Severe acne, wounds that required stitches and – of course – surgical operations all leave a scar as an unwanted memento.
In most cases, these heal fast and fade quite quickly; however, they can occasionally become problematic. Infections, delayed healing and being in generally poor health are just a few of the many reasons scarring can be worse in some cases than others, leaving a mark that may be overly bright, indented, raised, or just plain disfiguring.
Can a scar ever disappear completely?
The short answer is ‘no’, primarily because the tissue that covers the injury is not a 100 per cent replica of the original unblemished skin and tissue that was damaged.; however, a regular scar that has healed without incident may well fade to the point where it is almost impossible to see.
Are there any surgical treatments that can help to remove or hide a scar?
Some plastic surgeons specialise in treating problematic scars, although surgical intervention options are quite limited. Bearing in mind that any new surgery will leave its own scar, it may still be worth trying to reduce the size of the original one. Hypertrophic scars run the risk of being worsened by surgery, while keloid scars would generally need a multi-treatment approach to minimise regrowth, including surgery and several topical corticosteroid injections.
Surgery as a standalone treatment is not advised for keloids, as they are likely to grow back larger; therefore, surgery is often combined with corticosteroid injections. Some plastic surgeons add other treatments, such as oral antibiotics and x-ray therapy, in an attempt to minimise the recurrence of a surgically-treated keloid. You can discuss this treatment with your surgeon.
Fat injections involve transferring fat from one part of the body into the indented scar area to create an even finish. This uses your own tissue, which reduces the chance of infection, and the procedure uses only local anaesthetic. The new cells establish their own blood supply and prove viable in around 70 per cent of cases.
Laser treatments can be useful for reducing severe acne scarring. If you can afford to pay for private sessions using the most recent laser technology, this can be a reasonably quick and very effective way to improve your skin. General scars can also benefit from laser treatments, although several treatments are usually needed to see results.
Silicone dressings are available over the counter and are easy to apply. The gel is said to improve the skin texture around the scar, lessen discoloration, and generally help the scar to blend in.
Steroid injections can be used to reduce swelling and make certain scars look better, although they will not disappear altogether. Be prepared for a fairly long-term commitment if the scar responds positively.
There may be no miracle treatment that will remove all traces of a scar on your body, but at least there are several viable options for improving the way they look.