Everything you need to know about scar
Scarring is the process by which wounds are repaired. Damage to the deeper layer of the skin, the dermis, is required to produce a scar. Damage to only the epidermis, the most superficial layer of skin, will not always produce a scar. Scars produce a structural change in the deeper layers of the skin which is perceived as an alteration in the architecture of the normal surface features. It is not just a change in skin colour. Fetal tissues and mucosal tissues have the ability to heal without producing a scar. Understanding how and why this is possible could lead to better surgical scar outcomes.
Types of scars
There is only one type of scar. The appearance of a scar depends on the nature of the wound that produced the damage, the anatomical location of the wound, and a variety of genetic factors that are different for each individual.
A defective healing process can result in a keloid, an unsightly, itchy, thick, red, knobby bump that often continues to enlarge over time. Keloids often are larger than the margins of the original wound.
Causes of scar
A scar forms on your skin as your body heals an injury. To get a scar, the wound has to go deep enough to injure the inner layers of skin, the dermis.
When we cut through the deeper layers of our skin, cells make collagen to repair the wound. Because your body makes this collagen quickly, it is thicker and less elastic than the rest of your skin. The thicker and less elastic tissue is the scar.
Symptoms and signs of a scar
Scars occur at the site of tissue damage and appear as firm red to the purple fibrous tissue that over time usually becomes flatter and lighter in colour.
How do health care professionals diagnose scars?
Scarring is almost always diagnosed by visual examination. There are several rare situations where it may be necessary to examine the scar tissue under a microscope to confirm its true identity. This will require a skin biopsy and may require an injection of a local anaesthetic. Other skin conditions can frame a scar and require a biopsy to analyze.
It cannot be removed completely, but most scars fade gradually over time.
Several treatments are available that may improve the appearance of a scar and make it less noticeable.
If the scarring is unsightly, uncomfortable, or restrictive, treatment options may include:
- Topical silicone gel or silicone gel sheets.
- Compression bandages.
- Skin camouflage (make-up).
Often a combination of treatments may be used.
Scarring is an integral part of the healing process. Assuming the wound does not become infected, physicians plan excisions to minimize the cosmetic defects produced by scars. This can be accomplished by orienting the wound in such a way so that it will not perturb other structures so that the scar can be camouflaged by hiding in wrinkle lines or near other anatomical structures. It is also important to minimize the tension necessary to close the wound surgically.
Generally, improve in appearance over the first year. So considerations for invasive treatments need to be prudently considered before that time. On the other hand, scarring usually involves tissue contraction, so that it is unlikely that scars that pull or twist other anatomical structures, producing unpleasant results, will improve. These should be treated sooner than later.