Treating Scars – Surgery, Laser & Cosmetic Camouflage
Information provided by the NHS on scar treatments:
People seek help for scars if they are painful or itchy, if they are unsightly, or if they restrict movement.
Although scars cannot be removed completely, they can often be made less visible. However, more research is required to assess the effectiveness of the different treatments.
Your GP may refer you to a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon for treatment.
Some treatments – such as laser therapy – are not widely available on the NHS, so you will need to pay for them privately.
Sometimes, surgery can improve the appearance of scars. Surgery can be used to:
- change the positioning of the scar
- change the width or shape of the scar
- release a tight scar that is close to a joint, to improve movement
Be aware that having surgery on your scar will leave a new scar that will take up to two years to improve in appearance. If surgery is used to treat a hypertrophic scar, there is a risk that the scarring may be worse after the surgery.
Surgery alone is not advised for keloids as they tend to grow back larger. Surgery for keloids is often combined with corticosteroid injections at the site of the removed scar immediately after the surgery. Some plastic surgeons also add other treatments, such as X-ray therapy and oral antibiotics to try and minimise recurrence of a keloid that has been surgically treated. You can talk to your surgeon about this.
For some pitted scars, laser surgery (laser re-surfacing) is used. This involves using a laser to remove the top layers of skin, stimulating collagen production in the deeper layers to try to make the scar flatter.
The aim of pressure dressings is to flatten and soften scars. They are most often used for large burn scars or after some skin grafts.
Pressure dressings are usually made from a stretchy, elastic material. They are worn over the scar 24 hours a day, for around six to12 months. They can also be used in combination with silicone gel sheeting to improve the appearance of scars over a long period of time.
Pressure dressings are usually used under specialist supervision.
Cosmetic camouflage (make-up) can help cover up scars and can be particularly useful for facial scars. Some are waterproof and can stay in place 2-3 days.
Camouflage make-up that is specially designed for covering up scars is available over the counter at pharmacies. Alternatively ask your GP for advice.
Please note that camouflage colour testing (to get a good colour match for your skin type) can be a lengthy process, sometimes taking over an hour, and needs to be performed by somebody who is qualified.
Laser or light therapy (pulses of light) can reduce the redness in a scar by targeting the blood vessels in the excess scar tissue.
Dermal fillers are injections (often of a man-made acid) used to ‘plump up’ pitted scars. Treatments can be costly and the results are usually temporary. Repeat treatments are needed to maintain the effect.
Skin needling, which involves rolling a small device covered in hundreds of tiny needles across the skin, is also reported to be helpful, but repeat treatments are often needed to achieve an effect and results vary considerably.
We are a leading cosmetic clinic in Liverpool and we have a team of highly trained BAAPS & BAPRAS registered Consultant Plastic Surgeons for scar treatment information – call Melissa today for further information and for friendly advice
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