Almost everyone will have to deal with the appearance of a scar at some point in their lifetime. Scars can take many different forms from raised, textured skin to depressed indents, to discoloration and hyperpigmentation and can occur anywhere on the body. Resulting from our body’s natural healing process, scar tissue forms as a way of keeping our bodies safe from infection that may occur in an open wound. Scarring on the body can be caused by a wide variety of different factors including burns, cuts, surgery, acne, and marks left from illness. While scars are extremely common, the appearance of scar tissue on the body can be distressing – especially if the scar appears on a prominent part of the body such as the face, neck, or hands. Luckily, advances in scar treatment mean that you no longer have to live with an unsightly scar if you seek attention from an internationally recognized, cosmetic dermatologist, like Dr. Michele Green in New York City.
For patients looking to get rid of a scar, there are many treatment options available that can address all different types of scars. Laser treatments, such as Fraxel lasers and resurfacing lasers, can help to remove acne scars and pox scars, while laser therapy such as VBeam lasers can also treat surgical scars, stretch marks, and keloids. Other skin resurfacing treatments, such as dermabrasion and chemical peels, are extremely effective as well. Dermal fillers, such as Restylane and Voluma, can be injected directly into the scar to restore lost collagen and volume loss. Botox, a common cosmetic procedure, and topical silicone gel sheets can also be employed in the prevention of scar development. With so many options available, it is important to consult with an expert, board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Michele Green, who can help you to create the treatment plan that works best for you.
Dr. Green has been a leader in non-invasive cosmetic dermatologic procedures on the Upper East Side for over 25 years. As an international expert in acne scar treatments, Dr. Green is consistently voted as one of the best dermatologists in NYC by Castle Connolly, the New York Times, Super Doctors, and New York Magazine. Dr. Green is at the cutting edge of the latest treatments for all types of scars, whether it be laser treatments, steroid injections, chemical peels, Botox, or fillers. If you are struggling with scars or stretch marks, Dr. Green is here to help.
What is a scar?
Scar tissue can take on many different forms but appears on the skin as a result of the body’s natural healing process. There are many different types of scars that can form as a result of a variety of adverse events. These injuries can result in the appearance of various scars. The appearance of burn, or surgery, versus those from cystic acne or chicken pox, require different modalities of treatment. If the injury that is done to the skin goes deeper than the top layer of skin, the scar tissue that forms is often thicker than normal skin. For patients with a lighter skin tone, scars are typically pink or red when they initially develop and may fade away with time or become darker or lighter than the patient’s regular skin color. For patients with darker skin, scars can frequently look like dark marks on the surface of the skin. A scar can form on any part of the body and the type of scar depends largely on origin of the injury or lesion, how your body heals, and the formation of the wound.
Why do scars form?
Scars form as a result of the body’s natural healing process following an adverse event that causes damage to the surface of the skin. Skin is the body’s first layer of defense when protecting against harmful bacteria or other substances that can lead to infection. When the skin is damaged or cut, the body’s healing process is triggered, which involves the creation of the natural protein collagen. Collagen gives structure to the skin, causing it to appear firm and plump. During the natural healing process, however, collagen fibers form tissues that knit the skin back together to close the wound. The tissue that develops helps to protect the wound from infection and it is this tissue that can lead to the appearance of a scar. The shape, size, and texture of a scar depends largely on the cause of the wound, as well as your age, genetics, and skin type.
Female 35 – Vbeam, chemical peel & botox
What are the different types of scars?
Scar formation can be based on a variety of factors including the origin of the injury, genetics, and ethnicity. Different types of scars can have different appearances and textures, including the following:
Contracture Scars – Contracture scars are characterized by tightened skin that makes moving the affected area more difficult. These scars typically form after a burn and can be a particular hindrance if the scar formation happens over a joint or if the scar tissue affects a muscle or nerve.
Atrophic (Depressed) Scars – Atrophic scars are also known as “depressed” scars because they are characterized by indentations or sunken patches of skin. These scars most often form as a result of acne, cystic acne, or lesions relating to an illness, such as chickenpox. There are three different types of atrophic scars that can occur, which include ice pick scars, boxcar scars, and rolling scars. Atrophic scars may become more visible with age as the natural loss of collagen further accentuates the indentations in the skin.
