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Everything you ever wanted to know about laser scar removal, but were afraid to ask

Susan’s Scar Situation:

I read a few of your very helpful tips on aol.com and I have a question. I have a scar on my thigh. I fell while rollerblading 6 years ago. I tried using bleach creams to make the scar less visible but it doesn’t work. It looks like I have 5 dark scratches. My question is if a laser will help remove the scar?

Please let me know if you can because I’m thinking about having this done in January by a dermatologist. I think my skin should not be tan right?

The Right Brain’s Reply

Hi Susan. Unfortunately, as you already found out, bleaching creams don’t work on scar tissue. You should get better results from a laser treatment, but to help you understand why we need to explain a little bit about scars.

According to the American Academy of Dermatologists there are two basic classes of scars: Atrophic scars (which are depressions in the skin, typically caused by an abrasion) and Keloid scars/hypertrophic scars (which are raised areas of hardened skin resulting from an overgrowth of tissue at the site of an injury).

Both types can be successfully treated with either CO2 or erbium:YAG lasers. These are just fancy technical terms to describe the different wavelengths of light the the devices use. Both lasers can smooth out scarred skin by vaporizing the uneven surface of the scar.

How well do they work? It depends; for younger skin the scar may be removed after a single treatment. Older skin may require additional treatments, not only on the scar itself but also on the surrounding skin to make it blend in better. Lasers can be combined with other treatments, such as dermabrasion, to give even better results.

If you’re hungry for more info about acne scars, pulsed dye lasers, and our personal favorite the Switched Q Laser, go read this from the AAD on scars.

Ok, now that you have the background you should talk to a dermatologist. He or she can certainly advise you if laser therapy is suitable for your type of scar. Tanning probably won’t matter but again, ask your doctor before the procedure. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

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