How Do Scars Form on Our Skin?

More often than not, scars cannot be completely erased. Still, discoloration, surface irregularities, and other subtler flaws can be cosmetically improved upon with treatments like scar revision surgery, which offer very pleasing cosmetic results while drastically improving on any poorly healed scars.

The procedure is meant to minimize the look of a scar so that it is more consistent with surrounding skin tone and texture—a specific type of plastic surgery performed to improve the condition or appearance of scars anywhere on the body.

How Scars Form

Scars are essentially visible signs that remain after a wound has completely healed, forming when the dermis is damaged and when the body forms new collagen fibers that mend the damage done to the skin, resulting in a scar. Typically, new scar tissue has a different texture and quality than the older, surrounding tissue.

There are many different kinds of scars, with most being flat or pale and others being more raised (when the body produces too much collagen). Raised scars are called hypertrophic scars or keloid scars and are more commonly found in younger and darker-skinned people.

Other scars might have a sunken or pitted appearance, occurring when underlying structures supporting the skin (like muscle) are lost. Some surgical scars also have this appearance, as do some acne scars. Finally, there are scars that can appear as stretched skin, which come out when skin stretches rapidly as in growth spurts or during pregnancy).

Understanding Scar Revision Surgery

All the various surgical techniques for scar revision are designed to make the scar as smooth and invisible as possible. It can involve everything from moving skin around to actually recreating the incision to make it less visible. What works best for any specific scar depends solely on where it is located and how it looks. Most of the time, surgeons will evaluate individual cases beforehand to discuss the many options for revision surgery.

Scar removal/revision is usually done in two fashions: either removal of the scar surgically or partial removal via dermabrasion, peels, or lasers.

Aftercare

As with any kind of surgery or scar revision, it is very important to follow the surgeon’s aftercare instructions to make sure the wound heals properly. Though many people may be up and about rather quickly, gradual resuming of normal activities is always advised. Furthermore, depending on the surgery performed and the site of the scar, facial plastic surgeons will explain the types of activities to avoid and the specific medications to stay away from. It is also important to remember that scar tissues require a year or more to fully heal and achieve maximum improved appearance.

Immediately after the procedure, expect to feel some discomfort, especially in the cases of facial scar revision surgery. Swelling, bruising, and redness are generally unavoidable, and though sutures are typically removed within days after the surgery, the skin still needs ample time to heal.

Facial plastic surgery and other forms of scar revision surgery essentially make it possible to correct any flaws within the skin that undermine self-confidence. Sometimes, even the slightest change in the appearance of a scar can help change how one feels about oneself. And like all other cosmetic procedures, teamwork between the physician and patient is always needed to help ensure an optimal result in scar revision.

Let Dr. William J. Binder, an experienced, acclaimed, and world-leading facial plastic surgeon be of help. Contact his office today to find out more about ways to improve upon your scars.

How Do Scars Form on Our Skin?

Like it or not, scars are a natural part of life, and most of the time, it’s hard to escape childhood without racking up at least a few cuts and bruises along the way. In order to make it easier to learn how to heal scars and how to further care for your skin, it is vital to better understand the process behind skin and scarring.

The skin is a sensory organ, the body’s largest organ, and when opened, either by accident or through surgical incisions, the injury typically results in a scar. As such, scars represent the final phase of the body’s healing or repair process after skin is damaged, occurring as a direct result of everything from burns, surgery, or skin conditions to any significant traumas. Even a procedure as simple as ear-piercing can sometimes cause a deforming scar or keloid.

Scar Formation

Scars form due to damage of the dermis (deep, thick layer of skin), as the body works to form new collagen fibers that then result in a scar.

Initial phases of the wound healing process include control and cessation of bleeding and sealing the wound to prevent the penetration of bacteria or potential infection. Collagen is then used to repair and close the wound. Scars form after a wound heals, usually having a different texture and quality than the surrounding tissue. The entire healing process can be imagined as human cement that is utilized by the body to fill up a hole—i.e. the wound.

