appear dark in tone or red, contrasting with the surrounding, healthy skin. These scars are more common for darker skin tones than those with lighter skin tones and can appear up to a year following the injury.
As with keloid scars, a hypertrophic scar results from excess collagen produced during the body’s healing process, however, unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scar growth is confined to the boundaries of the injured portion of the skin. These scars may appear red and are usually thick, textured, and elevated. The appearance of hypertrophic scars may improve and become less noticeable over time, but this process requires a year or more. Additionally, these scars may not disappear on their own and, instead, will require professional skin treatment.
A contracture scar usually forms after the skin sustains a burn. In response to the burn, the skin “shrinks,” “shrivels,” or contracts. The formation of scar tissue pulls together the skin’s edges, which causes a tightness in the injured area of the skin. Depending on the scale of the injured skin, the resulting decrease in skin size may affect the muscles, joints, and tendons, causing reduced movement of the body. Both second-degree burns and third-degree burns result in contracture scars, and they require treatment from a medical professional.
What Is The Best Treatment For Scars?
Scars cannot be removed entirely. However, there are many different treatments available to improve the appearance of scarred skin effectively. Schedule an appointment with our dermatology team, so we can help you determine which of these treatments for scars is the best option for you.
The first lines of defense against scars comprise topical treatments, such as ointments and creams. Over-the-counter topical products are mildly effective at healing scars. Prescription creams, lotions, or gels may be recommended to patients by our dermatologists in conjunction with other forms of treatment for the best possible results.
This form of treatment uses advanced laser technology to gently remove the skin’s surface layers for visible improvement to scarring. Laser treatments, such as Fraxel®, are non-invasive and require minimal healing time and produce noticeable results, providing a significant benefit over more invasive techniques. We offer a wide range of laser skin treatments — contact us today to learn more.
Fillers or cosmetic injections can be beneficial for raising sunken or pitted scars, such as those which result from severe acne, to the level of the surrounding, healthy skin. While the effects of dermal fillers are only temporary, they provide immediately noticeable results and are non-invasive. However, regular appointments may be required to maintain the results.
Microneedling procedures, such as those with SkinPen® by Bellus Medical, consist of microscopic punctures made to the superficial skin to stimulate collagen and elastin production and encourage the body to heal itself. Microneedling with SkinPen® can be used almost anywhere on the body, including the face, neck, arms, and chest.
VI Peel® is a medical-grade chemical face peel that removes the top layers of skin to reveal brighter, healthier skin and improve skin clarity, tone, and texture. This treatment also works well when used in conjunction with other skin treatments, such as lasers, injectables, and post-procedure healing. Contact us to schedule a consultation for treatment with VI Peel®.
Scar Revision Surgery
We offer dermatology surgery for the effective removal of melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers. While surgical scar removal procedures will not altogether remove a scar, surgery can be used to decrease the scar’s size or appearance. Still, it’s not recommended for those with hypertrophic or keloid scars due to the risk of more severe scarring.
When To See A Dermatologist
While it may seem obvious that you have a scar, those seeking to get rid of scars should first have a dermatologist examine the scar. Scarred skin can be complicated. To ensure their treatment is both safe and effective, patients must provide their dermatologists with information about their health and scar. Different types of scars require different treatments — a patient’s age and the amount of time they’ve had the scar may likewise affect which treatment options are most suitable to their situation.
Once our board-certified dermatologists examine your scar, they will tell you the type(s) of scar you have, whether the scar is likely to fade with time, and when to treat the scar for the best results, and the recommended options for treatment.
Contact our office today to get started!
How To Prevent Scars
The most effective way to prevent scar formation is with proper wound care and skin care. Our dermatologists offer the following scar prevention tips for reducing the appearance and preventing the formation of scars following injuries to the skin.
- Keep Your Injuries Clean. Proper wound care is essential to preventing infection and can help minimize the risk of scarring. Clean the wound and consider using petroleum jelly to keep the skin moist and prevent it from scabbing.
- Protect Your Injury. Whether from surgery or acne, a clean wound can become infected without proper protection. Apply an adhesive bandage to promote scar healing further after you’ve applied a topical treatment to keep the skin moist.
- Change The Bandages Daily. While preventing scars and promoting healing, be sure to change your bandages regularly. For skin that is easily irritated, consider using hydrogel sheets, silicone gel, or paper tape and gauze pads to keep your skin happy.
- Use Sun Protection Daily. As your injury becomes healed and new skin has formed in its place, the skin is particularly susceptible to sun damage. Choose a product with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 35 and regularly apply/reapply it to the area.