Scar tissue can be a wonderful thing. It is the body’s natural way of healing and repairing an area that has been damaged in some way. Scar tissue can reconnect severed skin, repair cellular damage, and more. Unfortunately, the body can easily produce too much scar tissue, making it appear very visible after your healing has finished. Because scar tissue can form for a variety of reasons, there are many different types of scars that a person might develop in a lifetime. Learn about the six different types of scars, how and why they form, and what can be done to reverse their effects.
Scar Type 1: Keloid Scars
Keloid scars rank among the most notable and distorting types of scars. They form when the skin produces too much collagen in the tissue, resulting in growths and lumps. They appear reddish and puffy and will often grow beyond the injured area. As uncomfortable as these scars may look, they are not painful. They can, however, get in the way if there is significant overgrowth.
There are many treatments available for the removal of keloid scars. These may include surgical removal, steroid injections, cryotherapy, pressured dressings or silicone sheets applied to the scarring area. Laser scar treatments are one of the most popular approaches for keloids, although the decision will be left up to your facial plastic surgeon after he or she has examined the scar.
Scar Type 2: Hypertrophic Scars
While they are also comprised of excess collagen production like keloid scars, hypertrophic scars will appear differently. A hypertrophic scar is marked by a slightly raised area of the skin and a reddish, lumpy texture. Keloid scars are much more pronounced and will not stay confined to the damaged tissue. Hypertrophic scars are much more localized and will only produce a reasonable amount of scar tissue to heal so they are contained and easy to treat. All keloid scars are hypertrophic, but not all hypertrophic scars are keloids.
Most patients who develop hypertrophic scars will do so following a laceration caused by an accident or other injury. Hypertrophic scars can also result from unsterilized body piercing equipment, surgical incisions, and sometimes medical conditions like acne or chicken pox. They can itch, pinch, or cause mild pain in many cases, especially in the early stages of healing. Treatment of hypertrophic scars typically will not involve surgery, but rather, the application of silicone sheets, laser treatments, or localized injections.
Scar Type 3: Contracture Scars
When the body heals from burns or abrasions, a contracture scar will often be the result. This type of scars can cause tightening of the skin around the burn, often leading to immobility of the skin in that area. They can also extend deep into the skin and affect the muscles and nerve tissues beneath the injured area. A contracture scar will often be raised and rigid, appearing darker than the surrounding skin tissue. Specialized creams and laser treatments can help reverse the effects of contracture scars and improve their appearance. Consult with your facial plastic surgery for a specialized treatment that will work best for you.
Scar Type 4: Acne Scars
Based on the severity of the patient’s acne, these scars can appear in various forms, even hypertrophic in some cases. They may appear as small rounded pits in the skin or wavelike and raised. Acne scars are caused by breakouts, enlarged pores, and especially squeezing the affected area to “pop” whiteheads and pimples. Your specific care of acne scars will be determined through a consultation with a licensed esthetician or facial plastic surgeon. Typical acne scarring treatments focus on the surface of the skin, including dermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing.
Scar Type 5: Atrophic Scars
Small, roundish recesses on the surface of the skin are often atrophic scars. When connective, muscles, and fat tissue is lost in certain areas of the skin, these depressions can appear as a result. Chickenpox, acne, and other degenerative skin disorders can result in atrophic scars. They can also result from accidents and surgeries.
Treating atrophic scars is very different from treating other varieties, especially hypertrophic scars. Some therapies might include filler injections to even the texture and appearance of the skin. Surgical removal and skin resurfacing may also be implemented to treat some of the more severe types of atrophic scars.
Scar Type 6: Stretch Marks
Stretch marks, or striae, are caused by rapid stretching of the skin. They occur most frequently around the abdomens of women who have had one or more pregnancies. Patients who have gained weight quickly can also experience stretch marks in specific areas of the body, such as the hips and stomach, arms, thighs, and even the breasts. Stretch marks will initially appear as red or pink, although they will gradually fade to white and be harder to see. Your plastic surgeon or dermatologist may suggest certain strategies for erasing the appearance of stretch marks, although the tissue itself cannot be repaired at the cellular level.
Learn More About Scar Removal Today
Consult with the facial plastic surgeon to discover the right methods for removing or repairing your own scars, no matter what type they are. Let Dr. Sheldon S. Kabaker guide you through the process to plan a scar removal treatment from start to finish. As the San Francisco Bay Area’s most experiences Aesthetic Facial Plastic Surgeon and Hair Transplant Specialist, he is both the founder and director of California’s longest standing office surgery facility and the past president of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS). He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois College of Medicine before serving in the US Army Medical Corps and seeing active duty in Vietnam. Dr. Kabaker has become the world’s leading authority on hairline lowering surgery as well as an internationally recognized authority on facial plastic surgery and hair/scalp reconstruction surgery. Today, he serves as the AAFPRS fellowship director of young facial plastic surgeons while delivering satisfactory results to his patients. To book a consultation with Dr. Kabaker, contact his office located at 3324 Webster Street in Oakland, California by calling (415) 379-9015.