Types of Scars

There are various different types of scars, ranging from the more typical flat and pale-looking to more raised scars called hypertrophic scars or keloid scars that occur when the body produces too much collagen. Other scars have a more sunken or pitted appearance, occurring when underlying structures supporting the skin (ex. fat or muscle) are lost.

Scars can also appear in the form of stretched skin. These occur as a result of rapid skin stretching, as in growth spurts or during pregnancy, or when the skin is under tension or near a joint during the healing process.

Best Scar Treatments

Like scars themselves, the various treatment options for scars range widely. If very early on, some scars should be vigorously massaged with a moisturizer several times a day for about one minute, as the active movement helps reorganize not yet mature collagen bundles that are forming during the repair of the injury. The moisturizer not only decreases friction on the tender new scar but also provides moisture to the area. Some choices such as cocoa butter and vitamin E oil are often quite effective.

One important thing to remember is to stay away from sunlight because immature scars need to be amply protected from the sun in order to prevent hyperpigmentation or becoming overly dark. Some of the best scar treatments available include:

Steroid injections: Long term courses of steroid injections into a scar may help flatten it by helping soften the appearance of keloid or hypertrophic scars.
Dermabrasion: Removes the surface of the skin with special equipment and is especially useful when a scar is raised above the surrounding skin (though it is less useful for the treatment of sunken scars). Microdermabrasion, a less invasive form of dermabrasion, can also be minimally useful for very superficial scars.
Laser Resurfacing: Similar to dermabrasion, resurfacing removes the surface layers of the skin using different types of lasers. The advanced technology results in little down time as opposed to traditional laser resurfacing and dermabrasion, which both require a long recovery.
Radiotherapy: Low-doses of superficial radiotherapy can be used to prevent the recurrence of severe keloid and hypertrophic scarring.
Filler injections: Though the effects of injections are only temporary, they can be used to raise sunken scars to the level of surrounding skin. Procedures need to regularly repeated and there are many newer forms of injectable fillers now on the market that may be good to consider.
Surgery: Although it is not recommended in cases of hypertrophic or keloid scarring (raised scars), surgery can be used to alter a scar’s initial shape or to make it less noticeable.

The formation of scars after surgery or trauma to the skin is an inevitable fact of life that needs to be dealt with as it occurs—whether we like it or not. It is important to be proactive in regards to the treatment of scars early on in order to maximize the outcome of their final appearance.

Let Dr. William J. Binder, an experienced, acclaimed, and world-leading facial plastic surgeon help with the best scar treatments available today. Contact his office today to find out more about ways to prevent scarring or to schedule a consultation.

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5 Habits That Are Aging Your Skin

Does your skin seem to be aging faster than your actual years? Do you not love what you are seeing in the mirror? Well, it may be time to reassess some of those daily routines because like it or not, how you look and feel as the years progress often depends critically on the choices you make and the habits you acquire throughout the years. When it comes to aging skin care, consistent bad habits will not only threaten the youthful complexion you desire, but will also cause premature skin aging that will add decades to your face. Ditch that unhealthy routine early on and ultimately stop future epidermis woes by simply making some changes to everyday behavior. Here are five common culprits that speed up the aging process of your skin to take note of.

1. Holding Grudges & Carrying Stress

Life is way too precious and too short to hold onto old grudges. Sometimes, forgiving, forgetting, and just letting go can add years to your life as well as make it a lot more productive. What’s more is that you’ll likely notice fewer wrinkles from less frowning, especially around the eyes and on the forehead, as well as more vibrant looking skin from lower blood pressure, less depression, less stress, less anxiety, and overall better physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being.

