Damage to your skin, whether from a cut, burn or blemish, can often leave a scar. Depending on the size and location of the scar, it might make you feel self-conscious or embarrassed.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go through your life with it A number of options are available for scar removal. While some might require surgery to remove them, others can be taken off using a variety of non-surgical treatments, such as lasers and injections.
Some people are lucky enough to make it through the teen years with barely a pimple. Others might have experienced severe acne as a teen or might continue to experience it as an adult.
Often, the inflammation from the pimples can leave scars behind. In many cases, acne scars are clearly visible on a person’s skin, even from a distance. It doesn’t matter how old you are, acne scars can affect anyone who’s ever struggled with pimples and acne.
The first step in treating acne scars, according to Dr. Chernoff, is getting active acne flare-ups under control. The exact treatment routine varies based on the severity of the acne.
Some patients might see results using topical creams and cleansers with antibacterial properties. Others might need oral medications, such as oral steroids or antibiotics to clear up their acne.
Stretch marks, which develop when the skin is stretched, either due to rapid weight gain or pregnancy, aren’t exactly scars. The marks, also called striae, form when stress on the skin causes the collagen and elastin fibers to snap. At the beginning, the marks are usually pink or red. As time goes on, they change color to white or gray.
Their appearance on your body can make you feel self-conscious. Treatment options for striae often include freezing or cryotherapy, topical creams containing a retinoid, and microdermabrasion. The effectiveness of treatment depends on when it is started. One treatment option that might be more effective than the others is laser therapy.
How Laser Works
The exact way laser works to fade or remove scars depends on what is being treated. Laser therapy to remove acne scars, for example, works by destroying the top layer of skin. But, laser therapy for stretch marks is designed to stimulate collagen production in the body.
Since the laser used to treat stretch marks is less intense than other types of laser, you are typically awake and alert for the treatment. You might feel some heat on the area being treated as well as a tingling sensation. After the treatment, the area might look red, have blistering, or be bruised.
Usually, it takes a few weeks for the area to heal and up to six weeks for you to see any visible changes in the stretch marks. You might need more than one treatment to fade the marks completely or at least fade them enough that they aren’t clearly visible.
The effectiveness of the laser therapy is based on how older your marks are. Fresh marks fade more easily than older ones, for instance.
Typically, treatment to remove acne scars requires the use of an ablative laser, such as a CO2 laser. A CO2 laser damages the top layer of skin and encourages collagen production. This type of laser treatment does involve some sort of anesthetic or sedation.
The skin is usually red right after the treatment and needs to be cleaned and cared for gently. Usually, it takes about a week for a new layer of skin to form. The process of removing acne scars can take up to two years and might require multiple laser treatments.
In some cases, injections can help reduce the appearance of a scar, either by filling it in or by flattening it. For example, some acne scars can be filled in with a fat injection or collagen injection. The downside to filler injections for scars is that the results are temporary. Once the filler wears off, the scar will be visible again.
The Center for Scar Therapy at Chernoff Cosmetic Surgery offers a number of scar removal options. Dr. Chernoff can recommend the best option for you based on the size and type of your scar. The practice has locations in the Midwest and West Coast.
For an appointment in the midwest, call (317) 573-8899. Or if you’re on the west coast, call (707) 544-3232 for the Santa Rosa office or (800) 482-5499 for Newport Beach and Beverly Hills.