If you’re considering getting laser scar removal, then you’re not alone. The statistics for scars are quite overwhelming, with hundreds of millions of people in the Western world have some form of scarring.
Writing about scar removal isn’t my usual topic, but this is something that’s quite close to my heart. Why? Well, I’ve actually been considering getting some form of scar removal myself. But it’s quite daunting, as the laser is much more powerful than that of a presentation clicker (read our guide for those here).
Unlike many, I wasn’t born with scars but unfortunately have dealt with them due to a bad tattoo. The artist went to deep into my skin, and now I have some unsightly scarring right in the center of my chest. I’ve since contacted the artist and he claims he didn’t do anything wrong and that it’s entirely my fault – but that’s another story entirely.
Anyway, this experience led me to search for whether laser scar removal was actually a viable option for me and for others. So if you’re considering getting this treatment, then sit back and I’ll talk you through it.
Does Laser Scar Removal Work?
In most cases, a laser should be used to remove skin blemishes and scars. When lasers are properly utilized in effective ways, they can reduce or eliminate the appearance of scarring from acne and other types of wounds. The results can vary depending on your skin type, age at treatment time, elevation of the scar area above the surface of the body (whether it is below or above the dermis), and also its location on the body.
Most people who undergo procedures for scar removal by laser therapy do not completely recover; however, it does dramatically reduce their appearances. If you have dark colored marks left behind from old acne wounds or surgery sites that are caused by past trauma , it may not be as effective.
Laser scar removal is exactly as it sounds – using lasers to help reduce the appearance of your scar. I say ‘reduce the appearance’ because laser scar removal does exactly that – reduces the appearance of any scars you may have. It does not get rid of the scars altogether, but it does help to make them drastically less apparent.
Essentially, laser skin removal works by taking off the top layer of skin that has experienced the scarring. It then moves to the middle layer of your skin and helps to smooth out the in between, making your skin appear tighter in the process.
How long does laser scar removal take?
Depending on the severity of your scars, it can vary in the amount of time that your laser scar removal may take. The likelihood is that you’ll have to have a minimum of one session that’s between one and two hours – this is the length of time that each session can take. If you have severe scarring, then you may need numerous sessions with a week in between each to give your skin the chance to heal.
What laser is used for laser scar removal?
Generally, you’ll find that two different types of lasers are used for this process. Most commonly, carbon dioxide lasers (CO2) are used to treat extensive scarring and deeper scars. Because of this, they can be particularly painful and you’ll likely have a small amount of lasting pain afterwards (like a bruise).
The other type of laser that’s commonly used to deal with laser scar removal is a YAG laser. This is generally used for lighter amounts of scarring. You’ve probably heard of YAG laser scar removal – it’s more commonly used for dealing with hair removal.
Does laser scar removal work?
If you’re asking whether laser scar removal gets rid of the scar completely, well then the answer is generally no. But if you’re asking whether laser scar removal can minimize your scars appearance so that it’s almost unnoticeable, then the answer is a resounding yes.
Other ways to get rid of scars
If you’re considering getting laser scar removal, then you should also research into other ways that you can get rid of any scars you have. Although laser scar removal is likely the most popular method currently, there are other ways that you can get rid of scars on your body. They include;
- Chemical Peels – Chemical peels are one way that you can help to smooth down a scar. Like laser scar removal, they don’t remove the scar completely but they do help to smooth down the appearance of the scar.
- Silicone gel – This is one of the methods that I use to help with my keloid scars. Although I’m not entirely sure how effective this treatment was for me, it’s usually relatively inexpensive so it can be worth trying.
- Surgical Scar Revision – This usually works better for smaller, easily hidden scars. Essentially, if you have a thick scar then the surgery procedure can split the scar and reattach it much closer together. This helps to reduce the thickness of the scar dramatically, but it’s not going to rid your of your scar completely.
- Dermabrasion – A method that’s commonly used for acne scars in younger kids, this method again helps to smooth down the skin drastically and reduce it’s appearance.
These are the main other ways in which you can deal with scarring, though there are other methods that are less popular. You’ll also find natural remedies like onion extract recommended for dealing with scars. Whilst onion extract is proven to work, there’s many remedies out there with no real evidence that they’ll work to treat your skin properly.
Natural Scar Remedies
Though the research on the effectiveness of these processes is nowhere near that of surgical treatment, there are other methods that may be worth trying. They’re largely inexpensive and unlikely to have any negative effects on your scar, so it could be worth considering these options.
- Aloe Vera – It seems that aloe vera has been recommended for clearing up almost everything nowadays! It’s extremely easy to apply and you can find it in a variety of different forms, so aloe vera is undoubtedly one of the better choice if you’re looking for a natural remedy. Simply apply it to the area that is affected daily and over time, you should begin to see your scar fade.
- Vitamin E – Vitamin E is another good choice for an inexpensive natural remedy that just might help to reduce the appearance of your scar. You’ll need to apply it for between 10 and 20 minutes for best results.
- Coconut Oil – Like aloe vera, coconut oil is apparently the new garcinia cambogia – it helps to heal everything! The majority of research that’s available on coconut oil is more related to ezcema, in which it’s definitely a good idea. But although using coconut oil on scars has a lack of research, there is undoubtedly some benefits – especially with stretch mark scarring.
Can I get rid of my scar completely?
I know how it feels to want to get rid of your scars entirely. But unfortunately scars are one of the hardest things to deal with cosmetically. As a general rule, the older the scar is the more difficult it is to help cover your scar up. Unfortunately, getting rid of your scar entirely is not an option – though you can help to heal your scar to the point where it’s barely noticeable.
Scars and Sunlight
Scars and sunlight just don’t mix together. This is especially true for younger scars, which you’ll find are extremely vulnerable to UV rays and sunlight. It’s one of the main causes of PIH – also known as Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. This can cause the area around the scar to darken as well as the scar itself, which makes it even more apparent.
How to avoid your scar getting worse with sunlight
Some people believe that getting a tan will actually help to reduce the appearance of their scar – this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you’ve recently been scarred, then the first year afterwards is when your scar is at it’s most vulnerable. You’ll want to use a high SPF sunscreen – 50+ is recommended – if your scar is going to be in direct sunlight. Otherwise, your scar is liable to worsen due to excessive pigmentation.
Eventually, your scar should begin to get better after dealing with this – though it can take years for this to get better.
Dealing with scarring is a sensitive subject – literally. If you have severe scarring, then laser scar removal is something that you may want to consider. Just keep in mind that it won’t fix the problem entirely and you may have to accept that you’ll always have some form of scar there – though things like laser scar removal can make things less noticeable to others.