3 Dermatologist-Approved Strategies for Scar Management

by Ella

Minimizing the appearance and improving the texture of scars requires a multifaceted approach. Here, we delve into the various treatment options recommended by dermatologists.
Scars, whether from injuries, surgeries, or skin conditions, can be a source of self-consciousness and distress for many individuals. While complete scar removal is often not possible, dermatologists offer a range of effective treatments and strategies to minimize their appearance and improve their texture. The optimal approach depends on several factors, including the type, size, and location of the scar, as well as individual skin characteristics.


Scar Formation and Types

Scarring is a natural part of the body’s healing process. When the dermis, the deeper layer of skin, is damaged, the body produces collagen fibers to repair the wound. This repair process can result in a scar that differs in texture and appearance from the surrounding skin.


There are several types of scars, each with unique characteristics:


Keloid Scars: These raised, often itchy scars extend beyond the original wound boundaries and are caused by an overproduction of collagen. They are more common in individuals with darker skin tones.


Hypertrophic Scars: Similar to keloids, hypertrophic scars are raised and red but remain within the original wound area.

Atrophic Scars: These indented scars, often seen with acne or chickenpox, result from a loss of tissue.

Contracture Scars: These scars, common with burns, tighten the skin and can restrict movement.

Dermatologist-Recommended Treatment Options

1. Topical Treatments:

Silicone Gels and Sheets: Silicone has been shown to effectively flatten and soften scars, improve hydration, and reduce redness and itching. It is available in various forms, including gels, sheets, and creams, and is often recommended as a first-line treatment for hypertrophic and keloid scars.

Over-the-Counter Scar Creams: Many creams containing ingredients like onion extract, vitamin E, and retinol claim to improve scar appearance. While evidence for their effectiveness is limited, some individuals may find them helpful in conjunction with other treatments.

Sunscreen: Protecting scars from sun exposure is crucial, as UV rays can darken scars and make them more noticeable. Dermatologists recommend using broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on all scars, especially during the healing process.

2. In-Office Procedures:

Corticosteroid Injections: For keloid and hypertrophic scars, injecting corticosteroids directly into the scar tissue can help reduce inflammation, flatten the scar, and alleviate itching.

Laser Therapy: Various laser treatments can improve scar texture and appearance by stimulating collagen remodeling, reducing redness, and breaking down scar tissue. Different types of lasers target different aspects of scarring, and a dermatologist will recommend the most suitable option based on the individual scar characteristics.

Dermal Fillers: For atrophic scars, such as those caused by acne, injecting dermal fillers can help raise the indented areas and create a smoother skin surface.

Microneedling: This procedure involves using tiny needles to create controlled micro-injuries in the skin, stimulating collagen production and improving scar texture.

Chemical Peels: Superficial chemical peels can improve the appearance of surface scars by removing the top layer of skin and promoting cell turnover.

Dermabrasion: This technique involves using a rotating instrument to remove the top layers of skin, effectively smoothing out uneven scar tissue.

3. Surgical Revision:

In some cases, surgical scar revision may be recommended, particularly for large or deep scars, or those that restrict movement. This can involve various techniques, such as:
Scar Excision: The scar is surgically removed and the wound is closed with sutures, potentially resulting in a finer, less noticeable scar.
Z-Plasty: This technique reorients the scar to make it less noticeable and improve skin flexibility.
Skin Grafting: For extensive scarring, healthy skin may be grafted from another area of the body to cover the scarred area.

Additional Considerations for Scar Management

Early Intervention: Addressing scars early in the healing process often leads to better outcomes.

Patience and Consistency: Scarring improvement takes time and requires consistent treatment and care.

Combination Therapy: Often, a combination of treatment approaches yields the best results.

Lifestyle Factors: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise promotes overall skin health and can aid in scar healing.

Emotional Support: Scars can have a significant emotional impact, and seeking support from therapists or support groups can be beneficial.

See Also: Why Do Burn Scars Turn Dark?


Effectively managing scars requires a personalized approach tailored to the specific characteristics of the scar and individual needs. Dermatologists play a crucial role in assessing scars, recommending appropriate treatment options, and guiding patients through the scar management process. By exploring the various treatment modalities available and adopting a proactive approach, individuals can significantly improve the appearance and texture of scars, restoring their skin’s health and boosting their self-confidence.


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