WHAT ARE SCARS?
Today beautiful skin is clean, faultless and perfectly spotless. Scars interfere with the pictured beauty. They can even cause discomfort – physical and psychological.
- Scars are areas of fibrous tissue (fibrosis) that results from the biological process of wound repair in the skin and other tissues of the body.
- If a wound becomes covered with epithelial tissue within two weeks, minimal collagen will be deposited and no scar will form. Generally, if a wound takes longer than three to four weeks to become covered, a scar will form.
- Scar tissue is exactly the same protein (collagen) as the tissue that it replaces.
- In fibrosis the collagen cross-links and forms an alignment in a single direction instead of a random basket weave formation of the collagen fibers found in normal tissue.
Type of scars – an overview:
Hypertrophic scars (Fig. 1) When much connective tissue forms, scars have a bulging appearance and extend beyond the healthy skin; these are hypertrophic scars. They develop more easily if the healing wound is often under tension. Some people also have an inherited tendency to hypertrophic scars.
Keloids (Fig. 2) Here too, excess connective tissue is the cause of keloids. But these proliferate even further, extend beyond the edge of the scar and are hard and reddened. Keloid scars also cause itching, and are seen mainly in children, young women and dark skinned people.
Atrophic scars (Fig. 3) Sunken scars are called atrophic. In these cases too little connective tissue has formed and the wound is not filled up completely, leaving a recessed area in the skin.