The ins and outs of scars

Posted on 14 Sep, 2011

Scarring occurs when the skin has been damaged, and is the natural result of the body’s healing mechanism. Scars rarely resemble the skin tissue they replace and can be noticeable. Sometimes, they form abnormally and can be problematic for those who have them.

The two types are:

Keloid scars form when collagen fibres do not follow the typical arrangement, and as a result, the scar can develop beyond the site of the original injury. They tend to have a raised appearance and can grow to a considerable size. This type of scar can form in normal, clean wounds, although adverse wound healing factors can also contribute to their growth. Hypertrophic scarring is raised, like a keloid, and contains excess collagen, too. These scars do remain within the boundaries of the wound, however.

Atrophic scars have a sunken appearance where keloids are raised. The scarring process remains the same: scar tissue is formed, containing collagen fibres for strength and elasticity. Their sunken appearance is generally as a result of loss of tissue or flesh as opposed to a purely surface wound. These scars are commonly caused by skin conditions such as acne, or by surgery or accidents.
Scars can cause distress to those who have them, however, treatment is available that can dramatically improve their appearance.