Whether your skin is prone to deep acne breakouts or you’ve experienced facial trauma in the past, scarring can leave you feeling extremely self-conscious. Luckily, modern treatment methods for facial scars continue to improve and can help patients feel more confident in their appearance.
Generally, your skin is quite capable of healing itself without any significant difference in color or texture if you only injure the outer layer of skin. However, when damage penetrates deeper, the replacement tissue is often thicker than the original, creating scar tissue. The tissue then continues to change in texture and color as the scar matures. Depending on the type and depth of the scarring, different treatments work better than others.
For scarring that is mild to moderate, a chemical peel provides an affordable option for reducing the appearance of facial scars while simultaneously exfoliating the skin and removing damaged and dead cells for a more youthful look and feel. This option is particularly effective for those with light hair and fair skin.
Chemical peels work by creating a controlled wound that forces the skin to shed damaged tissue and replace it with healthier, smoother tissue. During the treatment, one or more chemicals will be applied to your face to activate the process.
It’s important to note that you may feel some discomfort and a burning sensation. This effect is temporary, lasting only five to ten minutes. Depending on the chemicals used, your practitioner may provide a cool compress or pain medications to reduce any discomfort.
For scar procedures, a medium to deep treatment with a plastic surgeon may be recommended. With these deeper treatments, the face will remain red and swollen in the weeks following the procedure until the old skin peels off over the course of up to two weeks. Some mild blistering and temporary skin discoloration may also occur while the skin heals.
Fillers like Juvederm and Restylane are commonly associated with reducing the look of wrinkles and other early signs of aging, but they are also great for treating deeper scars. Depressed scars develop when the underlying support tissues are lost during the healing process, causing the skin to sink.
During this treatment, the practitioner injects a filler into the depression, made from either a collagen-stimulating chemical or hyaluronic acid to lift the scar tissue and encourage natural collagen development. This causes the scar to become more level with the surrounding skin. While you may feel a slight poke as the needle enters, ice or a local anesthetic can be applied to reduce any discomfort.
Allergic reactions used to be a common issue with dermal fillers, but new formulas made from hyaluronic acid now reduce those risks. However, you may notice some redness, skin sensitivity, and bruising at the injection site for a few days. It’s important to note that most fillers are temporary, so you will most likely need follow-up procedures every 6 to 24 months, depending on the type of filler used.
Light-based treatments using devices like the Fraxel laser help remove the outer layer of scar tissue, which is then replaced with new healthy cells. The procedure also encourages the growth of new collagen beneath the skin. Collagen is an essential protein that acts as a “scaffold” for the skin, helping to reduce the look of depressed scars.
Devices like the Fraxel laser release bursts of light energy into the skin, creating microscopic punctures in the underlying tissue. These microscopic injuries activate your body’s natural production of collagen and elastin. Elastin is the protein that gives your skin its elasticity while collagen plumps up the skin.
Lower energy lasers have the additional benefit of being safe to use around more sensitive areas of the face, like the skin under the eyes. The side effects of laser treatments are typically mild, having both the appearance and feel of a sunburn for up to a week after the treatment.
The results will continue to improve over time as more elastin and collagen develop but in most cases, you will need a follow-up procedure after about a year for continued results. This treatment is not typically recommended for those with darker skin or active acne outbreaks.
When scarring does not respond to other less invasive forms of treatment, cryosurgery and traditional scar surgery may offer more satisfactory results.
Cryosurgery involves freezing the scar to destroy the tissue in a slow and controlled manner. After a single treatment, the freezing process can decrease the size of raised or keloid scars by 50% or more, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The procedure can also reduce the discoloration of the scar tissue.
Scar revision surgery is the most invasive option available and involves cutting out the scar tissue to make room for new tissue and a less noticeable scar to develop in its place. How significant the surgery will be depends on not only the number of scars and the size of the affected areas but also the age and depth of the scars.
Mild scarring is often treated while the patient is awake with a local anesthetic, while more complex or deep cases may require sedation or general anesthesia. It’s important to note that a keloid scar can return over time after removal. Your surgeon may leave the border of the scar in place to help prevent this.
With both cryosurgery and scar revision surgery, your plastic surgeon will most likely pair the procedure with corticosteroid injections to further reduce the size of the scar.
Choosing the Best Procedure for You
Various types of scars respond differently to the treatment methods used. For best results, it’s important to rely on experienced aestheticians and cosmetic professionals to achieve the best results with the least risk for side effects.
The professionals at Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique in Houston, TX, can examine the unique needs of your skin and recommend a treatment designed to address your scarring. Additional topical skincare products are also available through Mirror Mirror to further reduce the impacts of scarring on your face. Call us for a free consultation at 281.810.9083 or explore our website for more information on our available scar treatment services.