What is a Scar?
Scars occur due to cuts or wounds. Small cuts and wounds have unnoticeable scar tissue. A scar is made of tissue with a fibrous content. The fibers of collagen in scar tissue form in a single direction. This growth formation makes a scar more visible. The original skin surface develops in a basket weave pattern. The new skin of a scar will not have hair follicles or sweat glands. The scar tissue can easily become sunburned. When skin is injured it should receive immediate medical treatment. Scars are usually less visible when they heal quickly. Large cuts can take months to completely heal. A large skin injury is more likely to have a visible scar. Age, health and genetics of individuals cause a difference in the healing process.
Various Types of Scars
There are different types of skin scars. Stretch marks often happen during pregnancy due to rapid weight gain. Overweight people can also develop stretch marks. An atrophic scar has a pitted and sunken appearance. These scars are a result of accidents, surgery and infections. People who had chickenpox may have these sunken scars. Some types of severe acne can cause atrophic scars. Too much collagen in the body may result in a hypertrophic scar. Hypertrophic scars often develop following a serious wound. A large red lump will appear on the skin near the healed wound.
Keloid scars are a more serious form of hypertrophic scars. People with darker skin pigment get keloid scars more often. These types of skin scars can be seen easily by others due to the overgrowth of collagen fibers. Patients may complain of pain from keloid scars. Sometimes keloid scars create an itchy sensation for patients. The scars are not dangerous. Any type of skin wound can develop a keloid scar. The chest and shoulder skin is especially vulnerable to keloid scarring. The appearance of this type of scarring becomes a cosmetic issue for many individuals.
Dermatologists and Scars
A dermatologist can help patients reduce the appearance of scars. This health care professional specializes in skin treatments. A person with scars should be examined by a dermatologist. This medical professional will recommend the best treatment for the scars. Atrophic scars can become less visible with injections of collagen filler. These filler injections raise the pitted atrophic scars to the level of the surrounding skin. Some scars can be reduced in appearance by using dermabrasion. Dermabrasion uses a mechanical device to gently remove skin from the scar. A chemical peel can be applied to the surface of the scar. This will help exfoliate the scar tissue. Laser therapy can also improve the texture of scars to decrease their visibility.
Peter Wendt is a writer and researcher working from his home in Austin, TX. He recently underwent a procedure to reduce the appearance of a large scar he received after a childhood accident. Wendt found the New York dermatology center, Vanguard Dermatology, to be a great resource before he underwent his own treatment.