ZocdocAnswersWhat treatments exist to lighten skin pigmentation after scarring?

Question

What treatments exist to lighten skin pigmentation after scarring?

What are the options for lightening skin pigmentation after scarring occurs? I sustained a pretty serious cut last year (got careless while chopping vegetables) and now have an ugly scar along one hand I'd like to get rid of. Are there chemical or laser treatments to lighten the dark area?

Answer

Taking care of damaged, scarred skin is a common medical concern. The doctors who will be best qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor or your dermatologist. The first step in reducing the skin pigmentation after scarring, called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, is to prevent further damage to the skin! This can include applying a daily moisturizing cream, using sun screen as needed, and avoided sustained exposure to direct sunlight. Numerous bleaching and lightening creams are available both over the counter in drug stores and also by prescription from your doctor. A side effect of some of these creams is that they can accelerate age-related skin damage. Other possible treatment options include laser-based treatments. These are provided by specialized dermatologists or cosmetic surgeons. The work by gradually shrinking and lightening the area. The disadvantage is that they can be expensive and that they require multiple treatments. A final option could be surgical removal of a particularly unsightly scar, as determined by a cosmetic surgeon. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor or your dermatologist might be recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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