Fading Fast: Scar Reduction Methods

By: Dr. Charles
Topics: Joints & Tissue, Physical & Occupational Therapy


One of the most common problems that plastic surgeons and dermatologic surgeons have to deal with is scarring.  Scars are a natural result of the skin's healing process following a traumatic or surgical wound.  Our patients are always looking for ways to make their scars look less noticeable.  Luckily, our increased understanding of how scars are created has helped us find ways to prevent them or help improve their appearance. 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; this is true for wound healing as well.  How well a surgical or traumatic wound heals will definitely depend upon the health of the patient and their skin.  Smoking, alcohol consumption, poor diet, and excess sun exposure are all factors that can impair the wound healing process and thus make a scar look worse.  If the scar happens to be located over an area where the patient carries too much extra fat, the stretching of the skin in this area can distort the scar.  Similarly, if the patient is too physically active and overuses the muscles beneath a healing wound, this can also cause stretching and distortion of the scar.

When a wound is actively healing, using specialized physician dispensed skin care products can be a big help.  These products contain peptides and growth factors that urge the wound to heal at an almost superhuman rate, leading to less noticeable scarring.  Once a wound closes, topical gels containing silicone and sunscreen can ensure that the scar remains flat and flesh colored.  Depending upon the shape and location of a scar, surgically removing it and revising it may result in a better looking scar. 

Lastly, laser technology has advanced to the point where there are a number of different devices available to make red scars look less red and even to help flesh colored or white scars blend in with the surrounding skin.