Think of your skin as the finest silk, a fine cloth that is designed to cover many of your most valuable organs. Skin has been designed to be seamless, so as not to allow harmful foreign objects have access to our sensitive internal body parts.
Now, imagine the same smooth silk with small tears on it and you can picture the massive difference on how that looks compared to a flawless one. It’s the same scenario with our skin. Burns, wounds, and other forms of trauma, including surgery, can produce scars.
People have different kinds of scars. Some of them are not all that ugly, especially those that smartly appear in concealed parts of the body. But when they do appear, you may want to look for ways to treat it or at the very least, slow its growth instead of hiding it behind clothes. In reality, scars will not entirely disappear. However, there are ways that can aid in the reduction of its size and effectively alter its look.
How Do We Get Scars?
Note that scarring is an expected stage of the healing process after an injury has occurred. Its appearance and treatment rely on a number of factors.
The extent of the wound and its location are two important factors that can directly affect the manner with which it can be treated. So does the patient’s age, genetics, gender, and even ethnicity.
Most Common Types of Scars
Contracture scars. Scars that appear when a burned skin has healed. These scars make the skin tighter, which can affect one’s capacity to move. Contracture scars can sometimes go beyond the skin, affecting nerves and muscles.
Keloid scars. When the body has an overly aggressive healing system, the scars have the potential to extend further than the actual injury. In time, a keloid scar may impede movement. These scars can be removed via surgery with silicone sheets to squash the scar and to induce steroid injections.
Small keloids are usually treated by freezing these with liquid nitrogen or cryotherapy. Keloid formation can also be prevented by applying gel pads with silicone whenever you are injured. People with dark skin are prone to keloids.
Acne scars. Severe breakouts can produce acne scars. There are various types of acne scars, beginning with angular scars that look like waves and deep pits. The efficacy of treatment depends on the types of acne scars you have.
It is the last type of scars which we would like to delve on. The question is, how do we get acne scars?
Even with the most meticulous cleaning method, one can still develop scars. However, not all acne scars are the same. By large, there are two categories of acne scars:
1. Atrophic or caused by the loss of tissue
2. And hypertrophic or caused by an excess of tissue
Under these categories, here are some of the most common types of acne scarring:
1. Boxcar Scars. These are oval in shape and they appear as concave abrasions on the skin. They are usually located on the temple and cheeks.
2. Rolling Scars. They are wave-like in shape. Rolling scars are formed because of the bands underneath the skin and the subcutaneous tissue, which keeps the epidermis in place. The process distorts the top skin and ultimately causes a scar.
3. Ice-Pick Scars. This is considered as the most common type of acne scar. However, in extreme cases, ice-pick scars can become big, open pore-like skin abrasions. These kinds of scars are seen during persistent acne manifestations or right after a cyst has developed.
4. Dark Acne Marks. This refers to acne that has been inflamed causing the darkening of the skin. This odd coloration is known as PIH or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and it usually comes with acne.
Most acne scars are the result of a swollen lesion such as a cyst, papule, or pustule. They appear when our skin pores are filled with dead skin cells, excess oil, and bacteria. The pores puff out, causing a fracture on the skin wall. If the crack appears near the skin’s surface, the acne is usually slight and it will heal fast. Larger and more serious abrasions appear when there is a deep break in the skin wall. The infected material attempts to come out of the skin, and then the process rupture healthy skin tissue.
The body starts to work in repairing the damage on the skin and it does so using new collagen fibers. Collagen is the fiber that provides the skin its flexibility and strength. Regrettably, the repair job will not look as even and faultless as prior to the skin breakout.
There are times when body manufactures excess collagen, and this produces a mass of elevated tissue on the top of the skin. This type of scarring is called referred to as hypertrophic.
In most cases, acne leads to depressed or atrophic scars. Atrophic scars form when there is a deficiency of tissues. Ice pick scars are perfect samples of atrophic scars.
The extent of scar development is usually measured by the level of inflammation it attains. The bigger the inflammation on the skin, the greater the possibility of scarring can happen. Massive breakouts that heal slowly can also boost the chances of scarring. On the other hand, whiteheads, blackheads, and other minor types of blemishes generally do not lead to scarring since these types of lesions do not totally damage skin tissue.
Always try to avoid the temptation to pick and squeeze acne. Every time you do that, you are forcing fragments or debris deeper into the skin where this can lead to infection of other tissues. When this happens, the inflammation can only worsen.
You should also refrain from picking at scabs. The scab is the body’s natural “bandage” which covers the wound as it heals. Removing a scab off a wound before it is ready delays the healing process and boosts the chances of scarring.
And lastly, always keep your body clean.