Scarred No More: Finding the Perfect Scar Treatment for You


Text by Marj Casal

We have long believed that scars last forever, but science has now made it possible for us to literally erase the mistakes we’ve made from our skin. There are several procedures to remove scars, so we’ve complied a list of available treatments for almost every kind of blemish to help you decide how to make the scars of your past fade away.

When I was 14, I had a terrible bike accident. My cousin and I were biking down a steep highway when I lost control of the handlebar and plunged face first toward the ground.

That accident left me not only with a horrible memory of what I would probably consider a near-death experience but as well as scars on different parts of my body — on the back of my hand, my elbow, and on my chin, where I had to get stitches.

It is true what they say that behind every person’s scar is a story. But we wouldn’t want our scars to be our staple conversation starter (especially with that cute stranger), right?

Good thing we don’t have to live with scars forever – there are about as many choices in procedures as there are different kinds of scars.

Contracture scars, which usually run deep, usually occur from burns and may cause the skin to tighten. In some cases, contracture scars can limit normal mobility.

Atrophic scars, on the other hand, are scars that form a depression or sunken area because of damage to the collagen, fat or other tissues below the skin. These scars are caused by acne, chickenpox, surgery and accidents.

Another type of scar is familiar to most of us – keloid scars. These are raised and fleshy scars that protrude beyond the site of injury to the skin. These occur when too many cells grow at the site of a skin injury. The resulting tissue covers the wound and some part of surrounding skin. These red-purple scars do not usually go away through time.

Lastly, there are hypertrophic scars. Like keloid scars, these are raised red scars as well, but they do not usually expand beyond the wound. They are most common after burn injuries, but they can be caused by any type of wound. Younger people, especially those with darker skin, are more prone to to hypertrophic scars. Good news is, they can fade, at least partially, without any treatment.

The most commonly treated scars according to Dermatologist Dr. Michelle Slatensek are athrophic, keloid and hypertrophic scars.

Steroid Injections

  • How it works: Long-term course of steroid injections into a scar may soften scar tissue to flatten it and reduce itching.
  • Best For: Keloid and hypertrophic scars
  • See results after: 3-6 sessions
  • Price: P500-3,000 per session, depending on size of the scar

Chemical peel (using TCA, glycolic, AHA, salicylic acid, etc.)

  • How it works: This is often used to minimize sun-damaged skin, irregular pigment, and superficial scars. The top layer of skin is removed with a chemical application to the skin. By removing the top layer, the skin regenerates, often improving the skin’s appearance.
  • Best For: Atrophic scars
  • See results after: 5-8 sessions
  • Price: P1,000-4,000, depending on type of peel used

Surgery

  • How it works: Although it will not remove a scar, surgery can be used to alter a scar’s shape or make it less noticeable. Surgery is not recommended in cases of hypertrophic or keloid scarring (raised scars) because there is a risk of recurring scars as well as more severe scarring that results from the treatment.
  • Best For: Atrophic and contracture scars
  • See results after: 1-2 sessions
  • Price: Starts at P5,000

Laser surgery

  • How it works: Scars may be treated with a variety of different lasers, depending on the underlying cause of the scar. Lasers may be used to smooth a scar, remove the abnormal color of a scar, or flatten a scar. Most laser therapy for scars is done in conjunction with other treatments, including injections of steroids, use of special dressings, and the use of bandages. Multiple treatments may be required, regardless of the initial type of therapy.
  • Best For: Hypertrophic and keloid scars
  • See results after: 5-10 sessions
  • Price: Starts at P5,000

Radiotherapy

  • How it works: Low-dose, superficial radiotherapy is used to prevent recurrence of severe keloid and hypertrophic scarring. This treatment is used only in extreme cases because of potential long-term side effects.
  • Best For: Keloid and hypertrophic scars
  • See results after: Depends on the supervising physician
  • Price: Available only in hospitals, price varies among facilities

Dermabrasion

  • How it works: This treatment involves the removal of the upper surface of the skin so that new, smoother skin can grow back with use special equipment. Dermabrasion is useful when the scar is raised above the surrounding skin; but it is less useful for the treatment of sunken scars.
  • Best For: Atrophic scars
  • See results after: 1-3 sessions
  • Price: Starts at P3,000

Microdermabrasion (like diamond peels)

  • How it works: This is a much less invasive form of dermabrasion but is minimally useful for very superficial scars.
  • Best For: Atrophic scars
  • See results after: Unlimited
  • Price: P500-P1,000 per session

Laser resurfacing

  • How it works: This procedure removes the surface layers of the skin using different types of lasers. This method has been used for years to treat different skin issues, including wrinkles, scars, warts, enlarged oil glands on the nose, and other conditions.
  • Best For: Atrophic scars
  • See results after: 3-10 sessions
  • Price: P5,000-15,000 depending on the size of the scar

PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injections

  • How it works: Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is a new generation approach to the treatment of acne marks and scars. PRP therapy utilizes the body’s blood platelets to heal or treat common occurring conditions and injuries that affect the soft tissues. PRP helps to regenerate and rejuvenate the tissues and stimulates wound healing.
  • Best For: Atrophic scars
  • See results after: 4-8 sessions
  • Price: P7,000 per session

Stem Cell Therapy

  • How it works: This is the latest procedure for removing unpleasant scars, and  has already been performed in some centers worldwide. Autologous stem cells taken from liposuctioned fat are injected into the wound area. The end effect is a barely visible scar. Whether this effect is due to the stem cells or the cellular hormones (cytokines) produced by them, remains undecided.
  • Best For: Keloid, hypertrophic, and contracture scars
  • See results after: 3-6 sessions
  • Price: Starts at P50,000

With proper  care, we can share our clumsy childhood stories at our leisure, instead of our scars announcing them to the world.

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