Self inflicted scars – is there a way to remove these?

I have self-inflicted white scars that I would really like to improve or ultimately get rid of. It is just a visual reminder of a past I would like to forget, and I'm nervous that my coworkers will notice them. Who would be better to see about these, a dermatologist or a plastic surgeon. And is there any hope?

My heart goes out to you. Many people who had a period where they did some cutting have gotten therapy and moved on to a new, happier chapter of their lives. The same goes, I think, for victims of domestic violence, war related scars, and accidents. It’s really quite wonderful to improve these and make them much less visible. I’ve seen it make a major psychological difference. Acne scars also, these can be quite debilitating.


Having said that, treatment for scars has improved amazingly over the past 10-15 years. Most of us who work with scars will use CO2 fractionated lasers primarily, with sometimes adding other treatments like subscision, pulsed dye or IPL lasers, fractionated erbiums like the Fraxel and several topical creams and massage as well. It all just depends on the sites of the scars and types of scars.


If your scars are on your wrists, the fractionated CO2 laser will help these. But expect to need several treatments, only your board certified dermatologist can estimate that. I would really recommend a dermatologist experienced with lasers for this because you really don’t need them to be removed surgically and most plastic surgeons aren’t experienced enough with lasers, although there are some exceptions. See our Regional Guide to Excellent Cosmetic Dermatologists.


Hope this helps,  Dr. I


Read Dr. Irwin’s article about Acne Scars and Scars in Depth.

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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