The scar from when you fell off your bike as a child, from a recent car accident, from a surgery or even from acne may be a constant and painful reminder of events you'd rather forget. While you may not feel any physical pain from these wounds, scars can make you feel self-conscious or embarrassed, particularly if they are located on exposed skin.
The good news is dermatologists now have many treatments available to significantly reduce the appearance of scars, no matter what their cause was!
Scars are an abnormal healing response of the skin to injury, resulting in atrophic scars, which are skin depressions, or hypertrophic scars and keloids, which are elevated. The larger the surface area of skin affected, the greater the chance of a noticeable scar. Scars occur with equal frequency in men and women, although they most often develop between the ages of 10 and 30. While scars can be disfiguring physically, psychologically or both, significant itching and burning can also accompany hypertrophic scars and keloids.
How Do Scars Form?
Scars form when the dermis--the deep, thick layer of skin--is damaged. The body forms new collagen fibers to mend the damage, resulting in a scar. The new scar tissue will have a different texture and quality than the surrounding tissue. Scars typically form after a wound is completely healed.
There are a variety of different kinds of scars, but most are flat and pale. However, in cases when the body produces too much collagen, scars can be raised. Raised scars are more common in younger and dark-skinned people. Some scars can even have a sunken or pitted appearance, which occurs when underlying structures supporting the skin are lost. Some surgical scars may have this appearance, as do some scars formed from acne.
By visiting your dermatologist, you can better understand your scars and the treatments available to help diminish their appearance.