Your skin has many talents. It is a guardian, a tactician, and a doctor. Skin protects you from the elements while providing a vital sensation that helps you experience the world around you. And when you suffer a wound, the skin heals itself…to a degree.
Broken skin sends a signal to the body to seal the area. Collagen rushes to the site and rapidly forms new flesh, but this skin may not match the look and feel of its surroundings. That’s what we know as scar tissue.
But not all scars are created equal. In order to minimize the appearance of scarring, we must assess several factors, including skin tone, severity, and the nature of the scar itself.
Types of Scars
There are several scar tissue varieties, but the most common types fall into two major categories: hypertrophic and keloid. Hypertrophic scars have a red hue and tough texture but generally lay flush against the plane of the skin’s surface.
Keloids, on the other hand, extend well beyond the parameters of the original wound. They are raised approximately 4mm or more above the surface and are more persistent than hypertrophic scars. Individuals with darker skin types are more vulnerable to keloid scarring.
It is important to discuss your unique complexion, healing patterns and aesthetic goals with a skilled medical professional to determine the best course of action for scar treatment.
Surgical vs. Non-Surgical Scar Revision Techniques
As detailed above, collagen is both a virtue and a complication. When collagen forms too hastily, it has a fibrous consistency synonymous with scar tissue. To counteract this dynamic, collagen injections can supplement the skin and minimize the persistence of certain scars.
Another injectable solution is the use of dermal fillers like Restylane or Juvederm. These compounds can add fullness to divots or other inverted scars, bringing an even tone and texture to the area. Steroids may also be injected into the area to alleviate the itching and redness associated with scar tissue.
To address the scarring on a surface-level approach, your doctor may apply silicone gel sheets. Alternately, you may opt for pressure therapy, which requires several months of faithful usage to deliver noticeable results.
Laser skin resurfacing is a more comprehensive approach to scar revision. By heating the cells beneath the fibrous tissue, the CO2 beam encourages healthy new skin to form, replacing the unsightly scars that appear on your complexion.
Cosmetic surgery techniques have made incredible progress in the realm of scar revision. Your surgeon can literally excise scar tissue and suture the incisions back together with an eye for contouring and seamless functionality. For example, the elliptical, W-plasty and Z-plasty approaches are three variations on the same basic concept. The doctor works with the movement of your skin, assessing which incision shape will be the least noticeable.
For example, Z-plasty (as the name suggests) creates a zigzag incision that breaks up the stark, linear manifestation of a scar. Your skin is allowed to heal in several dimensions simultaneously, downplaying the original protrusion and dissipating the scar tissue in various directions.
If your skin is struggling with scars that constrict your movement and expressions, your surgeon may recommend tissue expanders. These devices encourage your skin to flourish, overpowering scar tissue that pulls at your complexion.
The exact procedure that you require will depend on several factors. Before choosing between the surgical and non-surgical options outlined in this article, you must step back and take a holistic snapshot of your aesthetic landscape.
Scars affect everybody in different ways. The darkness of your skin, for example, will influence the type of scar tissue you develop (keloids vs. hypertrophic). But the proper scar revision technique must also consider the placement of a wound, the age of the patient, and the depth of the scarring.
One concept to keep in mind is that of relaxed skin tension lines (RSTL). When you look at scar revision under a microscope, you may think about your skin as it stretches, heals, and reforms. But we spend most of our time in a more calm state. When skin is relaxed, it has an entirely different vibe than when it is flexing and posing.
Take a casual look in the mirror. Does your scar stand out due to how rigid and straight it appears? That’s because it doesn’t have the same flexibility as the skin you have developed over the entire course of your life. Those relaxed skin tension lines define who you are, and scars get in the way of your resting best face.
A successful scar revision procedure will consider how you behave daily, not just how you will look in the clinic under certain lighting. We want you to be satisfied with your skin in the long term and under a bevy of scenarios.
From smiles to surprises and everything in between, your skin is a reactive gem. It demands individualized attention, and scar tissue is a facet of your complex complexion. Revision procedures are tailored to your ultimate goals, so be sure to discuss any and all medical needs with your physician before embarking on scar treatment.
Once the skin is broken, it can never magically go back in time to its perfect, unblemished status. That said, we can work with the skin to ensure it shimmers and glows at its optimum levels.
Realistic expectations are essential to cosmetic improvement. Scarring is natural because it is part of your healing process. Medical science is geared towards amplifying this process, but it can never replace your body’s own capabilities. Doctor Binder is an expert in the field of aesthetic enhancement because he respects and understands the skin. To benefit from his unparalleled expertise, contact our Beverly Hills office.