Burn scars are a form of erythema that is long-lasting and may appear undesirable. No matter how you got the burn (though most people get them from cooking accidents or spilling boiling water), these scars can be a pain to live with. Who wants a nasty-looking scar on their skin?
Do these burn scars go away? The answer to this depends on the severity of the burn, but some treatments are available to help eliminate the appearance of burn scars.
In the course of this article, we will be discussing the various types of burns and burn scars and the available treatment options for them.
Types of Burn and Burn Scars
Depending on their severity, burns can be categorized into three groups. First-degree burns are the least harmful and only injure the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin. Sunburn is an example of a burn of the first degree. The symptoms include discomfort and considerable edema. The depth and severity of a second-degree burn are greater. It is distinguished by blistering and frequently significant edema (swelling). A third-degree burn is extremely serious since it completely destroys the skin’s thickness as well as deeper structures like muscles. In severe burns, the nerve endings are damaged, which makes the lesion shockingly painless in the worst-affected places.
In addition to different types of burns, there are also different types of burn scars. The following is a list of the common burn scar types and their appearance:
1. First-degree burn scar:
The appearance of a first-degree burn scar includes red marks on the skin and swelling. The pain is relatively mild. Examples of first-degree burn scar include sunburn scar, ice burn scar, and minor scalding.
2. Second-degree burn scar:
In second-degree burns, the epidermis and part of the dermis are damaged. Painful blistering occurs because fluid-filled blisters are caused by capillaries rupturing in the dermis as a result of damage from heat or chemicals. Examples of second-degree burns include water burn scars, oil burn scar, and rope burn scar.
3. 3rd degree burn scar:
When the full thickness of the skin is burned, nerve endings are destroyed, and the area feels numb rather than painful. However, you can feel severe pain when other structures near the skin surface are damaged, such as muscles or tendons. Examples of third-degree burns include fires that burn all the way through the skin and chemical burns.
4. Hypertropic burn scar:
When the skin damage caused by a third or fourth-degree burn covers most of the body, it forms a hypertrophic scar. The term hypertrophic means that the scars made on such areas are wider and more noticeable because of their irregular shape. This is why these types of scars are also called chickenpox scars.
5. Oven burn scar
This happens when you have been cooking and your arm accidentally slides against the hot oven racks. This causes a severe burn on the arm but only a first-degree burn on the fingers. Therefore, this type of scar is called an oven burn scar.
6. Keloid scar
Keloid scars occur when a person’s body produces excess collagen during an injury or illness. These scars are characterized by overgrowth of collagen in areas of injury or pressure. They grow in thickness and form scar tissue around the wound. These scars are often raised above the surrounding skin, giving them a lumpy appearance. They usually appear after several weeks after the injury.
Other types of burns can leave burn marks on the skin either temporarily or permanently; examples are chemical burn scar, hot oil burn scar, iron burn scar, etc.
The severity of a burn also plays a role in determining how the scar looks. However, the care you give yourself during the healing process will play a big role in how it looks.
How Burn Scars Form
When the skin is burnt, the cells start to die and release molecules into the surrounding area. This leads to swelling, as well as the formation of a blister that is filled with fluid. The inflammation that results in the burn also causes pain and blisters.
One of the greatest factors contributing to burnt skin scar is how badly the skin is burned. The severity of the injury determines how effective your treatment options are at getting rid of the appearance of a burn scar. Most burn scars form gradually over time, with new ones appearing in response to new injuries or infections.
Effective ways to get rid of burn scars
The appearance of burn scars can be reduced in various ways. Here are some of the most effective ways:
1. Silver Nitrate
Silver nitrate is one of the most effective treatments available today for burn scars. Silver nitrate stops the skin from producing excess melanin, which is the pigmentation that leads to skin discoloration. Silver nitrate can be used topically on the skin’s surface or in gel form but can be dangerous if ingested.
2. Laser treatment for burn scars:
Laser therapy is a popular method of treating burn scars. Laser therapy uses high doses of laser light to burn away scar tissue, resulting in minimal recovery time. The laser is used to heal the scar tissue and stimulate new tissue growth, resulting in a more natural appearance. Laser treatment works especially well for hypertrophic scars that look like chickenpox scars. Treating burn scars on the arm, hands, and feet can include excision and laser therapy.
The best way to get rid of scarring from burns is with laser surgery, which can help to change the way a scar looks and treats the skin
3. Scar removal surgery:
If you have hypertrophic or boxcar burns, surgical procedures may be appropriate for removing them completely.
Treatment for burn marks on face depends on the age of the scar, size, area of the scar, and how deep it is. Surgery is an option to improve the appearance of a burn scar by removing it and creating an effective layer of skin. It can also be used to update outdated or damaged skin before a cosmetic procedure or rejuvenation. Treatment for burn scars on the face can include a combination of excision, grafting, and laser therapy to treat the scar.
4. Fractional Radio Frequency:
Radiofrequency treatments use low-frequency electromagnetic waves to deeply penetrate the skin, heating tissue to temperatures of up to 100 degrees Celsius. The result is the elimination of scar tissues and a regeneration of healthy new tissue with improved elasticity and reduced collagen.
5. Electrosurgery and Steroid injections
This type of treatment involves the surgical removal of burn scars using low-level electric currents and steroid injections. This helps to restore the skin’s elasticity and texture.
6. Corticosteroid injection:
This is the process of injecting corticosteroids into burn scars to remove them. Corticosteroids help to ease pain and swelling. This injection process can be repeated every 3 to 6 months.
7. Fractional Laser resurfacing:
In fractional laser resurfacing, a laser is used to resurface the skin. These lasers are made up of cool pulsating light that strips away damaged skin cells, burning away old scar tissue and, in some cases, stimulating the growth of new tissue.
8. Selective wavelength technology:
A laser with a specific wavelength range of light can be used to selectively erase unwanted tissue. This technology is also used in ophthalmology to heat up a person’s cornea, which improves sight.
9. Dermal fillers:
These fillers are used to fill out sunken areas and plump up the skin. The length of time fillers remain effective depends on the type of filler.
10. Skin pen micro needling:
Pen-shaped needles are used to penetrate the outermost layers of the skin. Microneedling is similar to fractional radio frequency but with a much finer tip and milder impact, causing minimal tissue damage.
Burn Scar Contracture
Burn scars contracture is a condition in which scar tissue bands up after injury, creating a lumpy appearance. The visible lumpiness is caused by the contraction of scar tissue, which puts tension on the skin. First-degree burn scars are more likely to contract and form contractures than second-degree burn scars.
The most common cause of burn scars contracting is friction between clothing and the skin. Clothing that rubs up against the scarred area can put tension on it, tightening it and eventually causing it to become hard and painful.
Looking at your injury daily can make it hard to forget what happened. Whether you got burned accidentally or not, scar removal treatments can be employed to help deal with the scars and ensure they do not serve as a constant reminder of the incident. With the help of a range of treatment options available at the Keloid Scar Clinic, you can get rid of your scars and bring your skin back to life.
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