Scars are formed as part of the body’s healing process.
The skin repairs itself in the instance of a damage or injury by growing new tissue to pull together the wound and fill in the gaps.
The Process of Wound Healing
The process of wound healing is a highly complex but well-orchestrated sequence of cellular and biochemical events. As the metabolic activity at the site of injury intensifies, there is high demand for nutrients and oxygen to support the repair process.
Begins at the onset of injury to stop bleeding. The body activates its emergency repair system - the blood clotting system and forms a dam to block the drainage.
Focuses on destroying bacteria and removing debris, essentially preparing the wound bed for growth of new tissue.
During this phase, a type of white blood cells called neutrophils enter the wound to destroy bacteria and remove debris, reaching their peak population between 24 and 48 hours after injury. As white blood cells leave, specialized cells called macrophages arrive to continue clearing debris. They also secrete growth factors and proteins that attract immune system cells to the wound to facilitate tissue repair.
Focus is to fill and cover the wound. This phase features 3 distinct stages: 1) filling the wound, 2) contraction of the wound margins, 3) covering the wound (epithelialization).
New tissue slowly gains strength and flexibility. Collagen fibers reorganize, the tissue remodels and matures and there is an overall increase in tensile strength.
The healing process is remarkable and complex and it is also susceptible to interruption due to local and systemic factors, including moisture, infection and maceration; age, nutritional status, body type and more.
In some cases, this process is deranged resulting in the formation of hypertrophic or keloid scars
Types of Scars
Contracture scars → developed after a burn, it is caused by the tightening (contraction) of the skin
Depressed, atrophic scars → sunken scars usually resulting from acne. Look like rounded pits/ small indentations in the skin
Keloid → raised above the skin’s surface and spread beyond the wounded area
Raised hypertrophic scars
Stretch marks → usually formed after pregnancy, puberty or after gaining/ losing weight within a very short period of time
- Stay out of the sun. UV rays can increase inflammation and redness, possibly leading to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
Search: SPF 45
* TIP: always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on a daily basis and re-apply if under prolonged sun exposure
- Keep any minor cuts and scrapes clean and covered
- Avoid scratching or picking at healing scabs