What are scars?

Scars are fibrous tissue that replace normal skin after a wound. Scarring is a natural part of your body’s healing process. Virtually every wound results in some degree of scarring.

What causes scars?

Scars form when the deep, thick layer of your skin is injured. Protein-rich collagen fibers develop to repair the damage, leaving a scar. New scar tissue will have a different texture, and may feel smooth and rubbery to the touch.

How dermatologists diagnose scars

Your dermatologist will diagnose scars by conducting a physical examination of your skin. Common questions your dermatologist may ask include whether and how long ago you sustained an injury to the affected area.

How dermatologists treat scars

Although there is no way to completely remove a scar, the appearance of a scar can often be improved or minimized. Topical products that contain silicone may help reduce the size, thickness, discoloration and symptoms of a scar. Injections with corticosteroids may be used to treat raised scars. Surgery is an option for non-raised scars to make the scar less noticeable. Dermabrasion, microneedling (pricking the scar with small needles to encourage new skin tissue growth), and laser resurfacing are other treatments to help scars blend with surrounding skin tissue to improve appearance.

Your dermatologist can also recommend ways to reduce the appearance of scarring in future wounds. Keeping the injury clean and moist is an important first step. Petroleum jelly is effective in preventing the wound from drying out and will help the wound heal faster. Cover the wound with an adhesive bandage and change the bandage daily as the wound heals. When outdoors, applying sunscreen to scars can help prevent them from darkening deeper than surrounding skin, which makes scars more noticeable.

If you have a scar that you would like to discuss treatment options for, click here to schedule an appointment with our board-certified dermatologists or walk into Walk-in Dermatology at your convenience for your evaluation.