All that said, nothing can and will make you feel or act older than allowing stress to take the driver’s seat. So, believe it: Stress doesn’t just make you anxious, it also works against aging skin care. Keep your mind young, your skin vibrant, and avoid cognitive impairment by simply letting go. Not only will you avoid acne and oily skin, but disruptions in sebum production, microcirculation, and hydration levels that can all lead to a duller, more aged complexion. Stress also leads to free radical damage, which is another top cause of aging.

2. Skipping Sunscreen & Heavy Toxin Exposure

Aging skin is a natural process and aging skin care demands you be aware of these natural processes and triggers. Daily sun exposure can actually contribute hugely to premature aging by slowing down the turnover of new healthy skin cells and old damaged cells. It is important to remember that UV exposure is the number one named cause of skin aging, as 90% of all visible age signs and 80% of skin-aging free radical damage are caused by everyday time underneath sunlight doing activities like gardening, dog walking, or even driving. Even for those who wear makeup containing SPF, full coverage is not available because layers upon layers upon layer of cosmetics – much more than an average person would wear – would be needed to reach the levels needed for ample protection.

Another cause for concern would be everyday toxins in the air. Though you cannot control pollution in the same way you can control something like fitness and diet, toxin exposure plays a huge role in affecting aging skin care by slowing down cellular growth which allows skin to age more rapidly. Toxins decrease oxygen and collagen in the skin, leading to duller, more blotchy appearances, uneven tone, and constant breakouts. The key to minimizing the risks is protection. So, do not skip on that sunscreen, as SPF protects not just from the rays of the sun, but free radicals that cause aging as well. Remember also to cleanse skin thoroughly every night, to exfoliate twice a week, and to use products filled with antioxidants to help moisturize and stay protected.

3. Lack of Sleep & Incorrect Sleep Positioning

In the short run, insufficient shut-eye causes dark circles under the eyes and a lackluster complexion. But did you know that not getting enough sleep also ages skin prematurely, leading to prolonged dullness and dryness by not allowing cells to receive the full repair and rejuvenation they would otherwise be getting during the normal hours of the night? Sleep deprivation also decreases vital collagen production and raises levels of the hormone cortisol, which increases oil production in the skin and can lead to bouts of acne. In the long run, skimping on Zzzzs can actually be more consequential than most would think — so hit the hay and your skin will be pleased.

Remember also that when it comes to sleeping, positioning in everything. Sleeping on the side or on the stomach increases wrinkles on the sides of the face, brows, and cheeks. For the best aging skin care, how and when you sleep is everything.

4. Smoking & Alcohol

Besides the obvious dangers of smoking and drinking such as heart, lung, and liver disease, there is also the fact that the two inhibit proper blood flow and age skin dramatically. Wrinkles around the mouth area become more visible, skin tone and vibrancy are affected, and skin elasticity breaks down more quickly than ever for those who choose to light up. Wine, beer, and liquor, in addition, severely dehydrate the skin, leaving it quenched for moisture. Without that moisture, skin is more prone to wrinkles and dryness.

Next to UV exposure, smoking and drinking are the worst habits for your skin, not only choking skin’s tissues by depleting them of much needed oxygen (which causes improper functioning that allows skin to become sallow and lined) but also damaging capillaries carrying away damaging free radicals (which leads further to a toxic skin environment and more accelerated aging).

5. Poor Diet Habits

You are what you eat. Everything you put in your body has a direct impact on the skin, and though the connections between diet and overall health are fairly obvious, poor diet actually has a much bigger impact on your skin than anyone would probably realize. Bad habits can cause dullness, puffiness, redness, congestion, acne, faster aging of the skin, and a myriad of other health disorders. High sugar intake, in addition, degrades collagen and elastin, which are the proteins that keep skin soft and supple. Lack of nourishment from vitamins and minerals, especially those found in fruits and vegetables, also shows up on the skin, as the nutrients found in the two feed the skin to keep it youthful, hydrated, and glowing. Make sure your diet also includes fish with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as well as plenty of fiber from whole grains.

Dr. William J. Binder is experienced, acclaimed, and considered one of the world’s leading facial plastic surgeons. Contact his office today to find out more about ways to prevent aging and to schedule a consultation.