Hypertrophic (Raised) Scars – Hypertrophic scars are inverses of atrophic scars. Characterized by raised skin, hypertrophic scars are caused by too much collagen being produced during the natural healing process. While hypertrophic scars can fade over time, they will never truly flatten out. Hypertrophic scars will not grow beyond the area of the injury.
Keloid Scars – Keloid scars are also raised scars that differ from hypertrophic scars in that throughout the healing process and beyond, they grow in size past the area of the injury. Red-headed patients, as well as patients of African, Hispanic, or Asian heritage are more likely to develop keloid scars. The overgrown scars may affect a patient’s movement if the scar tissue grows over a joint.
Flat Scars – Flat scars are characterized by discoloration that occurs on the surface of the skin. These scars may be a little bit raised when the wound healing occurs at first but will flatten out over time. The scar may begin as pink or red and change into being either hypo pigmented (lighter) or hyperpigmented (darker) than the surrounding skin.
Stretch Marks – Stretch marks occur on the surface of the skin when the skin expands or shrinks rapidly over a short period of time, which can occur frequently as a result of pregnancy or rapid weight gain or loss. The stretching of the skin causes damage to the underlying tissue, resulting in a scar. At first, stretch marks often appear pink or red but will fade to a silvery color over time.
What are different types of acne scars?
Acne is extremely common, and if a severe breakout is left untreated, it can lead to scarring on the face. Acne scars are caused by breakouts that get infected, also known as inflamed breakouts. Following the infection, the body will try to heal itself, however, if the body is unable to produce enough collagen, this will lead to atrophic, or depressed, acne scars. There are three main types of atrophic acne scars that can occur: ice pick scars, which occur after deep infection and are characterized by small, deep indents, boxcar scars, which are wide and round in shape, or rolling scars, which are shallow scars that make the skin texture appear wavy. If the infection leads to an excess production of collagen, the result is hypertrophic acne scars. These raised scars cannot be treated in the same way as atrophic scars. After an inflamed acne breakout, discoloration, known as hyperpigmentation, can also occur. While not technically a scar, hyperpigmentation can be treated with many similar treatments to acne scars including chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser resurfacing treatment.
Restylane – 2 syringes for scar treatment
What are the Best Scar Treatments?
There are many different treatment options for scars and the answer to what is the best scar treatment, is dependent upon several factors, including the type of scar and the skin type of the patient. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, she will examine your scar tissue and make a determination about the treatment, or series of treatments, that will work best for you. The options that you may be presented include steroid injections, laser resurfacing treatment, Botox, topical treatments such as silicone gel sheets, chemical peels, pressure therapy, and dermal fillers. The treatments that are available at Dr. Green’s office are the safest, most effective treatments available. Some dermatologists may offer options such as cryotherapy, which is a process by which scar tissue is frozen off with liquid nitrogen. Treatment options such as cryotherapy are outdated in that they are not as effective and have a higher risk of potential side effects. A plastic surgeon may also be able to perform surgical options, such as a skin graft.
Steroid Injections for scar treatment
One potential treatment for the elimination of the appearance of scars is corticosteroid injections, more commonly known as “steroid injections.” These steroids, however, are very different from the kind of steroids you may hear about in the media with regards to body builders. Corticosteroids are a synthetic drug that is similar to hormones that appear naturally in the body. Steroid injections are injected directly into the treatment area to decrease the size of the scar, as in a hypertrophic scar or keloid scar. By injecting small amounts of corticosteroid injection, it helps to reducing the size and thickness of keloid scars, and improving their appearance – making them smaller and flatter.
