Facial Scars result from many causes. Some of the most common are: falls, scratches, burns, acne, auto accidents, surgery for skin cancers, dog bites and punches. Patients are often very self-conscious about the scars and wish to remove them for aesthetic and psychological reasons. Although scars can never be completely eliminated, a variety of methods is available to make them less apparent. The simplest is, of course, makeup. I have two master aestheticians that work here and help patients to apply camouflage makeup every day. The mineral makeup line we carry by Jane Iredale has proven to be so effective yet sensitive to the skin that most patients have adopted it for daily use.
In spite of the good camouflage that is available, most patients still demand that something more be done to reduce the visibility of the scars. Depending on the nature of the scarring I use Fraxel®, dermabrasion, scar revision (cutting out the scar and re-sewing it) and fillers to improve the scars. All of these procedures can be done under local anesthesia and require little or no time off work.
The Fraxel® laser is described in depth in another section on this web site.
Dermabrasion involves the use of a tiny grinding wheel to smoothen out uneven areas of scarring or wrinkling. It does leave behind an open wound that resembles the scrapes we all had on our hands, elbows or knees when we fell as children. The wound heals over three to five days and may be red for a couple of months afterwards. The redness is effectively covered with makeup. Once healed, the treated area is smoother than before.
Scar revision cuts out a scar and replaces it with another scar that is carefully aligned with the natural skin creases to make it less visible. If the scar caused a web, the raised skin is released and adjacent skin brought in to keep the web from re-forming. All skin edges are carefully aligned with tiny sutures to minimize the amount of scar tissue the body has to lay down to heal the wound.
In cases where scarring has resulted in a depression, the depressions can sometimes be improved by filling them with any of the fillers discussed at length in my section on fillers.