Laser Treatment for Scars
At Physicians Laser and Dermatology Institute, we have many patients who come to our office for laser treatment of their scars. Every scar comes with its own story; they can be traumatic, surgical or even due to acne. But all scars are due to the same cause—damage to the skin’s underlying collagen which results in permanent damage and scar tissue. Although a laser can seem like a magic wand that can make a scar disappear, that is not the case. Nothing can replace scar tissue with normal tissue. However, the doctors at PLDI use a multitude of laser systems to improve the way a scar looks and feels. Below are a few important facts to know before pursuing laser treatments for scar reduction.
Laser treatment can improve the color and texture of a scar: Unfortunately, nothing exists today that can totally remove a scar. But thanks to recent developments in science and dermatology, there exists different laser systems that can improve scar tissue. We have lasers that can treat the discoloration of a scar. Red and brown scars respond more readily to laser treatment. White scars can be very difficult to improve, but we have seen some success cases in improving the scar color. Additionally, our lasers can improve the feel and texture of a scar by heating the skin’s underlying collagen, which allows the body to slowly repair the abnormal scar collagen. These treatments can make a scar less noticeable and also can decrease the pain or itchiness that occasionally occurs with scars.
Laser treatment of scars require an expert: Lasers are a powerful and potentially dangerous technology. Dermatologists are at the forefront of research and treating scars. The providers at PLDI have been using and researching lasers for scar therapy for decades. In their hands, the lasers are being used with the proper parameters to get results, while maintaining the safety of the skin.
The treatment of scars is a journey: If a doctor states they can remove a scar with one treatment, run away! Scars are permanent, but with a series of laser treatments, their appearance can usually be improved. It is important to view your laser scar treatments as a process and journey that you will be undertaking with your doctor. Scars almost always require a series of treatments with 1-2 months in between treatments. This time is needed to allow the body to repair and develop new collagen within the scar area. Therefore, it is important to find a doctor whom you trust.
Many scars require multiple different lasers: There can be different components to a scar that causes a patient to seek treatment. A scar can be discolored, firm, rough, elevated, depressed, painful, itchy, etc. Rare is the scar that can be improved with only one laser. One of the main advantages of going to an institute like PLDI that specializes in lasers is that we have over 20 lasers! This allows our providers to choose the right laser systems for your skin and your scars.
Sun protection is crucial: Using a laser on skin that has been tanned from the sun can increase the risks of potential damage. Not only can a tan “block” the laser light from reaching the intended target in the skin’s dermis, but if the tanned skin absorbs the laser energy, it can result in damage to the skin’s overlying epidermis. Additionally, the sun’s rays can damage the scar tissue and decrease the results of the laser treatments. Therefore, it is important to wear sunscreen or cover the scar daily.