Scar removal is a commonly requested skin treatment in Singapore.
Scars in your skin can be due to any form of injury.
Your desire to minimise the appearance of scars is not unfounded. There are many patients who have minimised the appearance of their scars to a satisfactory level.
What causes scars?
Scars are due to irreversible injury to your skin.
There are many possible types of injury to your skin.
For example, physical injuries like falling down, traffic accidents or even objects like knives.
Scars can also form in your skin due to surgery. Common surgical scars include caesarean section (C-section), appendicitis surgery and fracture surgery. Cosmetic surgery like nose jobs can potentially leave some scars as well. In fact, all incisions to your skin can potentially leave scars.
Medical conditions that disrupt your skin can also result in scars. For example, pimples and chicken pox can leave scars. Eczema and psoriasis can also leave scars.
In terms of having smoother skin, it is important to minimise the appearance of scars. This gives a visual effect of skin that has less blemishes.
What treatments are available for treating scars?
Scar removal treatments are classified into skin resurfacing treatments or pigmentation removing treatments or volumizing/ “reduction” treatments.
The appropriate treatment/s will depend on the type of scar, severity of scar and cause of scar.
- Skin Resurfacing treatments are treatments aimed at smoothening out your skin texture. Common resurfacing treatments include fractional CO2 lasers, fractional radiofrequency and chemical peels.
- Pigmentation removing treatments help with colored scars in your skin. Scars are commonly brown or red colored. Brown scars are called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. They can be treated with Pico Lasers and pigmentation lightening creams like Cysteamine (Cyspera). Red scars are called post-inflammatory erythema. They are treated with vascular lasers.
- Volumising or Reduction treatments target the 3D aspect of your scar. Scars can be atrophic (which means indented/depressed) or hypertrophic (elevated or lumpy). Atrophic scars can be volumised with dermal fillers. If there are fibrous bands holding the scars down, subcision is required to break down the scar tissue in your skin before volumising with dermal fillers. If the scar is a hypertrophic scar or keloid scar, steroid injections are used to reduce the size of the scar so that the keloid scar is flatter compared to your skin.
Can scars be 100% removed?
No. Scars on your skin cannot be 100% removed.
Scars can be lightened or faded to a large extent, even up to 90% with sufficient types of treatment and sufficient number of sessions. However, it cannot be 100% removed from your skin. This is why scar prevention is an important step.
Individual results and recovery will vary.
Are scar treatments permanent?
With the appropriate treatments, the improvements that you see from scar treatments are long-lasting.
However, do note that the appearance of your scar might still worsen over time due to your skin’s aging process of collagen loss. This skin aging process is inevitable and unavoidable. The timeline is over decades. Your scars which have undergone treatment are unlikely to “100% revert back” to its pre-treated or original state.
The extent of “regression” of your skin after your scar treatments is dependent on both modifiable and non-modifiable factors. Modifiable factors include skin care, sun exposure, lifestyle and diet habits, persistence of triggers. Non-modifiable factors include genetics, healing process and aging process.
Your results and recovery will vary compared to others.
How much does it cost for scar treatment?
A scar removal treatment usually costs at least $350-$1000/ session, depending on the type of treatment.
Do note that more than 1 type of technology might be needed and multiple treatment sessions are required.
If your scar has several components, you might need a few types of treatment in each session to achieve the desired result. The cost per session would be double or triple if 2 or 3 types of treatments are undertaken.
Multiple sessions are required to lighten scars – typically at least 3-5 sessions. Some patients require more than 10 sessions if their scars are severe or they have very high expectations of their desired results.
An average total price/cost for a series of treatments will cost at least $3500 onwards in Singapore. The assumption is 2 types of treatments per session ($700) multiplied by 5 sessions ($700 x 5= $3500).
Disclaimer: This is a price estimate. The aforementioned estimate of fees is based on an average patient with mild-moderate skin scarring. This does not constitute a contractual agreement of treatment fees. Terms and conditions apply. All treatments have to begin with a mandatory face-to-face medical consultation with our doctors (consult fee chargeable – $74.90 with GST) followed by financial counselling to explain the fees to you before we proceed with treatment. For patients with more severe scarring, larger areas of skin scarring and older scars, the total price will be higher.
How many sessions does it take to remove a scar?
Multiple sessions are required to lighten scars. We advocate at least 3-5 sessions. This is based on multiple research studies that show results after multiple treatment sessions.
Some patients may require more than 10 sessions if their scars are severe, poor recovery or they have very high expectations of their desired results.
Do note that individual protocols, results and recovery will vary.
Is scar removal treatment painful?
Most patients are able to tolerate scar removal quite well. Prior to laser or subcision, a layer of strong numbing cream will be applied on the patient’s skin for several minutes. This helps to reduce discomfort by numbing your skin. During the process, you might feel mild prickly sensations.
How long will it take to recover from scar removal treatment?
Typical recovery time from scar treatment can take from 2 days of social downtime to 2 weeks for complete recovery. On average, most patients take 2-3 days to recover.
The duration of recovery is dependent on several factors: type of scar removal treatment, intensity of treatment settings, your skin’s innate healing ability and quality of post-treatment skin care amongst other factors.
Individual recovery times will vary. If you are keen for treatment, please ensure that you do not have any important meetings or social events within 5 days of the treatment.
How do you get rid of rolling scars?
Rolling scars are one of the most common types of skin scars. Rolling scars are depressions in your skin that have a gentle gradient.
Common technologies for rolling scars removal are fractional lasers like fractional CO2 laser and fractional radiofrequency. These treatments help to stimulate collagen production in your skin so that the scars become shallower.
If your rolling scars are deep and tethered down, you will need more than a CO2 laser. You might need subcision and dermal fillers to adequately address the issue.
Multiple sessions are required to break down the scar tissue and remodel your skin so that your scars look less obvious.
How do I find a suitable doctor for my scar treatment?
I write this from my point of view as a patient who had lasers for my skin before.
- Broad range of lasers and treatments
Pick a doctor who offers a wide range of laser technologies for scar removal. This is because scar treatments are heavily dependent on technology. In order to get a good result, you need to have the relevant technologies to deliver the result.
Choose a doctor who focuses on treating scars. Expertise and passion in the field are key determinants of success.
- Reasonable budget
Consult the doctor to see if the proposed treatment plan, expected results and cost of treatment are within your means and expectations.
It’s not the point to pick the cheapest acne scar treatment in Singapore. Instead, your focus should be on getting good value from your investment in your skin.
You should be able to trust that your doctor is giving you the best medical care available. If you are unable to trust the doctor, it is better not to proceed with treatment after your initial consultation.
This is because all medical treatments have potential for side-effects and complications. You need to trust that the doctor is able to fix the complications that might arise.
Keen to find out more about treatments? Speak to an expert now.