Everything You Need To Know About Minimising ScarsApril 12, 2019
Sometimes, life leaves its mark on you in more ways than one. Many of us have marks and scars from accidents, surgeries or sudden changes in the body that left stretch marks or acne scarring. In most cases, they aren’t a medical concern, but we may not like them. We may feel as though we’ve moved on from those memories and we’re ready to get rid of their marks.
We spoke to Clinical Director Dr Garry Cussell to find out the details on what to look for when it comes to scarring and how to treat the main categories of scars.
Acne scars form when severe cysts damage the tissue in your skin, but the skin doesn’t replace the tissue. That’s why acne scars are normally indented.
With acne scarring, prevention can be better than cure, although it can be challenging to treat acne effectively. You may have to try a few different methods.
If you have active acne, speak to a professional who can help you determine a skin care routine and make a plan for additional treatments if necessary. Regular phototherapy sessions, facials and certain laser treatments can help with acne. You have to make sure you’re getting the treatment that is best-suited to your skin type and the nature of your breakouts.
Acne can be an ongoing concern, so it’s best to think of it as something that can be managed rather than cured. Once it is under control, then you can look into acne scar treatments.
The good news about acne scarring is that it tends to be relatively shallow in the skin, so it responds fairly well to most treatment options. Traditionally, laser treatments used for acne scarring mostly involved ablative lasers that cause the skin to peel, removing the surface layer and allowing a new smoother layer to come through. Now, there are more options with no downtime. Microneedling and non-ablative lasers, such as the new PicoCare, can be used to break down scar tissue at the cellular level and stimulate a healing response in the skin that repairs the tissue and improves the skin’s texture with no peeling or downtime.
Deeper acne scars that don’t respond to laser can also be filled out with small amounts of dermal filler.
Because acne scarring can take many different forms, the treatment you use should depend on the nature of your skin and your specific scarring. We recommend having a consultation with a professional to determine the right treatment for you.
We’ve all had a small burn at some point, quite often it’s a kitchen accident or an accidental tap on the face with a curling iron.
If it’s a first or second degree burn, it may leave a red or slightly pigmented scar that is flat on the skin. These types of scars will sometimes go away on their own or fade over time. Before looking into ways to treat it, you might want to just wait and see what your body does. It could take months for it to go away on its own, but in some cases, it will.
Dr Cussell, Clinical Director at Rejuvenation Clinics of Australia recommends keeping the burn out of the sun, or applying sunscreen over top to prevent it from forming further pigmentation.
The pigmentation can be treated with lasers, but because the pigmentation in a burn is caused by heat damage to the melanocytes, it’s wise to use a laser that relies on vibrational energy instead of heat, such as the newer Pico lasers.
If it’s a more severe burn, the scar could become textural. Once the burn is dried up and healed, you can apply antioxidant serums with vitamins A, B and C, and collagen peptide serums to help the skin heal. Be sure to apply sunscreen as well to prevent solar damage from making the scar more apparent.
There are lasers that can treat textural scars, and the sooner you begin treatment, the better the result. That being said, you don’t want to start too soon. When the burn is healed, have someone look at it for a professional opinion on what treatments might work and when to begin.
Surgical and Traumatic Scars
Scars from surgical incision or injury can be treated as soon as the wound has healed. The earliest possible would be two weeks after the stitches have come out, but bear in mind that we all take different amounts of time to heal, so you may want to wait a little bit.
As with burn scars, we recommend using topical serums that contain collagen peptides to help the skin repair itself and reduce the chances of scar tissue building up. You can start using topical serums after the stitches come out, as long as the wound is dry. You can also ask your treating doctor when to start if you’re feeling uncertain. The less sun exposure your wound gets, the less likely it is to scar, as well.
Surgical and traumatic scars may not go away completely, but in many cases, they can be greatly reduced to the point that you can barely see them. We have treated older scars from our patients’ childhood, but the sooner you begin treatment, the better your results are likely to be.
At Rejuvenation Clinics of Australia we use a treatment called “Pico Scar Repair” which uses vibrational energy to break down scar tissue and stimulate a healing response in the skin. We can also use CO2 Fractionated lasers which ablate the surface scar tissue and stimulate the lower layers of skin to repair themselves. These lasers tend to cause a few days of scabbing and swelling afterward, so we usually prefer Pico Scar Repair. You may need a series of at least 6 treatments, depending on the nature of your specific scar.
If your scar starts to turn into a keloid, it can be treated with cortisone injections if it’s caught early enough. Keloids normally have raised red or purple skin, and they can often be itchy or sore to the touch.
Stretch marks can appear after a growth spurt, pregnancy or sudden weight gain, and they are technically a type of scarring. They form when the skin is suddenly stretched to a point that the collagen and elastin in the skin splits. Some stretch marks can become white or pigmented. They aren’t anything to worry about from a medical standpoint, but they can be a cosmetic concern.
In order to get results, it’s important to treat stretch marks as soon as possible.
Unlike other types of scarring which involves formation of scar tissue, stretch marks are a sign of damaged collagen, so it’s important to rebuild the collagen in the skin when treating stretch marks. Vitamin A has been used in the beauty industry for decades because of its ability to help your skin rebuild collagen when applied topically. Vitamin A serums can also help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but only if you begin to use them shortly after the stretch marks appear.
As with other forms of scarring, stretch marks can be treated with lasers that break down scar tissue and stimulate collagen in the layers beneath the skin. Depending on the nature of your specific stretch marks, we might recommend using Pico, Fraxel, RadioFrequency Needling, or an Erbium laser. It depends on how pigmented and deep the stretch marks appear to be.
The beauty of scars is that each one is unique. While it may seem like there are so many options for scar repair treatments, the right treatment will depend on the nature of your specific scar. That’s why we offer free consultations, so you can come in and get more personalised information from an experienced professional and make a more informed decision.
Do you have scars, acne scarring or stretch marks that you'd like to reduce?
Come in for a free consultation to learn more and discuss your options with a professional.