How dermatology can minimize scars

Many people have scars from childhood

Many people have scars from childhood

If you are bothered by the appearance of a scar left by some past injury or burn, there may be something a dermatologist can do to minimize it.  While the injury is still healing, it may be difficult to know how much of a permanent scar will be left behind, but it's best not to wait before consulting a dermatologist or a reconstructive surgeon.

If there is "any true scarring of the skin, I would recommend that they see a dermatologist and not wait," said Dr. Norma Magee, of the Austin Diagnostic Clinic near Austin, Texas.   People with old scars may have tried for years to cover them up with makeup, but "when a patient has tried several over-the-counter products and has not seen the results they would like it's time to make an appointment," Magee said.

Before any treatment can be done to minimize the appearance of the scar, the original damage must first be corrected. Since skin is very sensitive and tender, it may be years after an injury before the dermatologist can carry out the skin-repairing techniques. However, working with a dermatologist throughout all stages of the healing can help minimize the scar's appearance.

What kinds of techniques can you expect a dermatologist to recommend when you visit for scar treatment?

Laser therapy has become the most popular method as it is able to minimize the scar appearance with virtually no pain or sensitivity. Many dermatologists offer this service right in their own offices. With as few as three treatments, many patients see a significant reduction in the appearance of scars.

Collagen injections are another method that may be used to improve the appearance of scars. This method is generally used on scars that are indented, or which cause an area of skin to lie below the rest. The downside to collagen injections is that while they can plump up the skin to get rid of the sunken area, they are not permanent. Collagen injections are usually given every three to six months, otherwise the scar will revert to its normal state.

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