We do a lot to make sure we have perfect skin. We use the right cleansers, moisturizers, and serums, we protect our skin from the sun, and we even visit skin specialists to take care of troublesome acne or other skin issues with prescription ointments. But sometimes we still come across a skin concern that is tough to handle in the traditional ways, such as scarring. At Flores Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL we believe the path to perfect skin can come in many ways, including energy-based treatments such as laser scar removal.
Is Laser Scar Removal Permanent?
Scars are a permanent problem themselves, so it makes sense that many patients wonder if scar removal treatments are permanent as well. The answer is yes. In general, a permanent treatment for removing scars is one that completely resurfaces the topmost layers of skin and sometimes deeper, depending on the severity of the scar. Removing a scar with a laser treatment operates under this principle to gradually lighten, tighten, and fade a scar over time.
How Long Do Results Last?
Results for a permanent treatment last a very long time. In fact, this treatment lasts for as long as you do not develop another scar in the same area. This is an important note, as scars tend to develop more easily on skin that has already scarred once. For laser removal of scars, the results will last a lifetime if the skin is protected and taken care of with the right skincare products.
Will I Need Multiple Treatments?
Most likely, the successful removal of your scar will require multiple treatments. The number of treatments you require for optimal results depends on a few factors, such as the severity of the scar, the type of scar it is, and the location of the scar. Your skin type and age might also be a factor, particularly if you are producing collagen at a slower rate than in your youth. Let’s explain why these factors matter for the number of treatments you will require.
Not all scars are created equal. The simple truth of the matter is that some scars are on the surface of the skin, while others affect the deeper dermis. Some scars are small and flat, while others pucker and raise from the skin. Some scars are pale, some are dark, and some have no color at all. The severity of your scar will directly dictate how many treatments you need to remove the scar completely.
The location of your scar matters, especially for energy-based treatments. For example, the type of scar you might find on the face might need a different laser treatment than the scar on your stomach. Additionally, the location of your scar will also determine the type of skin that is being treated. Thinner skin, such as skin found around the eyes and the neck, is much different than thicker skin, such as the skin on the stomach, arms, and legs. The location of your scar can even determine the severity of the scar and how fast or how much the scar can heal itself.
Some people have skin that is more prone to scarring, while others have skin that heals quickly and evenly. Moreover, the type of skin you have typically changes as you age, meaning the supple, quick-healing skin of your youth is much different than the thinner, more delicate skin of your current age. Your skin type and how quickly your skin type changes is something that is determined by genetics, which means it is ultimately out of your control.
What Is Recovery Like?
Some patients assume that recovery from laser treatment is painful and will require a lot of downtime. We are pleased to say this is not the case. In fact, recovery from laser treatment for the removal of scars is much quicker than many other cosmetic treatments.
Your overall recovery period is about 3 to 10 days. The time of your recovery period is determined by the severity of your scar, the type of treatment you had, and the natural regenerative rate of your body. Your recovery time will likely include advice to moisturize, use sun protection, and avoid excessive heat, sweating, and direct sunlight. The majority of patients are free to return to normal daily activities as soon as 24 hours after treatment is complete.
How Does Laser Scar Removal Work?
Energy-based treatments are unique cosmetic interventions for a wide variety of appearance concerns, particularly concerns related to the skin. For the removal of scars, the most common type of laser treatment is laser skin resurfacing with a non-ablative laser.
Laser skin resurfacing is an umbrella term for many cosmetic treatments that treat the surface of the skin to help diminish the appearance of superficial skin concerns, including scarring. Skin resurfacing can use an ablative laser, which removes the topmost layer of skin, or a non-ablative laser, which does not injure the surface of the skin. At our office, we use a non-ablative laser to reduce the appearance of scars by removing the dead cells that make up scar tissue.
What Does Scar Removal Treat?
Laser treatments to remove scars can treat several types of scars as well as other skin-related concerns. Laser skin resurfacing can treat issues such as:
- Injury scars
- Acne scarring
- Stretch marks
- Dark spots
- Sun damage
- Uneven skin pigment
- Uneven skin texture
- Skin laxity
It’s just as important to understand the ins and outs of scars as it is to understand how scar removal works. Patients have many questions about scars, including how scars form, why some scars are different, and how to prevent scars from developing in the future.
