woman looking in mirror

Whether from a small cut or a more serious injury, it’s likely that you have at least one scar, and you may have wondered if there is anything you can do to get rid of it.

“There are several scar treatments available that can effectively minimize your scar’s appearance,” says Mistica LaBrasca, PA-C, UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center. “Although it is important to realize that even the best results may not mean total disappearance.”

Scarring is the skin’s natural response to the healing process. The size, location, and severity of your scar will determine which techniques can be used to improve appearance and may also affect your results. Raised scars, called keloids, can be the result of acne, chickenpox, ear piercing, minor burns, cuts, or scratches, or vaccination sites. More severe burns can cause contracture scars, which can create tightened skin and impair movement.

Treatments to reduce the appearance of scars include:

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1. Chemical Peels

By removing outer layers of skin that may be damaged, chemical peels rejuvenate your skin and improve irregularities in color and texture. Pigment changes in the skin secondary to injury or acne are best addressed with this approach.

2. Revision surgery

Scar revision surgery uses advanced wound closure techniques to minimize the appearance of your scars for a more cosmetic result.

3. Laser procedures

Laser treatments, such as the CO2RE Fractional Laser, PearlTM Fractional, CoolBreeze®, and pulsed dye lasers, use pulses of light at varying intensities to diminish irregularities in your skin’s color and texture. Treatment sessions typically last less than an hour, but multiple sessions may be necessary for optimal results. During your treatment you may feel mild to moderate pinching as the laser pulses treat the scar site. In general, most treatments are tolerated very well with little to no discomfort.

Scar prevention is a newer option for postoperative patients. To get the best results, experts recommend that you begin laser treatments shortly after your stitches, sutures, or staples are removed. Similar to the results of scar treatments, scar prevention may not prevent a scar from forming and will not guarantee that you do not scar. However it will reduce the appearance of scars before they form.

If you’re concerned about the appearance of your scar, talk to your dermatologist or surgeon to find out which options may be right for you.

About Dermatology

The UPMC Department of Dermatology diagnoses, treats, and manages numerous hair, skin, and nail conditions and diseases. We care for common and uncommon conditions, and our treatments include both surgical and nonsurgical options. We operate several specialty centers for various conditions. The UPMC Cosmetic Surgery and Skin Health Center is a comprehensive dermatologic laser facility, offering a full range of cosmetic services and procedures. With UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we offer a Skin Cancer Program that provides complete care from screenings, diagnosis, treatment, and beyond. Find a dermatology provider near you.