The Basics of Scars: Why It Happens and How You Can Treat It

Your skin is like a piece of silk. Just as a single, small tear is conspicuous enough to interrupt silk’s smooth appearance, so will your skin be altered by a scar. But what causes these irregularities on your skin? Any injury, burn, or form of physical trauma (e.g., surgery) will result in scarring; it’s part of the skin’s natural healing process.

Scarring alters the skin’s physical architecture, which explains the marks or dark spots you see — and continue seeing. The truth is your scars never completely vanish. What do you do with them, then? While smaller injuries usually heal with minor scarring, abnormal skin scarring can cause aesthetic, physical, social, and psychological concerns so you may want to find a way to remove them or reduce their appearance.

Some methods can help lighten the appearance or reduce the size of a scar. But first: the how of scarring.

The Science of Scars: How Does Scarring Happen?

Several things cause scars to form, but, in general, they result from any dermal injury (rare exceptions are superficial scratches, tattoos, and venepunctures). Your body creates new collagen fibers, a naturally occurring fiber, to mend the damage. A blood clot also forms on the skin’s surface (the epidermis) to cover the cut and form a scab. Scar formation occurs as your wound heals completely.

A scar’s appearance depends on multiple factors. The size and depth of the cut or wound and the injury’s location matter.

Other factors that determine the appearance of your scar include:

Scarring can also be a side effect or a complication of another condition. For example, if you have a rash (e.g., acne or chickenpox), you’ll have scars on the spot(s) where the rash was. They’re more likely to form if you pick at or scratch the affected areas.

What Are the Different Types of Scars?

There are different kinds of scars. Although a majority of wounds heal as pale, flat stretches of skin, other common types include:

Acne Scars

Severe acne leaves its marks on the skin, which are further categorized according to their characteristics: the so-called “icepick” scars for the deep pits they form; scars with deep and uneven depressions are boxcars while their less-defined cousin, rolling scars, have a wave-like appearance; lastly, hyperpigmentation concerns dark spots formed after the acne wounds heal.

Hypertrophic Scars

Hypertrophic scars are raised, red scars that do not expand beyond the spot of injury. This type of scar occurs when the skin overproduces collagen at the site of the wound, raising the scar tissue.

Atrophic Scars

Otherwise known as “pockmarks,” atrophic scars are sunken and recessed marks on the skin.

Contracture Scars

Burning causes contracture scars. This type of scar tightens the skin, which impairs one’s ability to move. Contracture scars can also go deeper, affecting nerves and muscles.

Keloid Scars

These scars occur when the skin’s healing process is overly aggressive. Keloid scars extend beyond the original injury and, over time, it can hamper movement. It is common among people with darker skin.

Stretch Marks

These marks appear as raised or indented lines that are either lighter (white) or darker (purple) than your skin tone. It occurs when the body experiences weight gain or growth that stretches the skin (e.g., pregnancy, growth spurts).

Scar Be Gone (Sightly): What Are Your Treatment Options?

People seek treatment for scars if they are itchy, painful, unsightly, or if they restrict movement. Although treatments won’t completely remove your scar, it can certainly improve their appearance. Your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for a procedure. Possible scar healing treatments may include:

Scars can be unpleasant and unsightly; it’s only natural to want them gone. But before you settle on a remedy, consult with your doctor or dermatologist about what you want to accomplish. They will evaluate the type and severity of your scarring and recommend the best scar treatment.

Do you need more information on scars and the possible treatments? Vitamax Prime can help. Get in touch with us today to learn more.

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