Best scar revision for minimal scars?
December 22, 2010 1:26 PM   Subscribe

I need to get the BEST possible scar revision for scars on my arm that make me look like a cutter. They are slightly discolored, and barely raised from the skin. Where should I begin looking?

Cost isn't an issue as these have caused me to wear long sleeves for eight years. The problem is these scars are minimal but my skin is so pale and soft that they still show. The scars are : shinier, slightly raised, and paler than the rest of my skin.

They seem to not be minimizing anymore so I need to take action.
posted by JJkiss to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
After eight years, I imagine you've already tried this, but many people are able to reduce the appearance of scars by massaging with vitamin-E, emu, jojoba or other oils.
posted by box at 1:28 PM on December 22, 2010

I have found that there is little to do with old scars. I also have found that no one -- except, occasionally, people who already know about depression and self-injury -- notices scars. I have a huge scar on my right hand, complete with a deformed finger, and unless I point it out, people barely even notice that I hold my pencils funny. They do not notice scarring on my arms that looks like I used to cut myself.
posted by jeather at 1:40 PM on December 22, 2010

Seconding jeather. I worked with a guy for a year and didn't notice that he had lost a finger down to the first knuckle. I mean we sat side by side at work, 5 days a week, got lunch together sometimes and I didn't notice until my last day of work there.
posted by rancidchickn at 1:54 PM on December 22, 2010

If the scars are that minimal, it may not be possible to reduce them any further. Have you been for a consultation? And I want to gently suggest that perhaps the solution is to seek therapy so you can learn to deal with their presence in your life.

One of my family members has an obsessive worry about the scars on her hands and arms. They are almost invisible. She wants to wear long sleeves every day, and she'd wear gloves if she could get away with it. To me this is clearly a psychological issue.

Lastly, I want to say that I have a gigantic, almost three-inch-long scar across the back of my left hand, and I'm a lefty so I'm always sticking my left hand out around other people -- and I'm always surprised that NO ONE EVER NOTICES IT. Even when I've had conversations with people, along the lines of, "This is my worst scar, what's yours?" I'm shocked to find that people I've known for a long time have never noticed this scar.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:56 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you consulted a dermatologist? They may have suggestions for treatments you don't have access to.
posted by decathecting at 1:59 PM on December 22, 2010

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but depending on how you personally scar (I'm super-pale, too, but I keloid really badly), any revision might actually make them look worse. I had to have a plastic surgery consult for a big huge scar on my elbow, and the plastic surgeon -- who fixed a scar from a hammer falling on my cousin's forehead so you couldn't even see it -- basically told me that chances were good the revised scar would look even worse since it would sink down under the surface and look thicker/more pronounced.

It's worth going in for a consult with a plastic surgeon and/or dermatologist, though. This is really one situation where we can't give you a solid answer since people tend to scar so differently.
posted by at 2:07 PM on December 22, 2010

Yeah, revision at this point might be hard and might - even probably - make them look worse.

It may seem impossible to you now, or whatever, but have you thought about just wearing them with pride? Scars can be really neat, actually, even attractive, and if nothing else it's something cool and unique about you with its own story. Scars are not something to be ashamed of. Try owning it.

(I say this as a man with scars across both my nipples, which has not only made them odd looking, but also rendered them basically without nerves. I used to be embarrassed, but the older I get the more I'm like, 'eh, whatever. These are my battle wounds bitch!')
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:23 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you tried those silicone patches? They work pretty well. I also have a large scar that looks like I slit my wrist (i didnt, its from a bike accident) and no one ever notices it. Or the 5" scar bisecting my left hand. Or the thumb I nearly cut off and that's a new one so its real visible (im a klutz obvs). Point is that you should check with a disinterested party and see if they're really noticeable.
posted by fshgrl at 2:28 PM on December 22, 2010

They do not notice scarring on my arms that looks like I used to cut myself.

Some people will very quietly pick up on it.


Counter proposal: wrist tattoos
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:37 PM on December 22, 2010

Tattooing over scars, a la sebastienbailard's suggestion, is a possible option. I have a wrist tattoo that covers some scar tissue. (But those scars were very thin/fine scars, as if I had tangled with a rosebush in my distant past.) If you go this route though, be sure to choose a really good tattoo artist with some experience in doing cover-up work like this: tattooing over scar tissue is different from tattooing over normal skin.
posted by kataclysm at 3:20 PM on December 22, 2010

Be careful its actually recommended to NOT use Vitamin E on scars. It can in fact worsen the appearance of scars.
posted by bitdamaged at 3:44 PM on December 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have a sizable scar right across the inside of my left wrist that makes me look like a very clumsy failed suicide. Dr. Fredrick Valauri in NYC made it look much nicer — his Web site makes him look like he just does boob jobs and hair transplants but in fact he's a very good cosmetic surgeon.
posted by nicwolff at 4:04 PM on December 22, 2010

I'd say talk to a plastic surgeon and ask if they use PRP (platelet rich plasma). I've seen good results with a dermabrasion dressed with PRP for shallow, broad scarring (think road rash). What you're looking for is autologous platelet rich plasma and NOT autologous conditioned plasma which is a less effective product.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 4:36 PM on December 22, 2010

I would recommend looking for medical offices that do "micropigmentation." This seems to be the medical term for tattooing the pale scars to match your skin color. I looked into this and it seemed like the best option.
posted by la petite marie at 6:32 PM on December 22, 2010

BlahLaLa: "Lastly, I want to say that I have a gigantic, almost three-inch-long scar across the back of my left hand, and I'm a lefty so I'm always sticking my left hand out around other people -- and I'm always surprised that NO ONE EVER NOTICES IT."

QFT. I've got a y-shaped scar that covers the back of my left hand and one of my knuckes is squashed flat and my index finger points the wrong way and people who've known me for years have never noticed. Talk to a plastic surgeon to help put your mind at ease, but this is almost certainly a smaller deal than you think.
posted by workerant at 11:46 AM on December 23, 2010

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