REPAIR OF FACIAL SCARS
Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replace normal skin (or other tissue) after injury. A scar results from the biologic process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process. With the exception of very minor lesions, every wound (e.g. after accident, disease, or surgery) results in some degree of scarring. Scar tissue is not identical to the tissue that it replaces and is usually of inferior functional quality. For example, scars in the skin are less resistant to ultraviolet radiation, and sweat glands and hair follicles do not grow back within scar tissue.
No scar can ever be completely removed and treatments will always leave a trace, but a number of approaches are commonly used to remove and reduce scarring.
Needling is an inexpensive process where the scarred area is continuously needled to promote collagen formation. Once needled the area is allowed to fully heal, and needled again if required depending on the intensity of the scar. Scarring needles and needling rollers are available for home use; however, needling should not be done on parts of the face or areas where major nerves are located without professional medical supervision. Needling at home must also be done in line with hygienic and sterilization requirements.
A long term course of steroid injections under medical supervision, into the scar may help flatten and soften the appearance of keloid or hypertrophic scars. The steroid is injected into the scar itself; since very little is absorbed into the blood stream, side effects of this treatment are minor. However, does cause thinning of tissue so does carry risks when injected into scars caused by operations into ruptured tendons. This treatment is repeated at 4-6 week intervals.
Dermabrasion involves the removal of the surface of the skin with specialist equipment and usually involves a general anaesthetic. It is useful with raised scars, but is less effective when the scar is sunken below the surrounding skin.
Collagen injections can be used to raise sunken scars to the level of surrounding skin. Its effects are however temporary, and it needs to be regularly repeated. There is also a risk in some people of an allergic reaction.
Scars, such as acne scars, can be cut out and stitched up, a process called scar revision - Although this method has been known to result in the new wound healing the same way (as a hypertrophic scar).
The use of lasers on scars is a new form of treatment that is still being improved. Several cosmetic lasers have been FDA approved for the treatment of acne scars by using laser resurfacing techniques.