Causes of Scars

Many people ask their doctors, “What causes scars?” The answer is usually quite simple: Your body is healing from an injury, and once a scar appears, your body has just closed a wound. The body has an amazing ability to send healing cells to the site of an open wound, closing it up quickly so that bacteria does not enter the body. If the skin cells were produced exactly as they were before, the wound would take a long time to close. Therefore, the cells that close the wound tend to appear just a little different than those originally in the area.What Causes Scars?

Unfortunately, many people are very self-conscious about scars. It is important to understand that when your skin’s surface sustains an injury and heals, it may never completely go back to its original appearance. The healing cells tend to make a different kind of skin that looks different in color and texture. Some scars are more noticeable than others, but the bottom line is the body is doing its job. Scars are made up of certain proteins and collagen that make up the surface of the skin. The tissue that scars are made of tends to be more sensitive to sunlight, does not generate hair growth, and is different in color than the rest of the skin.

There are many types of treatments to reduce the appearance of scars. Finding the right treatment depends on the type of injury and scar that occurred. While it is impossible to completely get rid of a scar, they do fade, sometimes dramatically. They eventually become smaller and lighter; it just takes time.

What are the Different Types of Scars?

Keloid Scars – Keloid scars come from an overproduction of collagen at the site of a wound after it has healed.

This in turn causes large areas of scar tissue to grow over and outside the area of the original wound. These scars tend to be more common in people with darker skin.

Keloid scars can be treated with steroid injections in the areas of scarring. Steroids are an anti-inflammatory that can reduce the appearance of redness and help with itching.

People who develop keloids need to understand that once they occur, they can occur again in the same area or at the sites of new injuries.

What Causes Scars?Hypertrophic Scars – Hypertrophic scars do not grow outside the borders of the wound bed and tend to heal on their own in a year’s time or more. Hypertrophic scars are tougher and redder than normal scars, and they often need steroids to heal or corrective surgery.

Contracture Scars – When there is a large loss of skin tissue, scars may form that attempt to “pull” the sides of the wound together to close it. The pulling appearance of these scars gives them the name contracture. Most of these types of scars require a cosmetic surgeon to perform a Z-plasty in order to graft new skin or form a flap to correctly close the wound.

Facial Scars – When the face receives a wound that scars it and changes its appearance, surgeons can remove the scar tissue and make a few small stitches to leave a smaller scar. Dermatologists can also perform dermabrasion that softens and leaves the skin smoother. However, facial scars do not completely go away with these treatments.