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What Laser Skin Resurfacing Does for You

Laser skin resurfacing is a cosmetic rejuvenation procedure that uses targeted laser therapy to safely and effectively remove damaged skin one layer at a time to reveal the healthy skin beneath. Because of its relatively lower cost when compared to other skin rejuvenation options, it is rapidly growing in popularity and has benefited from numerous advances in recent years.

Now, skilled cosmetic surgeons and reconstructive surgeons can offer patients an unprecedented level of care thanks to these exciting new tools.

How It Works

Laser skin treatment works by using very finely controlled laser diodes to remove damaged and dead layers or skin in much the same way that a more traditional chemical peel would, but with a much tighter focus and greater overall effectiveness. There are also fewer side effects and less recovery time (typically) with laser skin resurfacing than with more traditional skin resurfacing. There are two main types of lasers used for skin resurfacing. Both are perfectly safe, but have different applications.

● C02 Laser Resurfacing: This technique uses a carbon dioxide laser, either in a modulated pulse or continuous beam, to remove heavily damaged skin. This is by far the most common form of laser skin treatment, and it has a wide range of applications when it comes to skin resurfacing. It can be used to treat more involved conditions such as fine lines and wrinkles, or for scar removal and revision, particularly on sensitive areas around the eyes, nose, and mouth.

● Intense Pulse Light: This laser technique is more suited for younger patients such as young children with birthmarks, or patients with lighter skin pigmentation issues such as varicose veins and skin damage.

What Laser Skin Resurfacing Can Help Treat

Laser skin treatment can help to mitigate a number of skin issues including:

● Fine Lines and Wrinkles
● Blotchy Skin
● Age spots
● Scars
● Acne Pockmarks
● Skin Discoloration

Laser Resurfacing Can Help Fix Discoloration

Skin discoloration is something that can happen to virtually anyone. Most frequently the causes are aging, sun damage, congenital issue, or medical disorder. While laser skin resurfacing can’t fix dramatic discoloration, it can help to even out discoloration and blotchiness to make it less noticeable and easier to conceal. For mild discoloration, such as skin with mild sun damage, laser resurfacing can even out your skin tone to where only you, or a close loved one like a spouse would notice.

Laser Resurfacing for Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Typically, injections such as Botox or surgical lifts are the first thought when it comes to fine line and wrinkle treatment, even though these procedures are typically more invasive and disruptive to a patient’s schedule. Fortunately, laser skin treatment can also be used to treat fine lines and wrinkles such as crow’s feet and smile/laugh lines. For many patients who don’t see great results following lifts, laser resurfacing can be a much more successful option and can even be more successful than other options.

This technique is especially effective for treating crow’s feet and other small lines that develop around the mouth and eyes that can be very difficult to manage with something like Botox or a facelift and still maintain a natural appearance in the short term.

Laser Resurfacing for Scar Removal

Unlike other skin resurfacing procedures, laser skin resurfacing can improve the appearance of any and all types of scars, even acne scars, that other skin resurfacing treatments can’t handle effectively. Laser scar revision is one of the most commonly used scar revision techniques. Laser revision for scars can be used to lessen the severity and noticeability of scars from surgery or injury. Laser resurfacing of facial scars is so effective, primarily, because of its pin-point accuracy and fine control that lets the surgeon target just the scar or other imperfection.

This is especially important when treating something like acne scars, which other scar revision and mitigation therapies can struggle to treat. The same goes for chicken pox scars, and other pockmark type scars from injuries.

Laser Skin Treatment from Doctor Binder

Dr. William J. Binder is an industry-leading plastic surgeon based out of Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, California. Doctor Binder and his team specialize in treating a wide variety of cosmetic and reconstructive facial issues. If you want to learn more about laser skin resurfacing, or one of our other treatment options, contact Dr. Binder’s office today to schedule your consultation.