What is a Scar?

Most of us have them – those constant reminders of injuries once suffered, otherwise known as scars. When there is an injury or trauma to your skin that causes a deep enough wound, scars develop as a part of the healing process. Scars are red, purple or white malformations of the skin. They will vary in size, color and texture depending on the severity of the wound.

What are the symptoms of scarring?

Scars are most noticeable as wounds are healing since it is during this time that they appear dark and discolored. The discoloration This is due to the increased blood flowing to the area, which occurs naturally as a part of the skin’s healing process. Each person’s skin heals differently; therefore the appearance of scars will vary from person to person.

What are the different types of scars?

Each scar will look different because there are many contributing factors that determine the appearance of a scar. Those factors include:

  • Age
  • Area of the body wounded
  • Size of the wound
  • Source of the wound
  • Type of wound
  • Nutrition
  • Genetics
  • Condition of the skin
  • Complexion of the skin
  • Improper/proper healing

Most scars are flat, malformations of the skin, but there are other types of scars. These types are known as keloid, hypertrophic, atrophic and contractures. 

  • Keloid scars are thick and raised due to an overproduction of collagen. They will also expand beyond the point of injury. These scars can cause you feel uncomfortable because they usually cause some degree of itchiness. They are also more common among those with darker complexions.

  • Hypertrophic scars are like keloid scars because they are raised due to an overproduction of collagen, but they do not expand past the area of the wound.

  • Atrophic scars leave indentations in the skin. There are the opposite of keloid and hypertrophic scars because not enough collagen is produced to repair the skin. Acne scars are great examples of atrophic scars.

  • Contracture scars are most frequently associated with burns. During the healing process, the body will bring the skin tightly together to close the wound. Unfortunately, this process will deform the texture and appearance of the skin.

What causes a scar?

Traumas to you skin like surgeries, burns, punctures, deep scratches or scrapes, skin inflammations and skin infections are common reasons as to why scars develop. Scars will develop when a wound penetrates to the deeper layer of the skin called the dermis. The dermis is where the protein collagen is produced. During the healing process, scar tissue will form, which is a fibrous tissue containing collagen.Collagen plays a vital role in your skin’s firmness, volume and elasticity and when it is compromised during an injury, it will cause texture irregularities that will rise to the surface of the skin. 

How can you treat scarring?

Should you incur a wound that could lead to potential scarring, be sure to continuously apply antibiotics and keep injury coverings dry.Doing so will help decrease your chances of developing a noticeable scar. Contrary to popular belief, research indicates that applying vitamin E to the area being treated is not only ineffective, but may also worsen the appearance of scars. Instead, apply vitamin C serum on the area to reduce pigmentation, and other natural oils, like coconut oil, to keep the skin moisturized.

Once a scar has formed, all hope is not lost because there are many ways to diminish their appearance. For more superficial scars, medical grade chemical peels will help to reduce their appearance. Beyond that, you will need to consult with a doctor to discuss more aggressive solutions. In many cases a doctor could can prescribe you a retinoid cream that will rebuild lost collagen. 

The first step in treating a keloid or hypertrophic scar would be a steroid injection.  A steroid injection will decrease the size of the scar and will also reduce the itchiness. Filler injections like Juvederm, can improve the appearance of atrophic scars. Juvederm uses hyaluronic acid, which is naturally produced in the body as a lubricating agent. Used as a filler, hyaluronic acid will not only plump you’re the skin, but will also aide in the healing process.

Lastly, laser technology has been proven to be a great solution to reducing the appearance of scars. Lasers treatments, like Lutronic’s Infini that uses microneedles and Syneron’s Matrix RF that uses radiofrequency, will repair scars by deeply penetratingthe skin to stimulate collagen production.

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