When the skin is injured and healing, it’s common for scars to develop in that area of the body. Scars are a natural part of the healing process. Even though scars are functional to protect the injured area and assist with recovery, many people feel self-conscious about the appearance of the scarred skin. If you have scars in a visible part of the body, you might consider scar removal treatment. Not only is this procedure beneficial for aesthetic reasons, but it can also be necessary for functional and mobility reasons as well.
What are Scars?
When the skin is injured, the natural healing functions in the body work to repair the wounded area. After the injury heals, the scar is the mark left on the skin. Some scars will fade over time, but many people find that the scars never disappear completely. Remember that scars are the body’s way of replacing damaged or lost skin and promoting healing to protect the part of the body that was injured. Some scars are smooth and level with the surface of the skin. Other scars have an accumulation of fibrous tissue, resulting in a raised, visible texture. It’s common for scars to have red, pink, or purple discoloration, although the colors often start to fade over time.
There are various reasons why scars form on the body, such as an injury, surgery, or tissue inflammation. The body forms this protective area of skin as a way to recover from problems and injuries. Even though scars have a functional purpose, many people don’t like scars because of aesthetic concerns. The final appearance of a scar varies depending on many different factors. Things that can affect the scar’s appearance include the location on the body, how quickly and effectively it heals, the wound direction, the type of injury, the patient’s age, and the overall health and wellness of the person.
Common Types of Scars?
Scars can have many different appearances, including varying textures and colors depending on the way the body heals. For example, some scars are raised and textured, while others can be sunken or level with the skin. The type of scar you have will influence the appearance of the healed skin.
Normal scars, also known as fine-line scars, occur after minor cuts or wounds. As it heals, there will be a raised line just above the surface of the skin. Typically, the scar will start to flatten or fade over time. It can take as long as 2 years before the scar reaches the look and feel that will last for the rest of a person’s life.
Even though the scar won’t disappear completely, it leaves a small line or mark that may or may not be noticeable. Usually, fine-line scars are common after surgery or a wound with clean edges. During the healing and recovery time, the scar might be itchy.
When there is an overgrowth of tissue in the scar area, it is known as a keloid scar. This condition occurs because too much collagen is produced as the wound is healing. Even though the skin heals, the scar grows as the body produces collagen and collects tissue in that area.
Some keloid scars are the same color as the surrounding skin. Other keloid scars are red, pink, or darker in color, depending on the person’s skin type.
Often, keloid scars feel painful or itchy, even after the wound has healed. The excess tissue can also cause function or movement restrictions, especially when the scar is near a joint. Or the tightness of the scar can also affect function in that part of the body.
Sunken or Pitted Scars
In some cases, the scar forms lower than the surface of the surrounding skin, causing a sunken or pitted appearance. This type of scar is most common with skin conditions such as chickenpox or acne. There is localized inflammation in the skin, then it becomes sunken as that part of the skin heals.
Pitted scars are sometimes known as “ice-pick” or atrophic scars. They can also happen after an injury. For example, if the injury results in a loss of underlying fat, then the scar appearance will be sunken or lower than the surrounding skin.
What Causes Scars?
Scars are part of the healing process within the body. When an injury occurs, the natural healing functions get to work to repair the damaged area of the skin. The body creates new tissue made of collagen to reseal the injured area.
An injury that opens the skin can result in the formation of a scar. Any type of injury can be the cause of scarring, including trauma, a scrape, and more. The scar is what remains after the wound heals, leaving a small or large mark in the area where the injury occurred.
When it is necessary to cut into the skin for a surgical procedure, a scar will be left behind. Most surgical scars are small and thin, falling into the classification as a fine-line scar. But it’s possible that more collagen and tissue can develop into a keloid scar, depending on the person’s genetics.
When deeper layers of the skin tear, it can cause narrow lines or streaks on the surface of the skin. Typically, these scars happen because of changes underneath the surface of the skin, such as muscle growth, fat gain/loss, or pregnancy. Other common causes of stretch marks include puberty or hormone replacement therapy.
Certain skin diseases can cause injuries or inflammation that result in the development of scars. For example, scars are common after acne or chickenpox. Or epidermolysis bullosa is a rare skin condition that makes the skin incredibly fragile and causes blisters to form, which often scar as the blisters heal.
Procedures That Remedy Scars
Even though scars will never go away, different scar removal treatments can minimize the appearance of the scar. Many people choose scar removal for cosmetic reasons because they don’t like the look and feel of having a scar on their skin. These procedures are most common when the scar is in a visible part of the body.
Scar RemovalFind doctors who offer Scar Removal
There are different methods for scar removal, such as laser therapy, that can remove scar tissue. The laser helps to stimulate collagen production. As the body heals from the laser treatment, it can help with the development of new, smoother skin in the target area. Many people notice that their scars are lighter and less noticeable after scar removal treatment.
MicroneedlingFind doctors who offer Microneedling
Puncturing the scar with small needles can promote healing and collagen formation. This treatment works similarly to laser therapy, with the goal of eliminating the damaged skin on the surface. As the skin heals from the micro-injuries, it can result in a smoother and softer appearance. Multiple microneedling treatments will be needed, and the result can be a less-noticeable scar.
When there is a lot of excess scar tissue, surgery might be recommended to change the appearance of the scar. Eliminating the excess tissue can restore function in an area that might have been restricted by the bulky buildup in the scarred area. Post-surgical care is essential to prevent the skin from reforming into a large, textured scar away.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I avoid scars?
Scars can’t be avoided completely. They form when the skin has been injured. If you have a wound or surgery, you can expect a scar to be left behind after the injury heals. The best way to avoid scarring is by avoiding injuries, surgery, and any other wounds that open the skin.
But once a scar forms, some things can be done to reduce the visual appearance of the scar. The good news is that these procedures can minimize the color, texture, and other factors to make the scar blend into the surrounding skin better.
How long does it take for a scar to stabilize?
Even though a scar will form in a few weeks after a wound heals, it takes up to two years to see the final result. The body closes the wound as soon as possible, and an abundance of scar material and collagen is formed in this stage. Extra blood vessels are formed to move more blood in the area, which can cause the scarred area to be darker in color.
Over time, the skin starts to smooth out, and the discoloration can fade. Many people find that their scars naturally flatten and fad to blend in better with the rest of the skin. You won’t be able to judge the real appearance of the scar for two years. Then, this is the point where you might consider scar removal treatments if the scar is still noticeable.
Why do my scars itch and hurt?
Even though the wound has healed, it’s possible that you might still have pain in the affected area. Doctors are unsure why scars can be painful or uncomfortable, but it might be due to the nerve endings in the skin that is rapidly closing. Or pain can occur if the scar is attached to a joint or muscle because of how the skin and attached fibers move.
Itching is common during the healing phase, a healthy sign that the body is working to heal the damaged area. Even though it itches, avoid scratching the skin because it can make the scar look worse because scratching irritates it even more. Add lotion to the scar to keep the skin supple and soft, which might reduce the itching.
How can I change the appearance of my scar?
Many things can be done to promote better healing and reduce the appearance of the scar. In the beginning stages of wound healing, allowing the skin to heal with as little interference as possible is necessary. Different topical treatments, such as creams or gel pads, can be used once the wound heals.
After the scar is fully formed, then other treatments can help to reduce the appearance of the scar. For example, you might try laser treatments, microneedling, or chemical peels. These treatments exfoliate the top layers of the skin to promote healing and cell turnover, often creating a softer and smoother surface for the skin. Severe scars require more intensive treatments, such as stronger lasers or even scar removal surgery.