Botox Treatments for scars
Botox treatment is best known for its use in treating fine lines and wrinkles and reversing signs of the natural aging process, but recent studies have shown that it can be very effective in reducing the appearance of scars following cosmetic surgery. In a study illustrated by the American Academy of Dermatology, Botox was injected into half of the test subjects who received plastic surgery on their face. Immediately following the surgery, Botox was injected to the area and researchers found that those patients had smaller and flatter surgical scars than those patients who did not receive the Botox treatment. Researchers postulate that this is due to the way in which Botox limits movement surrounding the wound as it heals. This can help to prevent the scar from becoming overly raised and can reduce discoloration.
Dermabrasion scar treatment
Dermabrasion is a treatment in which the surface of the skin is resurfaced, removing the top layer of skin in order to treat acne scars, pox marks, stretch marks, and surgery scars. When the top layer of the skin is removed, the result is softer, smoother skin with improved texture. Dermabrasion is best used for patients with lighter skin tones, as patients with darker skin tones are more prone to discoloration or additional hyperpigmentation as a result of the procedure. Further, patients with ongoing acne or skin conditions such as rashes, cold sores, or blisters should also not receive the dermabrasion treatment as there is a risk of infection.
The procedure itself should only be performed by an experienced, board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. During the treatment, the surgeon will begin by applying an anesthetic to reduce potential discomfort during treatment. The physician will use a specialized rotary device with an abrasive tip to “sand” the top layer of skin away. After the treatment, patients should be careful to follow their health care provider’s instructions about caring for their skin. The recovery time following the procedure is fairly significant, generally requiring patients to take at least two weeks off of work to heal. Patients should be sure to avoid sun exposure and cleanse and dress their skin as instructed to avoid potential side effects.
Topical treatments for scars
For patients who are looking for a more mild treatment for scars, there are options for over-the-counter ointments and creams that can be used to reduce the appearance of mild scars. Over-the-counter topical products often contain such ingredients as Vitamin A and Vitamin E to revitalize the skin. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that patients speak with a board-certified dermatologist, such as Dr. Green, before purchasing over-the-counter scar treatment products. Dr. Green can provide you with more information about the type of product that will work best to address your specific needs.
Another common topical treatment for scars is the use of silicone gel sheets. These silicone gel sheets are best used on a recent wound to prevent raised scars from forming and decrease the likelihood of redness, swelling, itching, or stiffness in new scars. Researchers have found that though silicone ointment is also available, silicone gel sheets are more effective at preventing scarring. These sheets should be applied to the wound after it closes every day for as many as three months.
Dermal Fillers for scars
Dermal fillers are a very effective treatment to restore volume to depressed scars such as atrophic acne scars. Commonly used to treat fine lines and wrinkles and restore age-related volume loss to the face, dermal fillers can also be used as effective scar treatment. Dr. Green employs a wide variety of dermal fillers at her office but when treating deep scars, she most frequently uses Restylane-L, Restylane Lyft, Juvederm Ultraplus, Juvederm Voluma and Sculptra. The procedure is simple, safe, and effective and requires no downtime following the treatment. The filler is injected directly into the depressed scar, which helps to stimulate the production of collagen. Sculptra is a unique injectable as it allows the body to stimulate its own collagen, and improve the appearance of your skin. Atrophic scars form as a result of an insufficient amount of collagen and, as such, the boost in collagen production works to eliminate the depressions in the skin.
Chemical peels for scars
Chemical peels are another effective treatment for resurfacing the skin and providing smooth, evenly textured skin. Chemical peels work well for the treatment of acne scars and other atrophic scars by promoting new skin cell turnover and the increased production of collagen. There are a variety of different kinds of chemical peels that vary in strength and the type of acid that is used. When placed on the face, the chemicals in the peel react with the surface of the skin to exfoliate the outer layer of skin. Patients with type I or II skin, can tolerate deeper chemical peels, while patients with darker skin tones should proceed with more gentle chemical peels. Following the treatment, it is important to practice strict sun avoidance in order to prevent any further damage to your skin.
Can scars be removed with laser treatment?
Yes! There are several different varieties of laser treatments that work to eliminate the appearance of scar tissue in different ways. Some laser treatments employ laser resurfacing to sand down the top layer of skin and promote skin cell turnover while others target discoloration in the skin. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, she will make a determination about which, in any, laser treatment is best for your type of scar removal.
