Chickenpox is a highly contagious virus. Most people will experience it once during their lifetime, usually as a child. This single episode may cause lasting effects, including chickenpox scars. Chickenpox scars are more likely to develop if a person picks or scratches at the rash. The scars may be bothersome for some people, especially if they are on visible parts of the body, such as the face. Removing chickenpox scars takes some effort and patience, but there are many over-the-counter (OTC) treatments and medical procedures that may help reduce them.
• Chickenpox is caused by the varicella zoster virus.
• Varicella has an incubation period of 10-21 days.
• Chickenpox is highly contagious.
• The infection spreads in a similar way to colds and flu.
• A diagnosis can normally be reached by observing the signs and symptoms.
Fillers, also called soft-tissue fillers, can add shape to the affected skin. Fillers may be more effective in the treatment of pockmarks and sunken scars. Doctors inject a safe material, such as fat or hyaluronic acid, into the scar to fill the indentation. As fillers break down over time, a repeat treatment will be necessary about once every 6 months.
Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion
Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are similar techniques, both of which can be effective for improving the appearance of scar tissue.
Microdermabrasion involves a dermatologist using a device that blows zinc oxide or sodium bicarbonate particles onto the skin to loosen and remove the scar tissue. Alternatively, they may brush the scarred area using a device that has a covering of diamond particles. The skin care specialist will then use a vacuum to remove the residue remaining on the skin. Dermabrasion uses a stiff, rapidly rotating brush to scrape away the top layers and deeper areas of the scar.
Like dermabrasion, chemical peels also resurface the skin, but they use chemicals instead to break down the skin’s top layers. We use a strong acid, which breaks down the older layers of skin. The layers of skin underneath look more youthful so the scar tissue may not be as noticeable. It is important to note that the skin will also be tender and prone to damage for several days after a chemical peel.
Microneedling may also help remove scars. To perform microneedling, doctors first apply an anesthetic to the area near the scar. They then roll a small tool with a covering of tiny needles over the area to puncture the skin repeatedly. The needles stimulate the skin cells to make collagen, which may result in the skin looking smoother. Many people require multiple sessions of microneedling before they see any results. The procedure also causes some bleeding.
Excision removes the chickenpox scar by cutting it away. Doctors can cut out the scarred section of skin and stitch the wound back up. However, these stitches tend to leave new scars. People with deeply pocked or pitted scars may be happy to trade them for a thin linear scar from the stitches.
Several types of laser therapy may help with chickenpox scars. Laser therapy is now one of the most common ways to treat scars and chickenpox marks. Laser therapy uses high-energy light to reduce the appearance of scars.
What you need to know about chickenpox
Chickenpox (chicken pox), also known as varicella, is a highly contagious infection caused by the varicella zoster virus. Although uncomfortable, most people recover within 1-2 weeks. There is a blister-like rash, which first appears on the face and trunk, and then spreads throughout the body. Although not life-threatening, complications can arise.