We’ve all got scars. Many of us even have stories that go with our scars. You might think they’re cool, or you might want to get rid of them.
At some level, we all know that a scar is a result of an injury to our body. Digging a little more deeply into the topic, though, can help us understand why scars actually occur, and help us know how best to treat scars if you want to minimize their appearance on your skin.
Here’s a crash course in understanding why you get scars on your skin (and what you can do about them) from the expert team at A to Z Dermatology with five locations in Arizona.
Scars form as part of the natural healing process after your skin has been cut or damaged in some way. For a scar to form, the injury has to reach all the way to the dermis, the deep, thick layer of skin. This is why you don’t get a scar from every cut.
After an injury, your skin automatically begins to repair itself by growing new tissue to pull the wound together and fill in any gaps that have been caused by the trauma. This new tissue is primarily made of collagen, a naturally occurring protein in the body.
A scar is usually pink or red at first, and then it becomes slightly lighter or darker than your skin color. Its appearance depends on the type and severity of the injury you sustained, along with the treatment you received. Some scars itch, while others are painful and tender.
Keloid scars are raised above the skin’s surface, and can spread beyond the original wound area, affecting your movement.
Depressed (or atrophic) scars sink below the surface of the skin. This is the type of scar you often get from chicken pox or acne.
You can feel raised (or hypertrophic) scars when you run your finger over them, but they won’t grow and spread like keloids.
Contracture scars often develop after a burn; they cause your skin to tighten and contract.
Stretch marks occur when your skin expands or shrinks very quickly, such as during pregnancy, puberty (as you grow), or during dramatic weight changes.
The best approach to treating your scar will depend on the type and location of your scar, along with any symptoms you may be experiencing. Potential treatments include:
If you have scars you want to minimize, contact one of A to Z Dermatology’s five offices, which are situated to best serve you. We’ll set you up with an initial consultation, where the doctor will determine the most effective treatment for your situation. Don’t delay — let us help you minimize your scars!