The Facts about Scars
Formation and Detection
Scars result when the skin repairs wounds caused by accident, disease or surgery; they are a natural part of the healing process.
The way a scar forms is affected by an individual’s age and the location on the body or face. Treatment varies for these two locations.
Certain areas of the body are notorious for poor scarring, particularly the shoulder, knee, and sternal areas as they tend to be under a lot of stress and motion. These scars are more difficult to treat.
Scars tend to gradually fade and look less obvious as time passes. However, once two years have passed since the trauma occurred, a scar’s appearance is unlikely to change any more on its own. For best results, scars should be treated close to the time of development.
Types of Scars
The type of scar that develops depends as much on how your body heals as it does on the original injury, disease or surgery. There are many variables that affect the severity of the scarring, including:
- Size and depth of the wound
- Blood supply to the area
- Thickness and color of the skin
- Direction of the scar
- Type of scar
Typically, there are two types of raised scars: hypertrophic and keloid.
Hypertrophic: These scars are thick and raised and often darker in color than the surrounding skin. They differ from keloid scars in that they are usually confined to the original area of damage.
Keloid: Keloid scars are characterized by a thick, puckered, itchy cluster of scar tissue that grows beyond the edges of a wound or incision. Keloid scars occur when the body continues to produce collagen after a wound has been healed.
Invasive treatments currently available:
- Excision with resuture
- Intralesional steroid injection
- Laser therapy
- Sclerosing injections
Non-Invasive treatments currently available:
- Over-the-counter scar treatment products
- Pressure garments
- Application of oils, lotions and creams
- Oral and topical antihistamines
- Silicone-gel sheeting
- Massage therapy with vitamin E
*Appropriate treatment varies from case to case