Going through an operation or having an accident can be traumatic enough without having to worry about being left with permanent scars. Whether the result of a few stitches, acne, or perhaps more significant injuries; scarring can leave us lacking in confidence and feeling as though the affected parts of our body should be covered up or hidden away.
People affected by scarring shouldn’t have to suffer as a result, that’s why we at Save Face have put together this information on how to best treat scarring, giving you the chance to regain your self-confidence.
What are scars?
A scar is a mark that’s left on the skin after an injury has healed. They are extremely common as they are a natural part of the healing process.
What causes scars?
An injury that causes a break in the body’s tissue will result in the production of a protein called collagen, which effectively works to ‘glue’ tissue together. This collagen builds up around the area where the tissue has been damaged, healing and strengthening the wound. Collagen production, along with increased blood supply to the area, will go on until the wound is healed, but leaves visible evidence of the original injury.
There are different types of scars that can occur on the human body depending on the way in which they’re formed, and some of these are mentioned below.
The most common type of scar is the flat, pale scar that occurs when the skin surrounding a wound comes together, and heals, neatly. These usually fade significantly over time.
Keloid and hypertrophic scars occur when too much collagen is produced at the site of an injury so that the scar keeps on growing once the wound has healed. These types of scars are raised above the skin and can feel tender to the touch. Whilst keloid scars are often larger than the original wound, hypertrophic scars tend to remain a similar size.
Atrophic or ‘ice pick’ scars are pits left in the skin by conditions such as acne or chicken pox. They can also occur as a result of an injury that has caused the loss of fat or tissue in a particular area.
How to prevent scarring
Whilst it’s not possible to completely prevent scars from forming, there are things than can be done to reduce the extent of any scarring that occurs.
Immediately cleaning the site of an injury (removing dirt, foreign bodies and dead tissue) can help it to heal better. It’s also important not to scratch or pick at scabs or spots, and covering wounds with a waterproof ointment such as Vaseline can also help encourage healing.
In addition to this, there are also special silicon gels or sheets available to cover healing skin. These work to reduce redness and minimise keloid and hypertrophic scarring. Your doctor or pharmacist will be able to give you more information on silicon scar treatment.
The best treatments available
For some pitted scars, laser re-surfacing can work effectively to flatten the surface of the skin. This treatment involves removing the top layers of skin (where the visible scarring lies) with a laser in order to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers. Fractionated laser creates columns of controlled injury whilst preserving the surface layer of the skin.
Laser costs vary depending on the size and extent of scarring. Prices for minor treatments involving small areas may cost around £100 per session, while intermediate and major treatment can cost up to £400 per session.
Dermal fillers are injections which are usually made up of hyaluronic acid, a substance found naturally in the skin which holds on to moisture. Injecting this substance into the skin allows practitioners to ‘fill in’ pitted scars to reduce their appearance.
Again, the cost of dermal fillers will vary considerably depending on the extent of scarring. Treatments usually start at around £180.
Skin needling, or derma rolling as it’s sometimes known, involves using a small device to prick the skin’s surface with hundreds of tiny needles to cause micro injuries. These micro injuries stimulate the skin’s healing process, causing the body to produce new collagen and elastin, as well as new capillaries, which can lead to the reduction of scarring.
Depending on the size of the affected area, medical needling can cost anywhere between £200 and £400 for a course of treatment.
If, after reading the relevant downloads, you are interested in having any of these treatments, it's important to make sure that the person carrying them out is a fully trained practitioner with experience in improving scars.
Save Face is committed to safeguarding the consumer from unsafe, unethical and unprofessional practice, so we have created a user-friendly search engine to put you in touch with safe, established practitioners who have undergone strict vetting procedures. Use Save Face today and help raise standards in the non-surgical cosmetic procedures industry.