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Healing and Scar Surfaces
The skin is constantly in a state of growth and as a result whenever we experience wounds, surgical incisions or cuts, the skin can repair itself. This healing process is what creates scarring and they come in all shapes and sizes. Scars never usually disappear completely. They fade and usually shrink for most people but in some cases they can be a constant reminder of the past.
What is a scar?
Collagen is the material that grows beneath the surface of your skin during the process of healing. This means that any cut or puncture mark will form a scar. A doctor’s objective is to facilitate the healing process in such a way that the scar is invisible or as small as possible. There are many factors involved in determining the size and shape of scar, some of these include the scar’s location, nutrition, infection, and even genetics. It takes approximately 12 to 18 months for a scar to heal. Some scars are not a direct result of cutting the surface of the skin. Some types of fungus, viruses or bacteria can lead to scarring. Acne and stretch marks are two other common examples. When the scar first forms, it has a reddish glow to it and it is often raised. As the healing progresses the scar will become white and flat. It can take as long as 2 years for a scar to fully mature.
Type of Scars
There are three main categories of scarring: hypertropic, keloidal and atrophic. Hypertropic scars tend to cause the healing process to rise above the skin’s surface. Keloid scars are usually raised and expand beyond the boundaries of the original wound. Atropic scarring occurs when there is a depression created in the skin such as stretch marks.
There are a variety of treatments available that will not eliminate the scar altogether but will make it less visible. Surgery is the most effective with atrophic scars but laser therapy yields better results with hypertrophic scars. If a wound is recent sometimes your doctor will use injections of Triamcinolone, in order to prevent the build-up of collagen that generates the scar tissue. It not only prevents the formation of collagen, it stimulates its reabsorption.
It is now conclusive that vitamin E is not effective in scar reduction, neither is Aloe Vera, although it can reduce the redness. Using either of these products will not hurt the scars healing process, but delay using them for at least 2 weeks after the wound occurs.
Those who are More Vulnerable
Some studies suggest that people who have a darker shade of skin are more likely to develop keloids than people with a lighter shade. Any other medical problems you have at the time of your injury could impact the healing process of the scar. If the wound is not properly cared for it could heal improperly leading to additional scarring. If you reinjure the wound area before it has had a chance to heal then this could also lead to more scarring. If you are concerned about scarring, the best thing to do is seek advice from a medical expert in your area.