Scars are a natural part of the body's healing process. The scar is the result of a biological process of repairing wounds on the skin and other tissues. Most wounds, except very small ones, result in some degree of scarring.
Scars can be the result of accidents, illness, and even skin conditions such as acne or surgery.
How do scars form?
Scars are formed when the dermis is damaged (deep, thick layer of skin). The body forms new collagen fibers (a natural protein in the body) to repair the damage done, causing scarring. The new scar tissue will have a different texture and quality than the surrounding tissue. Scars form when the wound has completely healed.
There are different types of scars. Most scars are flat and pale. But in cases where the body produces too much collagen, scars can appear. Raised scars are called hypertrophic scars or keloid scars. Both types of scars are more common in younger and black people.
Some scars may have a hollow or perforated shape. This type of scarring occurs when the basic structures that support the skin (such as fat or muscle) are lost. Some surgical scars look like this, as do some acne scars.
Scars can also appear as stretched skin. Such scars occur when the skin stretches quickly (for example, during growth spurts or during pregnancy). In addition, this type of scar can occur when the skin is under tension (for example, near the joint) during the healing process.
How can scars be treated?
Although scars cannot be completely removed, their appearance can be improved to some extent. Methods to improve the appearance of scars include:
Topical treatments such as vitamin E supplement, cocoa butter cream, silicone gel, onion extract products and many commercial skin care products , such as Vaseline and Aquaphor, which are sold over-the-counter, can be extremely effective in healing scars.
Surgery. Although it will not completely remove the scar, surgery may change the shape of the scar or make it less noticeable. Surgery is not recommended in cases of hypertrophic or keloid scars (raised scars) because there is a risk of recurrent scars and severe scars resulting from treatment.
Steroid injections. The process of injecting steroids into the scar itself can help even it out. Injections can help alleviate the appearance of keloid or hypertrophic scars. 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or bleomycin can be injected into the scars to reduce the size of the scar and relieve itching and pain.
Radiotherapy. Low-dose surface radiotherapy is used to prevent the recurrence of severe keloid and hypertrophic scars. This treatment is used only in extreme cases due to possible long-term side effects.
Dermabrasion. This treatment involves removing the surface of the skin with special equipment. Dermabrasion is useful for blending scar imperfections, whether elevated or depressed.
Microdermabrasion is a much less invasive form of dermabrasion, but is minimally useful for very superficial scars.
Laser transformation. This procedure, similar to dermabrasion, removes the surface layers of the skin with different types of lasers. Newer types of lasers can achieve more subtle results by working on collagen in the dermis without removing the top layers of the skin. This progress results in a short downtime as opposed to traditional laser recovery and dermabrasion, which requires longer recovery.
Injectable fillers. These treatments can raise indented scars to the level of the surrounding skin. However, the effects of these injections are only temporary, so procedures may need to be repeated regularly. Newer forms of injectable fillers are now on the market and may be an option for some people.
Microneedling. Many small holes are made in the superficial skin to stimulate collagen production and even introduce collagen stimulants or other products to help