Common Skin Concern: Scarring
The skin is our body’s largest organ and acts as a protective shield against heat, light, injury, infection and other external factors. When we suffer an injury or a wound, our skin regenerates as we heal and as part of the body’s natural healing process our skin may scar. The severity and appearance of the scar can depend on many factors including the depth and size of the injury, genetics, your health and even your gender or ethnicity.
While no medi-aesthetic clinic can guarantee complete removal of scarring (and if they do, beware!) in many cases correct treatment can significantly reduce the appearance of the scar and improve skin texture.
What is scarring?
A scar is the result of your body’s natural healing response to an injury or wound. This occurs during a complicated three-phase process of inflammation, proliferation and maturation. The result of this natural healing process often leaves us with a scar that may appear raised, sunken, lumpy, smooth, red or even itchy. Unfortunately, not all scars are welcome, and many people choose to seek treatment for the appearance of unwanted, visible scars.
Types of Scarring
Atrophic scars are scars that heal below the normal layer of skin tissue and appear indented, depressed or sunken in the skin. These scars are caused by the destruction of collagen during an inflammatory condition such as acne. Atrophic scars can be further broken down into the following three types:
- Ice pick scars: small, narrow and often deep
- Boxcar scars: flat in the middle with a defined border
- Rolling scars: no distinct edges, wavelike in appearance
Hypertrophic scars are scars that heal above the normal layer of skin tissue and appear thicker, raised and can vary in colour from pink to red. Hypertrophic scars do not extend beyond the boundaries of the injury site and may regress over time and with treatment. Hypertrophic scars are caused by abnormal production of extra collagen at the injury site during the healing phase.
Like hypertrophic scars, keloid scars rise above skin level however keloid scars extend beyond the injury site and do not regress over time. Keloid scars are also formed due to an overproduction of collagen while the skin is healing. Often keloid scars appear red to purple in colour and are harder to treat. Depending on the severity and where the scar is located on the body, it may also affect mobility.
Unfortunately, we cannot treat Keloid scars at Australian Skin Clinics.
Contracture scars occur when a large area of skin is damaged and lost. Often the result of burns, contracture scar formation pulls the edges of the skin together, causing a tight area of skin that may impair mobility. This type of scar may go deeper and affect the muscles and nerves below.
Treatment for contracture scars is often surgical.
How to treat Scarring
We offer several treatment options to reduce the appearance of scarring. In some cases, cosmetic injectables may be used as a possible treatment for some types of scarring. Your dermal technician or cosmetic injector will tailor a treatment plan depending on the type, location, severity of the scar and your personal aesthetic goals. If you are prone to keloid scarring or have a family history of keloid scarring, please let your dermal technician know as this will affect your recommended treatment options. Please note: our treatments focus on repairing the appearance of certain types of scarring and cannot repair mobility issues or deeper underlying damage.