25-34 year old man, VBeam and eMatrix for acne scars
VBeam Pulsed Dye Laser treatment
VBeam Pulsed Dye is a type of laser treatment that is best used to treat a variety of different types of scars, including acne scars, surgical scars, stretch marks, and keloid scars. The pulsed dye laser treatment involves the use of a laser at 595 nanometers, which works by targeting blood vessels in the treatment area. The redness in scar tissue can occur when new blood vessels form during the wound healing process and may not recede. The appearance of those blood vessels in the scar tissue can lead to a noticeable redness in the scar. The VBeam Pulsed Dye Laser eliminates this redness in the scar by targeting the blood vessels that remain in the scar tissue. The treatment also works to flatten the raised hypertrophic scars and keloids. The VBeam laser is best for patients with a lighter skin tone with these types of scars.
The process is simple and there is no downtime following the procedure. The procedure itself is painless, with most patients describing the sensation as akin to a rubber band snapping and hitting the skin. The Dynamic Cooling Device in the laser also works to keep the surrounding skin cool during the bursts of laser energy, and minimize any discomfort. Dr. Green will target the Vbeam laser to any area that needs treatment or is red. Following the VBeam treatment, patients can resume their regularly scheduled activities immediately, though Dr. Green recommends careful skin care in the form of protection from the sun either through use of sunscreen or avoidance of sun exposure.
Fraxel Laser treatment scar treatment
Another type of laser treatment that is very effective in the reducing the appearance of scars is Fraxel laser treatment. Fraxel lasers are best used to treat atrophic scars, including atrophic acne scars. Over a series of five to six sessions, the appearance of these depressed scars can be greatly improved through the use of the resurfacing laser technology. The treatment works as the Fraxel laser device emits wavelengths of energy that create small micro injuries spaced slightly apart of the surface of the skin. These spots cause the collagen fibers that make up the scar tissue to be broken apart, allowing for the formation of new, unblemished skin.
eMatrix laser for acne scars
The eMatrix laser is an extremely effective laser resurfacing technique that is safe for all skin types and skin tones. The treatment is most effective for eliminating the appearance of acne scars and stretch marks without any risk of developing hyperpigmentation or discoloration. The eMatrix laser uses bi-polar radio frequency energy to penetrate to the dermal layer of skin in order to improve the texture of the skin, eliminate scars, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. When the eMatrix device is applied to the skin, a pulse of radiofrequency energy is delivered, which heats the dermal tissue. This heating of the skin leads to a controlled micro-injury, which triggers the body’s natural healing response thus stimulating the production of collagen. Over time, as the collagen production increases and the skin heals, the texture of the skin improves and the scars disappear.
The treatment process is quick and requires very minimal downtime following the procedure. The eMatrix laser treatment takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes to administer at Dr. Green’s office, depending on the size and scope of the treatment area. Dr. Green typically recommends scheduling three to five treatments each spaced four to six weeks apart for optimal results. eMatrix laser treatment is advantageous as it requires much less downtime than other resurfacing treatments, only 48 hours, which means you can return to your regularly scheduled activities very soon after receiving treatment.
Resurfacing lasers for scars
Laser resurfacing is an effective way to reduce the appearance of scars resulting from acne or pox. The laser will emit short pulses of light that work to remove the top layer of skin while heating the inner layer of skin, which promotes the body’s natural healing process to generate skin cell turnover. The result is new, smooth, more evenly textured skin. Laser resurfacing is not the best treatment option for patients with dark skin or active acne breakouts.
Surgical Scar Revision
For patients with a more significant scar, surgical scar revision may be the best option. Specifically, surgical scar revision can be effective for patients who are suffering from a major keloid scar that is very large or has grown such that it limits movement. When it comes to choosing a surgical option for scar removal, it is important to remember that surgery of any kind will also leave a scar and you will be trading one scar for another scar. Ideally, surgical scar revision will result is a less prominent scar, however, any surgical procedure poses greater risks of side effects and infection.
How long should you wear silicone scar sheets?
