The Scar Healing Process: What You Need to Know

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Don’t you just hate it when it’s beach season and there is a long scar on your legs from where you previously got hurt?  Scars can be an unpleasant sight, but did you know that scars are the body’s way of showing you that you are on the road to recovery? So, how do you get scars, exactly?

Different Types of Scars and the Scar Healing Process

Wounds, burns, surgeries, accidents, stretch marks, and skin diseases can cause scars. Scars can be internal or external. 

The size and look of scars as well as the type of wound determine the healing process of scars. Scars can be flat and pale, hypertophic, keloid, pitted or atrophic, and contracture.

Hypertophic scars and keloids

These are effects of excess collagen at the site of the wound.  They are both red, thick, and above the wound.  They may also cause itchiness. 

Hypertophic scars are limited to the wound area and heals on it owns.  Keloids are raised, rigid, and cover the wound and the immediate area around it.  Genetics can be a factor in keloid scarring, according to research.

Contracture scars

These are the result of burns or other injuries that damage a large section of the skin.  These scars tighten around the wound and can affect a person’s movements.  A deep scar can also affect muscles and nerves.

Pitted scars

These can appear after severe acne or illnesses like chickenpox.  It is best to avoid touching the affected area to limit the appearance of scars.

Three Stages of the Healing Process

The scar healing process has three stages: inflammatory, proliferative, and remodeling.

Inflammatory Stage

This stage lasts a few days. Bleeding stops, new cells are produced, and tissues start to heal.  A scab eventually appears to cover the wound while it heals.

Proliferative Stage

This stage occurs in the next three to four weeks. Fibroblasts or skin-forming cells produce collagen at the wound area to close the opening of the wound. Tiny blood vessels and capillaries also form to help treat the wound.

Final Stage

This stage is the remodeling stage which lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a few years.  At this stage, scars start to fade and become thin.

Treatment is available for those who are bothered by the look of their scars. 

Cosmetic procedures include surgery, steroid injections, cryosurgery, dermabrasion, and silicone gel sheets.  There are also home remedies such as applying Vitamin E, aloe vera, certain oils and massaging the skin.

Benefits of Home Remedies

  • Free
  • Means that your body processes are functioning properly
  • Helps body recover from injuries, surgeries, etc.
  • Prevents further injury from infection

Disadvantages of Home Remedies

  • Permanent
  • Can take years to completely heal
  • Leads to unwanted scarring
  • Can lead to psychological and emotional problems
  • Can encourage expensive cosmetic treatments

The scar healing process is an important function of your body.  Without this process, people would have open wounds and be more susceptible to disease.  Also, people would continue to bleed if certain wounds are not closed by scars.

There are different types of scars based on the cause of the wound.  Scars can also have various sizes, depending on the part of the body that was injured. 

The healing process may be faster or slower due to a person’s health and habits.  Genetics can also contribute to how scars heal.

The scars that result from this healing process are not pleasant to look at.  Luckily, there are ways to minimize the look of scars. 

Cosmetic products and treatments like scar revision and steroid injections can modify the look of scars.  Scar revision is costly and is commonly used on keloids.  Steroid injections are about $150 per scar and helps lessen the scar’s red color and thickness. 

There are also alternative treatments like massaging the scar or an application of Vitamin E.

Final Thoughts

The scar healing process plays a significant role in a person’s recovery from injury and certain illnesses. 

The body cannot do without the scar healing process because it is a way for the body to protect itself from further injuries. 

People cannot avoid the scar that results from this bodily function.  However, individuals can minimize the appearance of scars through cosmetic and alternative treatments.

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