The skin is a seamless organ and damages to it as a result of burns, sores, cuts and scrapes often lead to formations of scars as part of the healing process. Scars can also result from skin conditions like chicken pox and acne or after surgery. This article will discuss scars in more details. Enjoy the reading. You will buy me a cup of coffee latter – just kidding 🙂
What Are Scars
Scars are areas of fibrous tissue (fibrosis) left on the skin after a wound or injury has healed. Formation of scars (scarring if you like) is part of the natural healing process. Scars manifest themselves as patches on the skin which can be raised, sunken or give the skin a shrunken appearance.
Scars are produced when the dermis layer of the skin is damaged. If only the epidermis (the uppermost layer of the skin) is damaged, it is very unlikely that scarring will take place. In addition to depth of the injury, its location also affects the likelihood of scarring and appearance of the scar and so does other factors such as age, gender, genetic makeup, and the time the wound takes to heal.
Types of Scars – Different Types of Scars
There are different types of scars including:
Keloid scars: These types of scars are the result of excessive production of scar tissues at the site of the wound. In other words, keloid scars are caused by aggressive healing process. They can be caused by factors such as acne, injury, surgery, and body piercings. They typically stretch beyond the boundaries of the wound.
Surgery is usually required to get rid of keloid scars. Steroid injections can also help and so can silicone sheets. A procedure known as Cryotherapy can also be used in cases of smaller keloid scars and this involves using liquid nitrogen to freeze the scar. Dark skinned people are more susceptible to this type of scars.
Contracture scars: this types of scars usually the result of skin tightening and shrinking, normally after sustaining a burn. Contracture scars can restrict movement and may extend deeper into the skin as to affect muscles and nerves.
Hypertrophic scars: These are red, raised scars that look so much like keloid scars except that they don’t extend beyond the boundary of the wound. They can stay along for as long as 5 years. Steroids injection is usually administered to reduce inflammation on such scars. Silicone sheets are also often used to treat them.
Atrophic scars: Otherwise known as pitted or ice-pick scars, these usually have a sunken appearance and are attributed to conditions such as MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) infection, chicken pox and acne. Injuries and surgery can as well cause them. They usually result from the loss of underlying structures that support the skin particularly muscles and fat.
Of all these, hypertrophic and keloid scars are the most common types of scars. Scars can form both outside (e.g. when the skin gets injured) and inside the body (e.g. due to a cut made on an internal organ during surgery) depending on the underlying cause. Some area of the body e.g. shoulders, back, chest, and ear lobe however tend to scar more easily than the others.
Formation of scars is however an unpredictable phenomenon that varies from one person to another.
Types of Scars Pictures
We know the value of a picture in as far as the “thousand words” context is concerned and we wouldn’t do this article any justice without including several pictures (or photos for the sake of the semantics minded amongst us 🙂 ) so here are numerous photos showcasing the various types of scars. Compare them with the scar that found a home on your skin to determine what category it belongs to.
Images: Keloid Scar, Hypertrophic Scar, Contracture Scar, Atrophic scar
Types of Scars on Face
The face is the most visible part of the body and when a scar forms on the face, it is usually very conspicuous. Unfortunately the face can get a scar due to a whole range of factors that cause it to sustain a wound(s).
one such factor Is injuries and accidents such as when someone knocks his face against the wall or falls down and scratches his/her face against the ground or tarmac (ouch!). Injuries to the face often lead to hypertrophic scars but can as well lead to keloid scars.
Acne is another common cause of scars on the face. Acne is usually associated with atrophic scars which have a pitted or sunken look. Just steal a glance at someone who has suffered from acne and notice how their skin is typically not that smooth.
Burns and scalds can as well lead to facial scars. This can happen when someone’s face accidentally comes into contact with hot water or objects, or chemicals. Contracture scars are the type of scar commonly associated with burns on the face (or on any other part of the body for that matter).
Types of Scar Tissue
What are the different types of scar tissues seems like a commonly asked question. Well, although there are four types of scars, namely, keloid, hypertrophic, atrophic and contracture scars –all of which we have already discussed in this article – all scars are attributed to collagen.
When the skin is injured e.g. due to a cut, the resulting breakage in the body’s tissues triggers an increased production of a type of protein called collagen in attempt to heal the wound. The build up of collagen in the area where tissues have been damaged helps to strengthen and heal the wound.
For a period of 3 months or more since the injury, the body continues to produce new collagen and blood circulation into the damaged area of the skin is increased.
This makes the scar to get red, raised and lumpy but later on, some of the collagen at the point of scarring breaks down and the flow of blood into the area also reduces which makes the scar to get gradually paler, flatter, and softer. Although often permanent, scars can fade gradually over a period of a couple years.