What are Scars?
Scars are a natural part of the healing process after injury. They are actually growths of collagen (protein) that form beneath the skin as a result of acne, wound, cut, burn, injury or surgery to the skin. Collagen consists of fibers that strengthen the layer of skin beneath the surface. When the skin is injured, the collagen that is produced becomes thicker.
It is this thickness that causes the scar to form. Scars come in all shapes and sizes, and usually take approximately 18 months to mature. Newly formed scars are usually red, dark and raised. Over time, they become pale and flatter. Scars will never disappear completely and tiny traces will always remain no matter what treatment is used.
There are different types of scars and these include:
- Keloid scars are described as "the scars that do not know when to stop". They enlarge above the original injury. These types of scars are tough looking and heaped-up in appearance and affect mobility. Cryotherapy, pressure treatment or gel pads are used to treat keloid scars.
- Contracture scars usually occur if your skin has been burned. The skin tightens and may affect your ability to move. It may also affect your muscles and nerves.
- Hypertrophic scars are similar to keloid scars but do not affect the boundaries of the injured area. They are raised and red in appearance.
- Acne scars usually develop as a result of severe acne. There are various types of acne scarring such as deep pits, box car scars and rolling scars. Deep pits are the most common and a classic symptom of acne scarring. Box car scars are angular scars that develop on the cheeks and temple. They resemble chickenpox scars and may be superficial or deep. Rolling scars give the skin a wave-like appearance.
What Causes Scars?
Scars develop as a result of the healing process after injury. Various factors such as age, genetics, sex, and ethnicity contribute to how the skin heals and reacts. The depth, size of the wound or incision and location of the injury affects the formation of the scar.
Scars are based on a simple visual examination. Your doctor or dermatologist will ask you a few questions such as how long has the scarring been present, is the scar flat or raised, is the scar painful or is it a result of an injury.
Help for Scars
Scars cannot be removed completely and traces will always be left on the skin. For scars to heal effectively, it is very important not to scratch or squeeze scabs, wounds or acne. There are several treatment options that can improve the appearance of a scar and make it less visible. Over-the-counter or prescription ointments, creams or gels are often used to treat scars that develop as a result injuries, wounds or surgical incisions.
Sometimes corticosteroids or antihistamine creams are administered for scars that may cause itching. Scar plasters are sticking plasters that may help to reduce or soften the scar. In cases where scarring is a result of severe acne, your doctor or dermatologist may use pressure treatings or silicone gel sheetings to treat scars. For protruding scars such as keloids or hypertronic, steroid injections may be used. Collagen injections may also be helpful in treating pitted scars but are only a
More and more people are looking for natural and holistic ways to heal scars from acne, chicken pox, injury or surgery. While some topical creams and medical procedures such as dermabrasion and laser resurfacing may lessen the appearance of scarring, they are often very costly and harmful to the skin.
Natural treatments such as herbal remedies are less invasive and gentle to use on the skin. Herbs such as Galium aperine (Cleavers) and Trifolium pratense (red clover) have a wide range of therapeutic benefits that act as a cleansing tonic, blood purifier and lymphatic cleanser. Homeopathic ingredients such as Natrium muriaticum, Kalium muriaticum and Kalium sulphate help to maintain skin health and support the regenerative processes of the skin.