Most people will incur an unsightly physical scar at some point in their lives. It may be related to a skin condition, injury, surgery, burn or cut. Scars can be small and barely noticeable or they can be large, and aesthetically unpleasant or disfiguring. For many patients, scars can be emotionally upsetting or may also result in loss of self-esteem.
Scars occur after an injury and essentially occur as part of the healing process. The size and appearance of the scar will depend on the size of the wound and its location. Patient factors, such as age, genetics and ethnicity can also impact the scar’s appearance and healing. Scars affect people of all ages and never completely go away. However, they can be treated to diminish their size and appearance. All scars are unique and selecting an appropriate scar therapy and treatment options are based upon the patients goals.
- Acne scars: Acne scars can have a severe impact on patients, depending on the severity of the scar. Acne scars can be deep pits within the skin or skin discoloration and unevenness. Although prevalent in teenagers and young adults, adults can also experience acne as a result of hormonal imbalance, stress and side effects of medication.
- Keloid scars: Keloid scars occur as part of the healing process and normally are larger than the actual site of the injury. They can be heavy dense skin patches.
- Hypertrophic scars: Hypertrophic scars are red, raised scars that resemble keloids but do not get any larger than the boundary of the injury.
- Contracture scars: These scars commonly occur with burn injuries, and can cause the skin to feel tight and pulled and may impair a patient’s ability to move. These scars can also affect nerves and muscles, depending on how deep they are.
As an acupuncturist I may combine acupuncture, gua sha, cupping, and various transdermal preparations to treat scars to assist patients in achieving their goal. The number of treatments required to minimize scarring varies from patient to patient, however, the majority of patients experience tremendous improvements in their scars.