Burning, surgery, acne or other skin injuries can cause scarring. The formation of scars is a natural process that occurs in the healing of injured tissue. A scar is different from the surrounding skin in its function and appearance.
Initially, the affected skin is red. Ideally, at the end of the healing process, only a pale contour can be seen. But there are often unsightly scars that accompany you for a lifetime. Scars not only restrict freedom of movement, but cause many people to cosmetic impairments. Clearly, scars are often found to be particularly disturbing on well-visible parts of the body. Especially in the summer months, the suffering is very great for some sufferers, because they are ashamed of their scar. However, there are now successful methods in scar treatment that support the wound healing process and thus help to improve the appearance of existing or developing scars.
What influences the appearance of a scar?
Various factors, such as age, skin type, hereditary factors, location of the scar and wound infection affect the development and appearance of a scar.
Age: The older a person is, the slower a wound heals. In children or younger people, on the other hand, the skin tends to overreact, producing more connective tissue than required. This results in larger, thicker scars.
Hereditary factors / skin type: The predisposition to conspicuous scarring can also be hereditary. Scar location: Scars that are either over or near the shoulder, back and joints are subject to greater tension. As a result, they tend to be stronger or more visible.
Wound Infections: Wound infections or inflammation increase the likelihood of conspicuous scarring. In the scar tissue hair, sebum or sweat glands are not re-formed because the scar tissue has less elastic fibers (collagen) than the normal skin and this can lead to a shrinkage and hardening of the affected area.
Depending on the wound healing and the cause, a distinction is made in medicine between 3 different types of scar.
Atrophic scar (sunken scar)
In this type of scar, the wound heals badly, as the formation of new connective tissue fibers is insufficient. The result is a so-called “sunken”, dimpled scar, which is below the skin level. These forms are often left behind by acne.
Hypertrophic scar (bulging scar)
Hypertrophic scars develop either shortly after wound healing or during their course. This leads to an overproduction of connective tissue fibers. The scar arches up and is higher than the surrounding skin level. It comes to a beading, which is limited to the wound area. Hypertrophic scars often occur after skin injuries (severe burns, …). Above all, they can occur even if the wound is not rested or spared, or if an additional infection occurs. As such, ragged scars are not dangerous, but they cause itching at the scarring site. They are not pretty to look at and can get very tall. In addition, it is possible that the scar is further darkened (eg by too much sunshine). You should see a doctor if the scar is growing strongly. This can be a sign of cancer and must be medically clarified. In a biopsy, a tissue sample is taken and examined for cancer cells. Sometimes hypertrophic scars spontaneously return after a few months.
Scar skeleton (proliferating scars)
Keloids are characterized by proliferating scar tissue, beyond the scar. This type of scar is flat, rough, bulging, very red and often causes itching or pressure pain. The scar shape usually arises only after completion of wound healing. Due to a strong overproduction of connective tissue fibers keloids get their characteristic shape. Especially adolescents and young adults of the female sex are often affected.
Scar Treatment – What can you do?
Which treatment is right for a scar is best decided by the doctor. Depending on the nature of the scar, a variety of treatment options are available for appropriate therapy. These include lasers, surgery, injections, cryotherapy, sanding, compression bandages, silicone gel sheets / pads, and gels and ointments. Sometimes cortisone injections are injected directly into the scar tissue over several weeks to keep the scar flat.
Scar ointment and scargel
Treatment of the scar with scar-gel and scar-ointment may be started when the edges of the wound are completely closed or the threads have been removed.
Treatment of the scar with scar-gel and scar-ointment may be started when the edges of the wound are completely closed or the threads have been removed. The active ingredients onion extract (Extractum cepae), heparin and allantoin or dexpanthenol reduce redness, have anti-inflammatory and moisturizing, loosen scar tissue, relieve pain and itching and prevent the growth of excess connective tissue. These two treatment options are given over several weeks, at least 2 times a day, on the affected skin and gently massaged. Especially with the scar gel both fresh and older scars can be treated. Due to regular scar care, the scar loses its circumference, becomes paler and less noticeable. Scar gel and scar cream can only be prescribed by a doctor and are available at the pharmacy.
Another effective treatment option is so-called scar plaster (eg Contractubex Intensive Patch), available from the pharmacy. These patches can be used on existing scars as well as preventively to aid in the healing process and prevent the formation of a hypertrophic scar. Scar patches consist of a breathable and water vapor permeable material and thus create a skin climate in the scar area that stimulates the metabolic processes and promotes the renewal of the tissue. By exerting light pressure on the scar, scar patches reorganize the tissue, making it more elastic. After wound healing has been completed, they are glued to the affected area of the skin and must be left there for at least twelve hours. The treatment usually takes place over a period of about two to three months.
Natural home remedies for scars
In addition to many medical treatments, there are also a lot of effective natural remedies. Some examples include aloe vera, vitamin E oil, lavender oil, cocoa butter, olive oil and tomatoes. Lemon juice helps to whiten and lighten the scar. In addition, the citric acid supports the renewal of the scar tissue. The juice is applied to the scar for 10 minutes. This should be done twice a day and over a period of several weeks. The acids contained in apple cider vinegar help to remove the dead skin on scars and promote the regeneration of the skin. After 15 minutes, the vinegar is washed off the skin. Honey is a well-tried home remedy, because honey is a natural moisturizer that helps to heal scar tissue or prevent scarring. The honey is massaged in for a few minutes, left on the scar for one hour and then rinsed off. This is used twice daily and helps the skin regenerate naturally.
What you should consider yourself!
You should pay particular attention at the beginning that the scar is not exposed to strong temperature stimuli!
Extreme sunshine, solarium, sauna or strong cold weather can negatively affect tissue formation. Avoid direct sunlight!
Choosing the right garments is especially important for fresh scars so that the delicate scar tissue is not irritated or injured by tight-fitting fabric.
- You can do sports, but it’s the same as with stretching and strengthening exercises: be careful in the execution, so as not to strain the scar tissue!
- Drinking a lot prevents dry skin and keeps it healthy.
- Avoid scratching the scar – even if it itches!
- Keep the scar dry and make sure it gets enough “air”.
Talk to a doctor about possible scar treatments: A doctor will also give you more tips to help your scar not be visible.