Accidents always happen. Be it a child hitting their head on the corner of a table or an adult scraping themselves just a bit too hard, the unfortunate truth is that these kinds of accidents — and their subsequent scars — are a reality we often have to face. Some scars end up being non-problematic, either miniscule in size and appearance or just out of view. Others can cause serious inconvenience to those wearing them for the same reasons or otherwise, so it’s important to know what steps you can take to fight these more inconvenient markings from making a significant impact on your appearance or your life. Here are some ways to look out for potential scarring and how to handle it if it happens to you.
Scars may come across as nothing more than an inconvenience that happen by chance, but they’re very normal and crucial to the body’s healing process. Whenever the skin is injured, your body produces collagen at an extremely heightened rate in an attempt to close up whatever opening or imperfection has formed. However, the healing material made up of this collagen doesn’t contain the other normal parts of skin, so it ends up looking different as it forms around the wound.
How a scar looks in the end is contingent upon a multitude of other factors, though. The shape, size, and depth of the wound or injury incurred plays a big role in how the scar forms, as every step of the treatment and healing process shapes the tissue that is working to fix you. A bigger wound by surface area will end up looking quite different from the skin around it; likewise, a longer or skinnier wound with some depth will also end up looking fairly different, as the intensity of the production of collagen necessary to completely heal the wound will be up to par with a larger-looking injury. The amount of blood that can get to the area, your skin color, and the thickness of your skin will also play significant roles in the final look of the healed scar.
There are three main types of scars. “Normal” scars are usually fairly thin, small, and flat on the body. They’re the ones that form as naturally to the skin as scars come, and can end up being almost unnoticeable. Hypertrophic scars, on the other hand, are usually red, thick, and raised from the skin. Those usually form around deeper wounds, as the excess collagen being produced inside of the wound builds up and sometimes exceeds the injury’s need. Keloid scars often look similar to hypertrophic scars and are also red, thick, and raised, but usually form darker and can expand beyond the contours of the wound. For that reason, keloid scars tend to be more unpredictable or hard to control, and are sometimes hereditary. It’s best to get keloid scars checked out and treated by a medical professional.
Scar Prevention and Treatment
Despite the necessity of scarring for the body’s natural healing process, there are ways to stay on top of that process to minimize the appearance and inconvenience of scarring. The best way to do so is to allow the body to do as little work as possible to heal. First is identifying the kind of wound or injury you’ve incurred — if it’s an open wound or otherwise relatively sizeable, it’s wise to go to a medical professional and get stitches. It’s important to stitch wounds as early into the healing process as possible, as doctors worry about germs and bacteria entering the wound and causing infection when closed. It’s also incrementally difficult to stitch a wound once it has already begun to heal partially, so if you’re ever unsure of whether or not an injury will require stitching, it’s best to take a trip to the doctor to find out. It’s also helpful to keep the wound as moist as possible while it’s healing and to make sure it’s clean. In addition, doing things like massaging the wound with vitamin E can help encourage the body to form a less visible scar.
There are also various products and healing solutions out there that advertise the ability to lessen the impact of scarring on wounds. Unfortunately, most products fall short of being able to actually prevent or reduce visible scarring; however, some products work with the body’s healing process and provide nutrients and supplements that can aid the body in its fixing. Delta-5 by SciaEssentials, for example, uses a concentrated oil made from conifer seeds to fight inflammation. This can lessen the final size and appearance of the scar, working with the body to create a more efficient healed patch. Doing things like overusing hydrogen peroxide to clean the wound, however, can actually slow or impede the healing process by causing too much irritation, so it’s important to make attempts to work with your body instead of against it.
Scarring may be one of the more inconvenient byproducts of the human body’s natural processes and can cause some people serious stress. In the event of injury, it’s important to remember how crucial the body’s healing process is and how important it is to guide that along as smoothly as possible. This can not only help prevent intense or apparent scarring after injuries, but can help your body get back into pique shape as soon as possible afterward.