Scars – when wounds heal

Scars - when wounds heal

Minor or significant injuries happen to us every day. Be it through accidents, operationsburns or carelessness. Any of these wounds can become an annoying scar. The reason is apparent: In the event of an injury, the body immediately activates a self-healing mechanism to close the wound. Unfortunately, scars often remain as a visible sign.

What happens if the skin is injured?

If an external influence injures the skin, a wound occurs. A wound can arise in different ways; for example

  • through a mechanical injury, for example, through cuts, punctures, crushing or biting injuries
  • by exposure to heat such as burns or scalds
  • chemically, for example, by chemical burns

The body responds to an injury with carefully coordinated steps designed to close the wound and promote healing. Complete healing is possible, for example, with internal organs.


How are scars formed?

In the case of skin wounds, however, the body can only repair them. The resulting “gap” is first closed with a blood clot and then filled with connective tissue from the inside – a scar is formed.

characteristics of a scar

This scar differs in function and appearance from the surrounding skin: 

  • The scar is red at first, later turning white and remaining lighter.
  • Hair, sebaceous, or sweat glands are also not newly formed in the scar tissue.
  • The scar tissue has fewer elastic fibres (collagen), leading to shrinkage and hardening: the scar can pull inwards.
  • The scar tissue also has a lower blood supply and contains less water.

Well-cared-for surgical operation wounds with smooth wound edges that are very close together usually heal quickly and easily. A surgical scar is very small and narrow – almost invisible.


Problematic scars

But healing can be challenging. Wounds in which more significant areas of skin are affected or where the edges of the wound are not smooth and gape widely require a significantly longer healing time. Connective tissue also fills the defect here. A broad, conspicuous and cosmetically unattractive scar often remains.

Some scars cause problems during and after healing: They don’t close properly and become bulging, challenging, and tight. If there is a scar on or above joints, it can pinch and limit mobility.

types of scars

The following types of problematic scars are distinguished:

  • Atrophic scar
  •  The wound heals poorly, and the formation of new connective tissue fibres is not sufficient. A “sunken” scar develops, which lies below the level of the skin (scar deepening).
  • Hypertrophic scar
  •  It occurs shortly after the wound has healed or during its course. There is an overproduction of connective tissue fibres. The scar tends to form a bulge; it rises above the level of the surrounding skin but remains limited to the original area of ​​the injury. Hypertrophic scars can occur if the wound is not immobilized or spared or if an infection also occurs. These scars are often itchy or painful.
  • Scar keloid
  •  It only develops after a long time after the wound has healed due to the substantial overproduction of connective tissue fibres, which continuously increase like crab scissors beyond the wound area into the healthy tissue. Adolescents and young adults of the female sex are particularly affected. Scars on parts of the body that are exposed to excellent skin tension also tend to form keloids. This tendency is relatively often inherited. Furthermore, keloids are about ten times more common in people with dark skin than white skin. Keloid scars often cause itching or pain and are often very red.

scar care

Scarred skin needs attention and must not be neglected. Treatment with ointments, such as Contractubex®, has proven itself for many years.

The sooner the therapy is started after the wound has closed, the more promising the treatment and the results are. Scar therapy is like sports: Only perseverance is rewarded.

But older scars also benefit from effective scar treatment. The scar gel should be applied to the scar several times a day and gently massaged into the tissue. The tissue becomes soft and supple again, and itching and feelings of tension are reduced. Fresh scars must be protected from external irritation and drying out.


Five tips for caring for scars

Note the following scar care tips to help your scars heal better:

  1. Fresh scars should not be exposed to solid temperature stimuli for six months to a year. Intensive sun and UV radiation, solarium, sauna visits, and cold can negatively affect the new, susceptible tissue’s scarring and disturb its regeneration. Undesirable changes in the colour and texture of the skin can also occur. Protect the scar from the effects of the sun with an exceptionally bright preparation.
  2. Avoid wearing tight or abrasive clothing over scarred skin. The scar tissue is more sensitive than healthy skin and can react to such irritations with reddening and hardening.
  3. Be careful not to injure the scar tissue again, for example, with hard shoe edges. A fresh scar can also quickly burst open during sports due to an impact, for example, with a ball. The chances of recovery are less favourable because skin that has already been damaged can no longer regenerate.
  4. Above all, spare scars close to the bone, for example, on the elbow, shinbone or ankle.
  5. Relatively smooth scars on the face, neck or décolleté area can be covered briefly, for example, for one evening, using a targeted make-up technique ( camouflage, French word for veiling).

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