Dr. Omar Ibrahimi on the best treatments for scarring

Scarring caused by surgery, trauma, burns, and acne cause distress to millions of people annually, resulting in physiological and psychological trauma for patients. Patients with scarring often feel left out and devalued by society, and feel shame, depression, anxiety, and aggression. One study showed the psychosocial impact of increased social phobia among acne, vitiligo, and psoriasis sufferers.

In 2018, the World Health Organization reported that burn injuries requiring medical attention affect 11 million people globally. In the U.S. 480,000 are affected annually, resulting in serious scarring in many of these victims. Studies show how the devastating long-term effects for many patients severely affect their quality of life.

Best scarring treatments

Dr. Omar Ibrahimi, the well-known dermatologist and researcher from the Connecticut Skin Institute understands the effects of scarring on people’s lives and offers his insights into the best treatments available. In a market that is expected to reach $35 billion globally by 2023, treating scarring is a major player in the field of dermatology, and Dr. Ibrahimi’s insights are valuable.

“We are seeing a lot of exciting progress in the field of scarring treatments. Of course, the most thrilling part is the process of skin engineering strategies, including various techniques of skin regeneration,” says Dr. Ibrahimi. He continues, “These promise a future of scar-free regeneration for wounds and other skin issues.”

Several scar removal treatments are available to us, but these are not all suited to all types of scars. According to Dr. Omar Ibrahimi, who also serves on the board of Directors for the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, a treatment plan depends on the location and type of scar. Sometimes, multiple treatments modalities are prescribed, helping to ensure better scar reduction.

Topical scar treatments

Topical treatments are often prescribed for treating lesser scarring caused by acne, burns, or small surgeries. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are used to remove dead skin because they are mild exfoliates and are great for removing rough skin and discoloration. Lactic acid peels, retinoids, and salicylic acid are also used to improve skin texture.

These treatments are best prescribed and used under the care of a dermatologist because they can cause dryness, irritations and make the skin sensitive. Additionally, Dr. Ibrahimi emphasizes the need to wear sunscreen daily because scars are sensitive to the sun, and topical treatments add to that sensitivity.

Injectable scar treatments

Corticosteroid injections are sometimes indicated to reduce scarring. These are usually injected directly into the scar and are recommended for raised hypertrophic or keloid scars, helping to reduce itching, flatten and soften them.


Dermabrasion is an effective treatment for milder and deeper scarring. This treatment is often done by people at home with microdermabrasion kits, but these cannot offer the deep exfoliation required to the epidermis for most scars.

Chemical peel

The strong acids used in dermatological chemical peels have a subtle effect on deeper acne scars. Done under strict supervision, these peels remove the top layer of the skin and encourage scar reduction.

Laser resurfacing

With a faster healing time than other resurfacing treatments, laser treatments are indicated for all types of acne scars. They are particularly suited to lighter skin tones and are never indicated for patients who are still having breakouts. Depending on the scars, different types of laser are used. Lasers are also particularly adept at reducing redness or hyperpigmentation and helping scars blend more in with the surrounding skin as well.

Skin fillers

Skin fillers injected under the surface of scars help even out the skin. Collagen, fat, and commercial fillers are typically used. Treatments last for anything between 6 to 18 months.  


Micro-needling is a newer treatment using a“pen” studded with micro-needles on the numbed scarred skin surface. The results take a few months to show, but the slight punctures encourage the skin to produce collagen as it heals, plumping depressed scars.

 Surgery for scar removal

In cases where less invasive treatments won’t work; surgical procedures are the best solution for treating scars. These procedures work on the principle that a noticeable scar is removed, leaving a smaller incision that slowly fades and becomes unnoticeable.

Cryotherapy – Cryotherapy is usually used to resurface smaller and raised scars by freezing them off.

Surgical scar revision – The entire scar is removed and then the skin is repaired. Depending on the size of the wound, a skin graft from another area of the body is used to replace the scar tissue. The raised scars from injuries known as keloids can sometimes return, and doctors often recommend radiation treatment to ensure it doesn’t.  

Subcision – This is when the fibers of a scar are loosened from beneath, helping to bring it closer to the surface, making it less noticeable.

Bottom line

Dr. Ibrahimi warns that scar treatments don’t always guarantee the scars won’t come back because scars are permanent. However, qualified dermatologists have several treatments available in their arsenal right now to curtail them effectively. After determining the scarring, they recommend a treatment plan that is best suited to reducing even the most challenging scars. 

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