Scars

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Scars facts

  • Scars always occur when tissues have been significantly damaged and repaired.
  • Cutaneous scars produce changes that disturb the physical architecture of normal skin.
  • Scars can occur after physical trauma or as part of a disease process.
  • Poorly controlled wound healing can result in thick, unsightly scars that cause symptoms.
  • There is a genetic predisposition in some people to produce thicker, itchy, enlarging scars called keloids.
  • Scarring in areas of increased skin tension or movement tend to be unsightly.
  • When wounds are produced surgically, physicians utilize techniques to minimize scarring.

What is a scar?

Scarring is the process by which wounds are repaired. Damage to the deeper layer of the skin, the dermis, is required to produce a scar. Damage to only the epidermis, the most superficial layer of skin, will not produce a scar. Scars produce a structural change in the deeper layers of the skin which is perceived as an alteration in the architecture of the normal surface features. It is not just a change in skin color.

What are the different types of scars?

There is only one type of scar. The appearance of a scar depends on the nature of the wound that produced the damage, the anatomical location of the wound, and a variety of genetic factors that are different for each individual.

A defective healing process can result in a keloid, an unsightly, itchy, thick, red, knobby bump that often continues to enlarge over time. Keloids often are larger than the margins of the original wound.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/7/2013

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