Understanding Scars & How They Can Be Treated

February 05, 2024

Explore the world of scars and advanced treatments at Cienna Aesthetics Medical Clinic. From atrophic to contracture scars, uncover solutions like Pico laser and microneedling. Understand the stories scars tell, empowering yourself with knowledge for informed choices and embracing a compassionate approach to redefine your path to self-confidence and well-being with Cienna Aesthetics and Dr. Choong's skilled team.

Understanding Scars & How They Can Be Treated

While we’ve all dealt with scars throughout our lives – whether from an accident, surgery or even acne, they can often create anxiety and distress. The physical reminder of a past injury or trauma can influence how people perceive themselves, how others perceive them, and affect their self-confidence and body image. With society’s emphasis on flawless skin, these feelings can be further amplified, exacerbating the emotional toll that scars can take on one's mental well-being.

However, given the current technology, there are various options such as lasers, microneedling, collagen stimulators and more for treating scars, minimising their appearance so that they no longer have to be a source of emotional pain.

In order to understand how to treat them, it is important to first important to know about the different types of scars.

There are generally four main types of scars:

  • Atrophic
  • Keloid
  • Hypertrophic
  • Contracture scars
  • Stretch marks


Atrophic Scars

Image by Freepik

Typically, small and sunken, atrophic scars are a result of a loss of tissue which creates depressions or indentations on the skin’s surface. Atrophic scars are often caused by conditions like inflammatory acne which damages collagen beneath the skin's surface, leading to a loss of tissue. There are several subtypes of atrophic acne scars, including icepick scars, boxcar scars, and rolling scars, each presenting unique characteristics.


Keloid Scars

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Keloid scars are a distinctive type of raised scar that extends beyond the boundaries of the original wound or injury. They can grow larger than the initial trauma site, creating thick, raised, and often irregularly shaped formations on the skin. These scars develop when the body produces an excess amount of collagen during the healing process, leading to the overgrowth of scar tissue. Keloids can arise from various sources, including surgical incisions, traumatic injuries, burns, acne lesions, or even minor skin injuries. They tend to be more common in individuals with a genetic predisposition to keloid formation. Unlike other types of scars, keloids can continue to grow over time and may cause discomfort, itching, or pain.


Hypertrophic Scars

Hypertrophic scars, distinguishable by their raised and red appearance, are a type of scar that forms at the site of a wound or injury. Unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars remain confined to the area of the initial trauma and often appear thick and raised above the surrounding skin. They develop due to the overproduction of collagen during the healing process, leading to an excess of scar tissue. Hypertrophic scars are usually caused by surgical incisions, traumatic injuries, burns, and even severe acne lesions. While they are typically not as extensive as keloids, hypertrophic scars can still cause discomfort and may be accompanied by itching or tenderness. The red colouration of these scars is often due to increased blood flow to the affected area during the early stages of healing.


Contracture Scars

Contracture scars are a unique type of scar that develops usually when the skin is damaged by burns. These scars are characterised by the tightening and constriction of the skin, often leading to a significant reduction in mobility. Unlike other scars that may primarily affect the skin's surface, contracture scars extend deeper, impacting the underlying tissues.

Burns, especially those of a severe nature, can cause the skin to tighten during the healing process, resulting in contracture scars. These scars can be particularly challenging as they not only alter the skin's appearance but may also limit joint movement and functionality. Contracture scars can form on any part of the body affected by burns, and their severity depends on factors such as the extent of the burn injury and the specific location on the body.

The consequences of contracture scars extend beyond physical discomfort. Individuals with contracture scars may experience challenges in performing daily activities, and the visible alterations in skin appearance can impact self-esteem and body image.


Stretch Marks

Image by on Freepik


Stretch marks, scientifically known as striae, are a common and natural occurrence on the skin that often signify periods of growth, weight gain, or hormonal changes. These thin lines or streaks appear on the skin when it is stretched beyond its normal limits, causing the elastic fibres beneath the surface to break. While they are harmless, the appearance of stretch marks can prompt various emotional responses.

Pregnancy, rapid weight gain or loss, puberty, and muscle-building exercises are common factors contributing to the development of stretch marks. Initially, these marks often appear as red or purple lines, indicative of recent stretching, and gradually fade over time to a lighter, silvery colour. The abdomen, thighs, hips, buttocks, and breasts are common areas where stretch marks may manifest.


Treating Scars

However, not to fret – with advancements in technology, there is an array of treatment options available to improve the appearance of different types of scars, giving individuals back their self-confidence and improving overall well-being.

Among these innovative options, the Pico laser, fractional ablative laser, microneedling with radiofrequency, and injectable substances such as collagen stimulators have gained prominence.


Pico Laser

The Pico laser, short for picosecond laser, is a laser technology designed to deliver ultra-short pulses of laser energy in the picosecond range (trillionths of a second) which allows for precise and efficient treatment of various scar types including atrophic scars from acne and trauma. The Pico laser can break down scar tissue and stimulating the production of collagen by using ultra-short pulses to create shockwaves within the skin.


This process is more efficient and less damaging to surrounding tissues compared to traditional ablative lasers. Pico lasers are also particularly effective at targeting pigmentation irregularities in the skin. When directed at the skin, the laser energy is absorbed by melanin, the pigment responsible for skin and hair colour. This makes Pico lasers especially useful for addressing hyperpigmentation, sunspots, and scars with pigmented elements.