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If any cancer cells remain, the surgeon removes another layer of tissue from that precise spot while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible. The doctor repeats this process until no cancer cells remain. This technique has a high cure rate and achieves the smallest possible scar, says Dr. Kober, who has extensive training and experience in Mohs surgery. Surgery is the most common treatment. Some surgeons are using Mohs surgery on certain cases of melanoma, but this requires additional training. Patients with more advanced melanomas may require additional treatments, such as radiation or medications, including immunotherapies and targeted therapies.

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When doctors tell patients they need skin cancer surgery, they hear a wide range of reactions, says Dr. Just get the cancer out. That includes celebrity patients who know an unsightly scar could hurt their career. While your skin cancer may have looked like a small red spot when diagnosed, that can be just the tip of the iceberg, he explains. And because of the surgical techniques needed to make a scar lie flat and even, the scar will always be longer than the diameter of the wound. Kober says that most of the time, Mohs surgeons are able to clear the roots of the tumor by removing just one or two layers of tissue.

But if the patient is not completely happy with a scar, there are techniques to improve its appearance. Because melanoma is more likely to spread than nonmelanoma skin cancers, surgical guidelines require the doctor to remove a larger safety margin of healthy tissue. Khorasani says that on average, the wounds from melanoma surgery, and thus the scars, are about twice as large as those from other skin cancers. When he is teaching medical students about surgical technique and how to handle the tissue, Dr. Kober explains how a circular wound becomes a straight-line scar.

To correct for that, the surgeon has to remove those little puckers on either end. So before the wound is closed, the surgeon shapes the wound so it looks more like a football than a baseball.

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Larger skin cancers may need reconstruction using what is called a flap from neighboring skin or sometimes a skin graft from another area of the body. Having a good blood supply to the area of the surgery is the number one issue in healing, says Dr. However, he says he has seen many elderly patients who naturally heal well, too. I always ask them what their secret is, especially those over 90 who are super sharp mentally.

Some people are just genetically blessed and heal really well — like Wolverine! A healthy diet is very important, says Dr.


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The skin then peels off, so that new, undamaged skin can grow. Chemical peels should be performed by a board-licensed doctor, such as a dermatologist. The deeper the peel, the more likely you are to have side effects like redness, pain, and skin flaking. Chemical peels can also cause skin to become darker or lighter than normal. These changes are more common in people who have darker skin. However, this is rarely used for acne scars. Laser therapy uses intense energy pulses to target acne scars.


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  • This is a long-lasting and usually effective treatment. There are two types of lasers used for acne scars: ablative and nonablative. Ablative lasers are considered a top treatment for acne scars. They can often improve scars in just one session. Ablative lasers damage the top layers of skin, and can cause redness, pain, swelling, itching , and blisters.

    They also stimulate the production of new collagen and remodeling of the scar. Nonablative lasers also stimulate the production of new collagen, but they have fewer side effects than ablative lasers. However, they tend to be less effective. It goes deeper into the skin without affecting the top layer. Microneedling uses a device with lots of very thin needles to puncture your skin.

    These needles cause small injuries. As your body heals the injuries, it builds more collagen and reduces scarring. Microneedling causes slight facial pain, swelling, and redness after the procedure. The deeper scars are replaced with small, shallower wound closures.

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    Punch excision is best for small scars that can easily fit the shape of the punch device. It only treats the individual scars, not any redness or unevenness caused by the scars. In subcision, a needle is put under your skin and moved in multiple directions to separate the top layer of skin from the scar tissue below. This is not as effective a treatment for boxcar scars as the above treatments are.

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    However, it only has minor, short-term side effects, such as bruising and pain during the procedure. However, treatment can improve the appearance of boxcar scars in most people by 50 to 75 percent. After treatment, they may not be noticeable anymore. Deep acne breakouts can damage the skin. Your body then tries to heal this damage by forming collagen. Inflammatory acne , especially nodular-cystic acne, is more likely than other types of acne to scar, especially if left untreated. Some studies have also noted that the effects of skin needling on acne scars are even better when the treatments are combined with vitamin C or PRP.

    Unlike other minimally invasive skin corrective treatments, such as laser therapy, microneedling is considered safe for darker skin tones. Microneedling is also considered safe for thin and sensitive skin as well. Initially, minor side effects are to be expected from this procedure.

    These include redness, bruising, and inflammation. However, these should clear up within a few days. Exfoliants and alcohol-based skin products can also make side effects worse, so you should avoid these. However, these should be mild and clear up on their own. Avoid picking at your skin, as this can lead to further scarring. The severity of microneedling side effects also depends on how you prepare for the procedure.

    Tanning or direct sun exposure can irritate your skin, making inflammation worse. Drinking plenty of water the day before and during the hours leading up your treatment can also reduce the chances of bruising and inflammation.


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    Unlike more invasive skin therapies, microneedling is considered quick. Many people choose to go back to work the day after their treatment, depending on their side effects. You can apply a lightweight powder if you want to camouflage any bruises or redness.

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    If you need multiple treatments, you can expect to pay around this amount each time. According to DermNet NZ , moderate acne scars require three to four treatments. You might need an additional procedure or two for more severe scarring. Also, most people need to wait six weeks between treatments in order to allow new collagen to fully form. Some offices offer membership discounts where you pay a certain amount of money per month and save over the course of a year.

    You might also ask about payment plans and financing.