What Are Scars?
Scars are newly formed skin tissue that replaces normal skin after an injury. A scar can be a dip in the skin, a pucker on the skin surface, a white line, a darker slash, or even pinkish lines. Scars typically have a different pigment or texture than the surrounding skin, and particularly bad scars have both. Scars are a normal occurrence after healing from an injury and are overall unavoidable.
How Do Scars Form?
To explain how scars form, we first need to explore the natural regenerative abilities of the body. Our body has many components to heal from injury, including the build-up of platelets in the blood to coagulate a wound and promote the fast knitting of new skin tissue to create a barrier on the skin surface. The natural regenerative abilities of our body are used for all injuries, regardless of how minor or severe. But bigger, deeper, or repeated injuries to the skin surface means scars that are tougher and more difficult to get rid of.
Scars form when the fibers of our skin tissue rapidly generate over a wounded area. This rapid regeneration means that healing the area takes priority over healing the area uniformly, which is why scars have different pigments and textures than the rest of your skin. Scars are best described as abnormal skin because it is skin that does not behave the same as other skin. For example, while the rest of your skin might get a sunburn, a scar does not.
What Causes Scarring?
There are many factors that contribute to scarring. Here are a few of the most common factors.
Injury is the number one cause of scarring. But what exactly constitutes an injury? While an obvious injury might include the presence of blood on the skin’s surface, the more troublesome injury for the skin to heal from is inflammation or overstretching. Injury for the skin is anything that stresses the natural fibers and causes the skin to change its shape. Injury can be anything from a paper cut, a surgery wound, acne, or even weight gain.
There is a direct correlation between scarring and the general sensitivity of your skin. As a rule of thumb, those who have sensitive skin are more prone to scarring. Sensitive skin is a skin type that is vulnerable to outside elements, meaning it is easily made red and is highly reactive to products or the environment.
Why Is Acne Scarring Different?
Acne scarring is different than other kinds of scarring. Why? Mostly this has to do with how acne scars form. Acne occurs when bacteria cause an inflammation of the skin, which stretches the walls of a pore and leads to scarring when the skin tries to prematurely heal from the acne. This premature healing creates a new wall of collagen, which creates the dips and dimples associated with acne scars.
Why Are Stretch Marks Common?
Stretch marks are one of the most common types of scars. Stretch marks can be found on virtually any area of the body but are most commonly seen on the stomach, arms, breasts, hips, and thighs. Stretch marks are caused by skin stretching too quickly, which stresses the elasticity of the skin and creates the vertical lines associated with stretch marks. This type of scarring is common during puberty for both genders, during pregnancy, or as a result of weight gain.
Can Scars Fade Naturally?
Have you ever seen new scars next to old scars? You will notice that new scars have a much different appearance than scars that are several years old, and that’s because older scars have had more time to heal by themselves. However, the degree to which scars can fade by themselves depends on your age, your skin, your overall health, and the type of scar it is. Overall, while some scars can fade significantly over several years, the majority of old scars are still visible and need extra help to fade completely.
Do Some Scars Fade Faster Than Others?
Yes, some scars do fade more quickly than others. Again, this is something that depends on the type of scar that is healing. Stretch marks, for example, can fade over the course of 2 to 5 years, while acne scars can take a full decade to match the surrounding skin texture. The fastest way to fade a scar is to seek a removal treatment that helps speed up the rate of cell turn over in the scar tissue.
Are You a Candidate for Scar Removal Treatment?
If you have a scar of any type, then you likely are a candidate for laser treatments. Good candidates are screened through a consultation process that will examine the condition of your skin and the severity of your scar. You might be a good candidate for this treatment if you want to:
- Reduce the appearance of scars
- Diminish acne scars
- Improve stretch marks
- Erase surgical scars
- Correct dark spots and other skin damage
Renew Your Skin With Laser Scar Removal!
If you’re tired of trying miracle products that promise to erase the scars from your skin, then maybe it’s time to look for a different solution. If you are ready to renew your skin with laser scar removal, please contact Flores Plastic Surgery in Miami, FL to schedule your consultation appointment today!