How to get rid of scar tissue - tips and treatments explained
For many people, scars are just a part of life – whether they're the result of a surgical procedure, skin condition or accident. But if you want to remove your scar tissue, you’re not alone.
The global scar treatment market is currently valued at US$21.5 billion, and set to exceed US$44 billion by 2028, proving getting rid of unwanted scar tissue is a popular choice.
But what are the available treatments and are they right for you?
What is scar tissue?
Scar tissue is made up of cells and collagen that replace the healthy tissues when a part of your body is cut, injured, or damaged. It usually forms on the skin but can also occur internally, on your muscles and organs, due to surgery or illness. It can appear in several different ways, depending on the injury and the area affected. Common types include:
- Keloid scars – raised scars that are red in colour and expand beyond the original injury. They can be itchy, painful, and restrictive.
- Hypertrophic scars – look like keloid scars but only appear in the boundary of the injury.
- Fine-line scars – appear as a thin raised line after a minor cut or wound.
- Contracture scars – happen when the skin shrinks and tightens, most commonly from burns.
- Acne scars – usually look sunken on the skin as a form of pitted or atrophic scar, as you get from chicken pox.
How to get rid of scar tissue?
Most scars gradually flatten and fade over time. But if your scars are causing discomfort or affecting your confidence, there are several treatments that can help.
While complete scar tissue removal may not be possible, these may be able to help you get rid of excess scar tissue and improve some side-effects.
- Laser therapy – ablative lasers gently remove the top outer layer of the epidermis and target underlying skin using an intense laser. Non-ablative lasers, on the other hand, heat the underlying tissue to encourage collagen regeneration.
- Cryotherapy – freezes and flattens your keloid scars with liquid nitrogen. The earlier you have cryotherapy, the better the results tend to be.
- Dermal fillers – can be used on pitted acne scars to plump up the sunken areas.
- Microneedling – can also be an effective treatment for acne scars. This simple treatment can be carried out with derma-rollers or using mechanical or motorised microneedles, such as a DermaPen. Another popular form of this procedure is RF Microneedling, which uses motorised needles enhanced with radio-frequency energy to penetrate and rejuvenate skin.
Scar revision surgery
This is a more invasive procedure that not only makes your scars less visible, but also loosens the surrounding tissue to improve joint movement.
Before the treatment
The first step towards scar tissue removal is to find a qualified and experienced clinician. Use our local listings to find scar specialists near you.
Discuss any expectations, costs, or concerns at your consultation.
During the treatment
Scar removal or scar revision surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic to numb the scar tissue and surrounding area. The doctor then makes several cuts across the site to form a V-shape that redistributes the scar tissue for a less visible appearance.
Depending on the severity of the scarring, some surgeons may also opt to take a skin graft from an unaffected part of the body to completely cover the damaged tissue.
Once your wound is stitched and dressed, you’ll be discharged from the clinic and can make your way home. You may need to return to have your stitches removed.
The scar area might feel sore and uncomfortable following your surgery, so some pain medication is usually prescribed before you leave. Other potential side-effects can include:
Temporary changes to skin sensation.
Don’t worry if your results take a while to take shape – most scar removal treatments need 12 to 24 months to completely heal and achieve the end goal.
What is the best way to get rid of scar tissue? Plus, other things you need to know
Now we know the ins and outs of scar tissue removal, it’s time to explore the practical side of scar prevention and minimisation.
What is the best way to get rid of scar tissue?
It’s all down to your personal circumstances – from the type of scar you have to your concerns and end goals.
If you have larger keloid scars, you may prefer cryotherapy to flatten the tissue. Those with limited joint movement caused by their scars might find scar reduction surgery is the best option.
Likewise, laser therapy is a great way to reduce redness for a less visible scar. But, if you want an easier everyday solution, you can look into more temporary treatments, such as skin camouflage makeup.
How much does scar tissue removal cost?
In Saudi Arabia, the average cost for a cryotherapy session is SR370 and scar removal surgery prices start at SR1,000.
If you’re looking for ways to make your scars a little less visible without surgery, there are several alternative options, such as:
- Skin camouflage – blends into your natural skin tone to temporarily cover your scars. It usually lasts between two and three days.
- Steroids – are sometimes prescribed to help flatten keloid and hypertrophic scars. You’ll usually have three sessions over a 12 to 18-week period to see results.
- Topical treatments – such as silicone gels and vitamin E creams. These can be applied to healed scars to soften the area and ease any itchiness.
Results from each treatment may vary from scar to scar, so make sure you consult your doctor for the best personal advice.
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