What are scars
The healing process of any injury to the skin is often accompanied by scarring. The body instantly begins to heal itself if it experiences any kind of trauma and the scar that remains is the body’s way of reminding us that an injury to the skin took place.
How are scars formed?
The new skin cells that immediately start forming in order to close the wound are interrupted in their process. Often through the cleaning of the wound or the stitches being applied, this causes the skin to renew its efforts at healing and what would appear to be a pile-up of healing cells occurs, and this results in a visible scar. Scars are also form when the skin being knitted together is not 100% in line and the healing takes place off centre.
The severity of the scar will be determined by:
- Type of injury to the skin
- If a cut or tear, how deep is it
- How was the initial wound treated
- Age of person
- General health of the person
However you want to deal with the scars you have it is best to consult a dermatologist or similar clinician for advice on the best treatment.
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Types of scars
Keloid scars form when the collagen the body uses to repair the wound is overproduced, causing the scar to ‘grow’ beyond the parametres of the wound. Keloid scarring is often the result of piercing or where foreign bodies are introduced below the surface. These scars are raised and are often shiny and brighter in colour than the surrounding skin.
Keloid scarring can also occur where severe acne is experienced.
When a burn occurs the skin surrounding the burn site begins to pull together. This is called contracture of the skin. Contracture scars result in the stiffening of the area around the skin and based on where they are can render a part of the body useless or cause incredible pain when it is moved.
Burn scars contractures require treatment as they do not fade. It is best to try and minimise the risk of scars through appropriate treatment for the wound. Exercise of the area, although painful will help to limit the contracture.
Teenagers with acne are constantly being reminded to leave their skin alone, or not to touch the acne for fear of leaving scars. Our hands carry a multitude of bacteria which may cause an infection and increased scarring so this is good advice when it comes to limiting scarring from acne. In fact it’s good advice for any kind of wound or sore.
Caused by the overproduction of sebum, blocked pores and hair follicles along with exposure to dead skin cells and surface dirt. Acne is a painful outbreak of pimples and reddening of the skin. Our habits can cause the acne to be come infected and spread, causing scarring of the skin.
The scars from acne heal over time but exposure to sunlight, Vitamen E and picking or squeezing will delay the process of healing and leave permanent scarring.
How to prevent scars
- Avoid tampering with a wound eg. Scratching, picking at scabs
- Avoid direct sunlight
- Apply sunscreen where possible
- Follow doctors advice on treatment of a wound or scar
- Removing Scars
Chemical Peel – Glycolic Acid Chemical peels are used in conjuction with other treatments to accomplish the removal of acne and acne scarring
Dermal Fillers – Dermal fillers can be used to ease the appearance of acne scarring.
Scar treatment creams – Often cortisone based these creams are applied regularly to alleviate the presence of scars
Laser Therapy – Laser therapy encourages the production of
Surgical removal of keloid scarring if occasionally neccesary but is not 100% reliable as keloids sometimes return.