Making scars less visible and/or more comfortable
If you have a scar that you would like to be less visible, our Essex clinic provides non-surgical medical scar treatments. People seek help for scars if they are painful or itchy, if they are unsightly, if they restrict movement or the appearance causes disabling psychological distress.
Although scars cannot be removed completely, they can often be made less visible.
Possible non-surgical scar treatment options
Corticosteroid injections are used to treat some keloid and hypertrophic scars. Multiple small injections are made into the scar to reduce any swelling (inflammation) and to flatten the scar. Depending on the type of scar, these may need to be repeated. Injections are usually given on three occasions, at four- to six-week intervals, to assess your body’s response. Treatment may sometimes continue for several months if the scar is improving. This treatment cannot remove scars, but it can improve their appearance.
Silicone Gels or Sheets
Silicone gels or sheets are available and they are used on healing skin (not open wounds) to reduce redness and to try to minimise hypertrophic or keloid scars. To be effective, silicone gels or sheets should be placed over the scar for 12 hours a day, for at least three months.
The aim of pressure dressings is to flatten and soften scars. They are most often used for large burn scars or after skin grafts. Pressure dressings are usually made from a stretchy, elastic material. They are worn over the scar 24 hours a day, for around 6 to 12 months. They can also be used in combination with silicone gel sheeting, to improve the appearance of scars over a long period of time.
Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers are injections used to “plump up” pitted scars. Treatments can be costly and the results are usually temporary. Repeat treatments are needed to maintain the effect.
Skin Needling – Dermaroller or Dermastamp
Skin needling, which involves rolling a small device covered in hundreds of tiny needles across the skin, is also reported to be helpful, but repeat treatments are often needed to achieve an effect, and results vary considerably.
Scars and Skin Care
Although Vitamin E cream is sometimes recommended for the self-management of scars, there is no medical evidence to suggest that it has an effect.
However, the massaging of silicone gel into the scar will keep it from becoming dry and help make it supple. Scars are generally sensitive to the sun so a sunscreen of SPF 50 should be used to protect them.
Surgery referral for scar revision
Surgery can sometimes improve the appearance of scars, as it can be used to:
Change the positioning of the scar
Change the width or shape of the scar
Release a tight scar that is close to a joint, to improve movement
Having surgery on your scar will leave a new scar that will take up to two years to improve in appearance. If surgery is used to treat a hypertrophic scar, there is a risk that the scarring may be worse after the surgery.
Surgery alone is not advised for keloids, as they tend to grow back larger. Surgery for keloids is often combined with corticosteroid injections at the site of the removed scar immediately after surgery.
Your Scar Treatment Specialist: