Our skin is a seamless organ, like a fine piece of cloth protecting valuable assets. Any burn, injury, surgery or other trauma to it can cause the formation of scar tissue that can be downright ugly.
Imagine if you had a fine piece of silk: Even one small tear can make a difference in how it looks. But we're human: Throughout our lives, we will have experiences that nip and tear at our skin, either self-inflicted, or completely out of our control.
A scar isn't so bad if it's small or in a location that's easy to conceal. But often you want a way to treat those scars other than hiding them under clothing.
The truth is this: The scar will never completely go away, but there are some methods that can help reduce its size and appearance.
How Does Scarring Happen?
Scar formation is a natural part of the healing process after injury.
Various factors influence how your skin scars. Of course, the depth and size of the wound or incision and the location of the injury are going to impact the scar's characteristics. But age, heredity, even sex or ethnicity, will all affect how skin reacts.
What Are the Types of Scars?
These are several different types of scars including:
- Keloid scars. These scars are the result of an overly aggressive healing process. These scars extend beyond the original injury. Over time, a keloid scar may affect mobility. Possible treatments include surgical removal, steroid injections, or silicone sheets to flatten the scar. Smaller keloids can be treated using cryotherapy (freezing therapy using liquid nitrogen). You can also prevent keloid formation by using pressure treatment or gel pads with silicone when you sustain an injury. Keloid scars most often occur in those with black skin.
- Contracture scars. If your skin has been burned, you may have a contracture scar, which causes tightening of skin that can impair your ability to move; additionally, this type of scar may go deeper to affect muscles and nerves.
- Hypertrophic scars. Raised and red scars that are similar to keloids, but do not breach the boundaries of the injury site. Possible treatments can include injections of steroids to reduce inflammation or silicone sheets which flatten the scar.
- Acne scars. If you've had severe acne, you probably have the scars to prove it. There are many types of acne scars, ranging from deep pits to scars that are angular or wavelike in appearance. Possible treatments will depend on the types of acne scars you have.
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