When an injury is sustained, the skin immediately begins the process of trying to repair the damage. This process may eventually result in a scar, but that is just the final stage in a series of events as the body ‘patches’ the break in the skin:
• Of course, the first thing we see once the blood begins to clot is the formation of a scab over the site of the wound.
• The clot provides a provisional matrix that will be instrumental in the healing process. The body tissues produce collagen within this provisional matrix, turning it into a dense collagen matrix.
• Fibroblasts gradually form the scar tissue, with large quantities of thick collagen sticking to the fibres.
• As the collagen scar tissue forms, the quantity and density of collagen produced results in a tissue that is uneven in appearance and stiffer than healthy skin tissue.
• The formation of scar tissue is usually accompanied by inflammation and the scar can therefore appear red for some time. This colour can fade with time, although this can take years to occur.
Of course, the appearance of a scar will depend on the size and severity of the skin injury. Laser scar treatment can offer an improved appearance if a scar causes distress or embarrassment.