When the skin is particularly damaged or injured it does not always heal in a clear smooth way like our skin would appear normally.
Scars can appear in different tones to our natural skin colour and may also be raised, this causes scars to stand out and may make us feel self-conscious about them.
What Is A Scar?
There are many different types of scar and they can usually be broadly classified in terms of their cause, colour and shape.
A scar is a mark left by a healed wound, sore, acne or a burn – some type of injury to the skin. Scars are very common – most people have at least one on their body. They are a natural part of the healing process.
There are many ways to classify scars, however at Zenith Cosmetic Clinics we split them into 3 types to make them easier to understand and treat, as scarring is an extremely complex area. A very simplified description is below:
The 3 Main Types
- Surgical Scars
- Non-Surgical Scars caused by Acne and Chickenpox
- Burns Scars (from heat, lasers or chemicals)
Once we have diagnosed your scar as a Surgical Scar, we can then categorise this into 2 further groups. Hypertrophic confined to the boundary of the wound. Keloids extend outside the boundary of the wound. We have split these out for you below:
Hypertrophic Scars usually settle down with time, although this can be many years. If they do not settle then there are some options:
Excision – Sometimes the wound can be cut out and re-stitched by a plastic surgeon, giving a much better finish. In the right situation this is a very useful method.
Fraxel Laser – We can accelerate the scar healing, but also improve outcomes using the Fraxel Laser treatment. The sooner we can start the Fraxel Laser treatment the better! Recent research shows that if you use it before planned surgery, across where you intend to cut then there is no scar at all.
This is a complex area, please book a consultation to see our doctor who will go through the options.
Keloids are a completely different matter. Once presented they are life long and can grow at any time. They unfortunately cannot be cured, but just simply put to sleep!
Nobody really knows why they grow, but they are basically a lump of collagen being produced by Fibroblasts that are out of control. Fibroblasts are in the deep dermis layer of skin, Keratinocytes make up the epidermis.
Burns fall in to broadly 3 categories;
- 1st Degree damages superficial skin, the epidermis.
Causes superficial redness that can be sore but settles and rarely leaves a scar.
- 2nd Degree damages epidermis and deeper skin layer the dermis.
Causes a blister and usually scars to some extent, genetics and aftercare determine to what extent scarring occurs.
- 3rd Degree causes damage to all layers of skin and possibly deeper tissues.
Leaves an open wound and will usually need a skin graft as it will not usually heal by itself.
How To Treat A Scar?
The most important factor is to correctly assess and diagnose the type and cause of a scar to ensure the correct treatment is used. Unless the Practitioner is extremely skilled and experienced in this area, the wrong treatment will often do more harm than good.
Treatment of Non – Surgical Scars
For treatments of Acne Scars, please do visit our page on Acne Scarring
Treatment of Burns Scars
When it comes to healing and treating scars from Burns, there are recent advances in Stem Cells. However, this requires a case-by-case discussion with the Doctor, best at 1 year post injury.
Treatment of Keloid Scars
For those people who get Keloids quite commonly, then unfortunately nothing really helps. For example, with a cat scratch resulting in a Keloid scar instead of scabbing and healing.
However, people who get Keloids with provocation, but not normally will find that most treatments will work but sometimes need to use Botox® instead of just steroids on their own, or the Cutera Laser.
Those who get keloids only with extreme provocation eg. Major surgery with infected wounds etc. will find that most simple treatments work.
All Keloids need great care and caution. They can become a much bigger problem, and therefore each person needs to be examined with care and a proper medical history taken. We have developed a protocol for injections and this works in most patients, in combination with Lasers that can help reduce the colour!
Excision – cutting keloids off surgically has a 50% recurrence. If Keloids are removed from ear lobes success rate is higher.
Radiation Therapy – keloids do often come back despite this treatment and unfortunately there is also a risk of cancer as this is the therapy used for cancers. We DO NOT advise this method.
Freezing – very expensive, and high recurrence rate can make scars worse. Best avoided.
Why Choose Zenith Cosmetic Clinics for Scar Treatment?
At Zenith we have the expertise to correctly diagnose the exact type of scar that you have but also we have the full range of treatment available to treat any scar from the most simple to the most complex.