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A Brief Overview on Scars
What Are Scars?
Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replace normal skin after injury. A scar results from the biological process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body. Thus, scarring is a natural part of the healing process. With the exception of very minor lesions, every wound (e.g. after accident, disease, or surgery) results in some degree of scarring
How Does a Scar Form?
A scar is a manifestation of the skin’s healing process. After skin or tissue is wounded, the body releases collagen to mend the damage. Collagen, a protein, reattaches the damaged skin. As the wound heals, a temporary crust forms and covers it. The crust is a scab that protects the damaged area. Causes of scars include cuts, sores, surgery, and burns. Severe acne and chicken pox may also scar skin. The degree that skin scars depends on more than the size and depth of the wound.
The Effects of Age and Scar Healing
Age also affects the process. The healing process is stronger in younger skin. That results in scars that are thicker than those of older people. Other factors affecting the type of scar are ethnicity, heredity, and the location of the injury.
Children are active and susceptible to cuts and injuries. They and people with fair complexions tend to get hypertophic scars. While Asians and blacks are likely to have keloid scars, people from other ethnic groups also experience this form of scarring.
Keloid and hypertophic scars have similar appearances. However, the keloid scar expands beyond the original wound. The location of the wound also has an effect on its size. If the scar is located on places like the knee or shoulder, it will eventually widen because these areas are in motion.
A scar is permanent and cannot be completely removed. However, treatment can alter a scar’s appearance. These procedures range from the application of over-the-counter ointment to surgery. Scar treatment should start after an injury because wound care affects scarring. The wound should be cleaned and covered. Picking at the scab breaks the collagen and allows germs to enter the wound.
Scars Often Heal Over Time
Time also helps with healing. Scars become smaller, and the color fades. However, additional treatment is required for some scars. While some procedures are more effective for keloids and hypertrophic scars, the procedure for acne scars is based on the type of scarring. And treatment for burn scars may include skin grafts surgery depending on the severity.
Surgery and Scars
The surgical procedure for scars is referred to as scar revision because the procedure modifies the scar’s appearance. This procedure works well on scars that are wide or long. Other treatments may be recommended for keloids because a surgical incision could cause a new scar and create another keloid. To reduce the risk of another scar, surgery may be followed by the injection of cortisone steroids.
Steroid Injections for Scars
Steroid injection is a singular form of treatment for scars, particularly keloid and hypertophic scars. Corticosteroids are an anti-inflammatory drug that helps to lessen the scar’s red color and thickness. The treatment flattens the scar and helps with itching.
Cyrosurgery for Scars
Cryosurgery involves the freezing of freezes tissue with a probe containing nitrous oxide. It is used to modify scars, especially keloid and hypertrophic scars. Dermabrasion
Dermabrasion for Scars
Dermabrasion is the removal of a layer of the skin’s surface. Scars including those caused by acne are smoothed or sanded by an instrument.
Silicone gel sheets
Silicone gel sheets can be purchased over-the-counter. The sheets are worn over the scar area to seal moisture. The treatment helps with itching and to reduce scar thickness and color.
Alternative Home Scar Removal Treatment
Alternate methods of treating scars range from applying Vitamin E to massaging the skin. People should consult with a doctor or other health care professional before starting treatment involving contact with the scarred area. These procedures include applying obtained vitamin E, aloe vera, or cocoa butter to the scar.
- Vitamin E is sold as an oil or obtained by opening a vitamin capsule.
- Aloe is an African plant and is sold I capsule form and as a skin care product.
- Cocoa butter is a fat made from cacao seeds.
Those items are thought to help with healing so that a scar is less visible. However, time also helps to lessen the scar’s appearance. Those substances should be applied only after a scar is well-healed. Massaging mild scars is done to relax rigid scar tissue. The scar is massaged for about two minutes. Afterwards, Vitamin E oil is applied to the skin. The process should be discontinued if the area becomes sore or red.