What Exactly are Scars?
Scars happen when an injury slices through the top layer of your skin and penetrates down to the dermis layer. What happens next really depends on your body's collagen response. If it generates just the right amount of this skin-repairing protein, you will be left with a flat, faint scar.
On the other hand, if your body can't drum up enough collagen, you will wind up with a sunken scar. But if your body churns out too much collagen, you're stuck with a hypertrophic scar. Now, that's not to say you'll develop the same type of scar every single time you're injured, but many people tend to be predisposed to scaring in a certain way. Simply put, if you have one raised scar, chances are you're likely to have another in the future.
Injury location is a factor as well. For example, scars on your neck and chest tend to be especially obvious because the skin there happens to be thin, and skin trauma below the waist can scar pretty badly. Why? Because cell turnover is much slower, and there is less blood flow to the lower body.
Interested in learning more? We can help! Read on to discover everything you need to know about scars, including what they are and how to kick them to the curb.
What Is A Scar And Why Do We Get Them?
Scars are the natural result of your skin and scar tissue trying to repair a wound. It can form from almost any kind of scratch, cut, burn, skin condition, disease, or even surgery. Only very minor incidents typically won't result in a scar. Scars can still appear even if you have healthy skin; it just depends on the injury and trauma.
If the dermis -- or deep layer of your skin -- has been damaged, new collagen fibers naturally begin to form. Think of it as the skin essentially stitching (or mending) itself back together. However, this mending of the skin will leave behind a visible mark once it's completely healed. These visible marks -- aka scars -- let you know that your body has adequately done its job to help restore your skin as best as it can. Even if you don’t think so, your skin has your back.
Types of Scars
Every single wound heals a little bit differently than the next. That being said, there are many different types of scars due to the amount of collagen that your body naturally produces to heal the wound.
Many scars tend to appear flat but more pale than the natural hue of your skin. This is because when your body creates too much collagen when mending the wound, the scar will be raised. This common type of scar is known as keloid or hypertrophic scar. Superficial scars are another type that appears long and thin.
Depending on your skin type, scars will appear differently upon each person. The size of the scar can also vary depending on how badly the injury damages your skin, whether it be your knee, elbow, or any area of skin.
Other kinds of scars appear to be sunken into the skin or pitted. These usually result from acne and are commonly known as acne scars. Contracture scars occur when you've been burned. This type of scar produces tightened skin and can be deep, affecting both your nerves and muscles. Lastly, stretch marks happen when the skin expands or shrinks quickly, causing damage to the connective tissues under the skin. Stretch marks are common, often developing during puberty, pregnancy, or after gaining or losing a lot of weight. They’re nothing to be ashamed of.
How to Treat Existing Scars
While existing scars can't be waved away with a magic wand, you can help speed up the fading process by regularly applying certain topical creams, lotions, and gels to them. Faded from Topicals is a gel serum that gently fades the look of your most stubborn marks, scars, and spots so that you can kick back and let your worries fade away. This powerful brightening and clearing gel will balance your skin tone by smoothing rough and textured skin to leave it bright, revived, and beautiful. In addition, silicone-based gel products can help heal the outermost layer of a scar.
Keep in mind that healing takes time -- possibly a long time. The first phase of healing takes roughly three months, followed by a second phase that lasts another three months. At one year after the injury, the scar has formed, but even then, it will still change and appear a little different a year after that. You see, the truth is that scars never stop changing and improving-- unless they are keloid scars, which continually worsen unless treated by a doc.
Basically, what we're trying to say here is don't give up on healing your scar. With the right products, a little TLC, and a whole lot of patience, you can minimize the appearance of your scar in no time. Scars are just your skin’s way of saying that it’s doing its best.
How to Prevent Scars
It is widely accepted that scarring is a natural part of the healing process and that it's entirely out of one's hands. There may be activity restrictions when it comes down to helping your scar heal. But, there are many ways to help reduce the mark left by a wound. The most beneficial thing you can do to prevent scarring is to seek treatment. But you may also want to try these simple instructions for reducing scarring while you're at it:
Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure
When you're out and about, always be sure to properly conceal the affected area from the sun with clothing, bandages, and/or sunscreen at SPF 30 or higher. Why? Because ultraviolet (UV) rays can slow the wound healing process. These harmful rays can even cause discoloration of the healing scar tissue because the rays stimulate cells that activate pigmentation, ultimately turning the scar a dark color. Be good to your skin, okay?
Massage The Healing Skin
After your new layer of skin has grown over your wound, take a little time to massage it daily. This is effective in breaking down the collagen bonds and, in turn, helps reduce the appearance of scarring. Use a good quality lotion to gently massage the affected area for 15 to 30 seconds a few times each day.
Keep in mind that some scar-specific minimizing creams haven't been clinically proven to be effective at reducing blemishes caused by wounds. Instead, some researchers believe it's the act of massaging the creams into the healing skin that reduces scarring. Regardless, treat yourself.
Stay Away From Vitamin E
A long time ago (okay, maybe not that long ago), it was largely thought that vitamin E enhanced the body's ability to recover from a wound and help reduce the chance of scarring. However, just a couple of decades ago, scientists discovered the opposite is often true. Some studies have shown that vitamin E was administered to patients who had gone through skin cancer removal therapy.
The results were quite interesting, showing that compared to a control group, the beloved vitamin had no real positive effects on the wound healing process. A whopping 90 percent of the study participants experienced worsened scar appearance after using vitamin E. So don’t believe the hype.
Steer Clear Of Hydrogen Peroxide
Most of us remember being a tiny tot and having a parent pour hydrogen peroxide on our wounds, only to be dazzled by the bubbling that followed suit. But it turns out that the solution doesn't just clean the affected area -- it also kills new and important skin cells that start to grow when a wound is inflicted. This can slow down the wound healing process.
Use A Wound Dressing
Many people also once believed that allowing the original wound to "breathe" was a good idea. The notion was that air would dry out the wound, ultimately aiding in the formation of a scab. However, scabbing isn't always a good thing and could lead to a potential infection. Try not to pick any scabs that form, as this too can cause irritation, inhibit recovery and -- you guessed it -- worsen scarring. Let your skin do it’s thing.
Dermabrasion and Laser Treatment
Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion can help improve the appearance of scars over time. These procedures exfoliate the top layers of skin, helping to remove the outermost layers of the scar. Laser resurfacing treatments and laser therapy can help reduce the appearance of scars but can't completely remove them. Another treatment that can help reduce the appearance of scars and damaged skin is chemical peels.
Scars form after an injury as part of your body's natural healing process. Scars never completely disappear -- but they can fade over time.
Need help trying to minimize the appearance of an old scar? Faded from Topicals may help. This powerful gel serum gently fades the look of your most stubborn scars, marks, and spots so you can feel beautiful and confident in your skin.