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September 08, 2020
Have you ever looked down at your body as you were getting dressed in the morning or stepping out of the shower only to notice a fresh new scar you don’t remember getting? This is a very common experience for many individuals. While a number of scars may be formed by painful abrasions to the skin that are impossible to look over, other scars seem to appear out of nowhere. So what then is the cause of scars? How are scars formed?
On your skin you have a special layer located below the epidermis called the dermis. The dermis is perhaps the skin’s most important layer, as it contains blood capillaries, sweat glands, hair follicles, and other important structures. While this layer is very powerful, it can also be fragile and easily torn. When the dermis is torn apart from the epidermis, that’s when scars are formed.When this tear occurs you may see a visible wound – the deeper the tear or wound, the more likely it is that it will scar. Once the wound completely heals and a scab is formed over it, the scar will begin to form.
Scars may come in various forms including raised, sunken and pale, stretched, or even pitted. Raised scars are more commonly found in young, darker skinned individuals due to the body’s production of too much collagen. Sunken and pitted scars are usually formed after the body experiences abrasions due to surgery or even from acne related skin issues. Stretched scars are often times the result of the skin suffering from extreme tension. This tension is usually due to major changes in weight or growth of an individual, especially during pregnancy.
There are a few factors that may increase the likelihood that an individual will develop scars. These include their age, skin tone, genetics, hormones, the location of the scars, and other complications. As the body ages, it will take longer for it to heal from tears made to the skin, meaning older individuals are more likely to develop scars due to skin tears. Darker skinned individuals are also more likely to develop noticeable scars due to the pigments in their skin. Joints, specifically those by the shoulders, are more susceptible to scarring and a wound that becomes infected may take longer to heal, which will also increase the risk of scarring. If you find that you have developed a scar or two, don’t fret! There are many treatment options now readily available to help you with your scar management. These include topical gel ointments, steroids, radiotherapy, laser treatments, and in more extreme cases, surgery. Talk with your doctor to learn which method will work best with the treatment of your scars.
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