How to Remove Old Insect Bite Scars on Legs?

I have old scars in my legs caused by insect bites. I'm terribly uncomfortable to go to the beach. What can I do? Please help me, I want be free from these scars.

Doctor Answers 7

Old insect bites on legs

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The most common side effect, for those patients affected by bug bites on their legs, is long standing post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  Another not uncommon reaction is a benign scar formation called a dermatofibroma. Usually patients don't have many dermatofibromas so they probably don't occur after every single bug bite.

Neither of these conditions is easy to treat. Some hyperpigmentation cases resolve in a year or two, others need hi dose lightening cream prescribed for them. It is not uncommon that a laser or liquid nitrogen makes it look worse because the center lightens, but the periphery of the dark circle darkens and enlarges. Sometimes prescription creams and cortisone injections can help but there are risks of adverse side effects. 

Dark spots on legs can be difficult to treat and there is no guarantee that they won't look worse after treatment.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Improving insect bite scars on the legs

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Dear Ehramonique,

I presume the scars you are refering to are dark marks left behind after an insect bite. This is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and can follow any injury to the skin. I find the best way to lighten this dark color is a combination of a 4% hydroquinone cream used at home and a series of superficial TCA peels done at your dermatologist's office.

Best wishes for your success,

Dr Carr

Pamela Carr, MD
Sugar Land Dermatologic Surgeon

Treating old scars depends on the type of scar

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The best way to remove old scars depends on what the scar looks like. A red scar can be treated with a pulse dye laser. A brown scar can be treated with a Q-Switched Ruby or Alexandrite laser. A depressed scar can be treated with a variety of injection fillers or fat transfer and/or subcision. And, an elevated scar can be treated with injections of triamcinalone and/or 5% % Flurouracil.

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Removing old insect bite leg scars

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" I have old scars in my legs caused by insect bites. I'm terribly uncomfortable to go to the beach. "

The appearance of a scar depends on many factors such as mechanism of injury, mode of repair (or not), location on the body, age of the patient, type of skin, ethnicity, did the wound become infected etc.

Unfortunately, scars cannot be removed -- although in many cases they may be made better and less noticeable by scar revision.

Good Luck.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Leg insect bites can be dark and discolored. Melarase AM and Melarase PM

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I see these leg scars often and begin treatment with topical Luminase and Exfolase creams, followed by MelaPeel treatments to reduce the pigmentation. The process may take 3 to 6 months.  Our office specializes in scar treatments in Los Angeles. 

Raffy Karamanoukian MD FACS

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Old scars on legs

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It may be very difficult to fade your dark spots.  Tretinoin cream, glycolic acid and hydroquinone can help with some fading but it does take a long time.  You can try using a waterproof makeup to camouflage the dark spots. 

Martie Gidon, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologist

Insect bite scars

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It is difficult to say specifically without examining you.  If they are red, they  may be amenable to some lasers. If they were open wounds that needed to heal secondarily, they might be amenable to excision.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.