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July 4, 2017 | Dermatology • Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Scars are the result of a biologic process designed to repair wounds in the skin and other tissues. With the exception of the most minor ones, many wounds eventually result in some level of scarring.
There are several different methods for treating scars, and depending on the method in which they formed, treatment immediately after an injury can be very important.
When the dermis, a thick layer of deep skin, is damaged, the formation of scars begin. The body forms new collagen fibers to mend the damage—these are proteins that naturally occur in the body, and they cause the actual scar itself. The scar will have a different texture than surrounding tissue and won’t form until the wound has healed.
Scars are often flat and pale, but they can also be raised (called hypertrophic scars or keloid scars). Both of these kinds of scars are more common in younger and darker-skinned people. Scars can also look sunken or pitted, which happens when underlying support structures like fat or muscle are lost. They might also look like stretched skin, often as a result of pregnancy or growth spurts where the skin stretches rapidly.
The appearance of a scar often depends on how well the wound heals before it forms. In the case of scars caused by injuries like skinned knees or deep scratches, there are several things you can do immediately to reduce the appearance of scars:
Other treatments and techniques for reducing problematic scars such as keloid and hypertrophic scars include:
Several over-the-counter topical products are available that claim to improve scars, but they are not generally effective.
If you’re dealing with persistent scarring, consult with your doctor.
“Scars and Your Skin.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/scars
“Proper wound care: How to minimize a scar.” American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/injured-skin/wound-care
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.