Scarring is a natural part of the body’s healing process. A scar forms from excess amounts of collagen in the wound as the body attempts a repair. Many scars do eventually fade, but generally, the larger the wound, the longer it takes to heal and the greater the chance of a visible scar being left behind. Scars left on visible parts of the body can cause one distress.
Causes of scarring
Scars are areas of fibrous tissue (fibrosis) 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.
Tissue damage can occur for a number of reasons, including:
- accidental injuries – such as cuts from falling off a bicycle
- deliberate harm from a weapon or from self-harm
- cuts made during surgery – such as a Caesarean section birth
- bites and scratches from animals or people
- burns and scalds from hot objects or liquids
- body piercings – such as ear or nose piercings
- injections – such as vaccination against tuberculosis (BCG vaccination)
Scarring can also be a side effect or a complication of other conditions. For example, if you have a condition that causes a rash, such as chickenpox or acne, you may be left with scars where the rash was (this is more likely to happen if you scratch or pick at the affected areas).
It is thought that keloid scarring and hypertrophic scarring may run in families. This means you have an increased risk of developing keloid scarring or hypertrophic scarring if a member of your family has previously had these types of scars.
The appearance of a scar often depends on how well the wound heals. While scars from surgery or over joints like the knees and elbows are hard to avoid, scars caused by minor cuts and scrapes can become less noticeable by properly treating the wound at home.
Tips for reducing the appearance of scars caused by injuries such as skinned knees or deep scratches:
- Always keep your cut, scrape or other skin injury clean. Gently wash the area with mild soap and water to keep out germs and remove debris.
- To help the injured skin heal, use petroleum jelly to keep the wound moist. Petroleum jelly prevents the wound from drying out and forming a scab; wounds with scabs take longer to heal. This will also help prevent a scar from getting too large, deep or itchy. As long as the wound is cleaned daily, it is not necessary to use anti-bacterial ointments.
- After cleaning the wound and applying petroleum jelly or a similar ointment, cover the skin with an adhesive bandage. For large scrapes, sores, burns or persistent redness, it may be helpful to use hydrogel or silicone gel sheets.
- Change your bandage daily to keep the wound clean while it heals. If you have skin that is sensitive to adhesives, try a non-adhesive gauze pad with paper tape. If using silicone gel or hydrogel sheets, follow the instructions on the package for changing the sheets.
- If your injury requires stitches, follow your doctor’s advice on how to care for the wound and when to get the stitches removed. This may help minimize the appearance of a scar.
- Apply sunscreen to the wound after it has healed. Sun protection may help reduce red or brown discoloration and help the scar fade faster. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF or 30 or higher and reapply frequently.
If you have minor cuts or scrapes, you can help reduce the appearance of a scar by properly treating the injury at home. However, if your injury is deep, very painful or if your skin becomes infected, seek immediate medical care.
At Beauty and Curves we offer a variety of treatments for scarring. After a consultation with one of our doctors, the appropriate treatment will be recommended and discussed with you in detail. Some of the treatments we offer for scarring are:
Laser Resurfacing can be performed as a once–off procedure for a more dramatic result or as a series of smaller, individual treatments with less down time. Your healing time will depend upon the size of the treated area, and the depth of the resurfacing. You may experience Erythema (redness), which may last several weeks. Healing time varies among individuals. Find out more >>
Therapy involves injecting tiny amounts of Carbon dioxide (CO2) beneath the skin to break down fatty deposits and stimulate collagen production. After a treatment the gas is totally reabsorbed within 5 minutes and the treated area will raise, turn slightly red as oxygen perfused into the area which undergoes an inflammatory response which stimulates collagen production. Find out more >>
The Dermapen is an automated-micro needling therapy system that vertically pierces the skin to naturally stimulate collagen and elastin with minimal epidermal damage. The procedure is normally completed within 20 minutes for the entire face and neck and up to 60 minutes for the body depending on the size of the problem area. There is minimal downtime after this treatment as you may experience facial redness for 12-48 hours after the procedure. Most people are able to return to normal daily activities immediately after the treatment. Find out more >>