Patients who are undergoing topical treatment for the prevention of scars may be prescribed silicone gel sheets. The silicone gel sheets have been shown to be effective at reducing the size of a scar and minimizing potential discomfort such as itchiness during the healing process. However, in order for the treatment to be effective, patients will have to wear the sheets as recommended. For most patients, they will be asked to apply the sheets to the wound for 12 to 22 hours every day for up to three months.
How much is laser scar treatment?
The cost of laser scar treatment is dependent on several factors, including the size and scope of the scar tissue, the type of laser being employed for treatment, and the institution at which you are receiving the treatment. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, she will make a determination about the treatment plan that will best meet your aesthetic and physical goals. Once the treatment plan has been established, Dr. Green’s office will be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate of the cost of the treatment.
eMatrix for acne scars
How to get rid of first degree burn scars
Burns can occur in three levels of severity: first degree burns, which effect the outer layer of skin (the epidermis), second degree burns, which effects the epidermis and the inner layer of skin (the dermis), and third degree burns, which are the most severe and effect the epidermis, dermis, and may effect tissue, bone, and/or nerve endings. First degree burns, while painful, may result in some redness but typically do not lead to any scarring. Typically, treatment with Silvadene cream and covering the burn area, will allow the skin to heal. Second degree burns are more painful and take longer to heal. Additionally, they are more likely to leave a scar. Third degree burns require immediate medical attention and may require surgery in order to prevent or eliminate serious scarring, including skin grafts.
Will my baby’s scar go away?
If your child is injured in such a way that breaks the skin, the wound will naturally heal and form a scar. Many scars will fade over time, depending on the size and severity of the scarring. In order to help to prevent scarring following an injury, there are several ways to care for the wound:
- Stitches – if the cut is severe, your child may need stitches. Stitches will help the wound to heal and will decrease the likelihood of severe scarring
- Keep the wound clean
- Keep the wound moist
- Limit sun exposure
How much is scar treatment?
When patients ask, how much does it cost to have a scar removed, the answer is, it depends. The cost of scar treatment is dependent upon a variety of factors, including the size of the treatment area and the type of scar. Patients who have a vast keloid scar, for example, may require more extensive treatment in order to eliminate the scar, which may increase the price. Additionally, some patients may require a combination of treatments in order to achieve optimal results, which can also affect the overall price of the scar treatment.
How much is acne scar treatment?
In much the same way, the cost of acne treatment depends on several variables, including the scope of the treatment area and the type of acne scar. When you have your initial consultation with Dr. Green, she will be able to create your treatment plan for your current acne scars, as well as a prevention plan for future acne breakouts. This may involve a combination of treatments and products, which can affect the overall price of the treatment.
Is scar treatment covered by insurance?
If you are wondering whether scar treatment is covered by insurance, it is best to call your insurance company directly. Most insurance companies consider scar treatment cosmetic. Dr. Green always advices contacting your individual insurance company about their process and reimbursement for any scar treatment.
Do acne scar treatments work?
Yes! There are a wide variety of treatments that work to eliminate the appearance of acne scars, which are available at Dr. Green’s office. VBeam Pulsed Dye Laser treatment, Fraxel laser treatment, Dermabrasion, Dermal Fillers, and chemical peels are all effective treatments for the elimination of acne scars. When you have your consultation with Dr. Green, she will help you to determine which of the safe and effective treatments available at her office will work best for you.
Do scar treatments work?
Yes! There are so many scar treatment options that are very effective at reducing the appearance of all different types of scars. From dermal fillers to laser therapy, to chemical peels and topical skin care, Dr. Michele Green is an expert in treating scars in all skin tones. With over two decades at the forefront of acne, acne scar, and scar treatments, Dr. Green is here to help. Dr. Green has been treating scars for over 25 years in her private New York dermatology office. She is consistently voted as one of the best dermatologists in NYC by Castle Connolly, Super Doctors, New York Magazine, and The New York Times. To book a consultation with Dr. Michele Green for scar treatment, in her NYC office. please contact us online today or call Dr. Michele Green’s NYC based office at 212-535-3088 to see which are the best treatment options for you.