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Embarrassing scars- what can a dermatologist do?

Question Posted Wednesday June 30 2010, 4:12 am

I'm not proud of it, but in my sophomore year of high school I had some really bad friends and was going through a bad time and I used to cut myself. I have completely changed since then and it's been five years but because of my stupid decisions my left forearm is covered in scars. I'm a totally different person than I was back then, and I don't want to live with this embarrassing reminder anymore.

I'm very fair skinned, and the scars are lighter than my skin and slightly raised. They aren't terribly noticeable in artificial lighting, but out in the sun or in very bright lights they are extremely obvious. Or at least to me they are but I'm self conscious about it.

I have tried over the counter scar creams, but most say they will lighten dark scars.... And I'm curious if they maybe didn't work because my scars are lighter than my skin not darker?

Anyway I'm thinking about seeing a dermatologist(sp?) for this, but it is embarrassing for me to tell people about it, so if whatever treatment they recommend won't be able to do more than the OTC stuff, there's no sense in wasting my time just to be embarrassed.

Has anyone gotten old scars treated before? Did it noticeably reduce their appearance? Is it worth it to go and see?

Again, these scars are five years old, and most are very thin and small but 2 are thicker and seem like they'd be tough to get rid of.

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adviceman49 answered Wednesday June 30 2010, 3:29 pm:
You need a Plastic Surgeon, not a Dermatologist. A Dermatologist works more with issues of skin disease and some of the results. You have cut yourself and depending how deep and how jagged your cuts are will determine the type of scar(s) you have.

The scar from the cut itself will never totally go away. What a Plastic Surgeon does is called reducing the scar by reopening it, realigning the skin and properly closing. I’m not a doctor and I may be over simplifying, only the doctor can go over the entire procedure with you. Depending on where your scars are the doctor may be able to hide some in natural creases thus making it look like they disappeared. If you have ever watched some of the Plastic Surgery shows on cable you would see that this is how the doctors hide the scars from tummy tucks and face lifts.

As someone who may be old enough to be your grandfather let me say this about your scars. You said they are not something to be proud of. In one respect you are right as they represent a time in your life that you are not proud of and may want to forget. On the other hand those scars represent something you should be very proud of. That is the fact that you recognized you were traveling down the wrong road and took the appropriate action to clean up your act and follow the road which leads you to becoming a productive member of society.

As I said I am not a doctor and I have not seen your scars; but I am confident that a good plastic surgeon will be able to reduce them to a point that they will be far less embarrassing for you. Whatever the outcome you should be extremely proud of the fact that you were able to see the error of what you were doing and to make the necessary changes to your lifestyle so as to not travel any further down that road. There are not many people that have the courage to do what you have done. I’m proud of you and I’m sure you parent and friends are too.

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