About Scars


Forming a scar is a normal part of the healing process. It is the body’s natural way of repairing and strengthening damaged skin.2 When an injury to the skin goes deeper than the top layer of skin (the epidermis) into the middle layer (the dermis) a scar may be formed as part of the healing process.16 Anything that can damage skin can lead to the formation of a scar such as:1

Infections, for example following chicken pox Trauma or injuries, for example following an accidental cut, a fall, burns or surgery

Inflammation, for example due to certain types of acneStretch marks are another form of scar that appears after rapid growth of skin, as can occur during pregnancy.9

The more the skin is damaged and the longer it takes to heal, the greater the chance of a noticeable scar being formed.5 Also the more tension or pulling there is around the damaged skin the higher the chance of a scar forming. This is common if the damaged skin is on or near a joint that is always moving such as a knee or elbow.2,5

A scar is different to normal skin. It is made of different materials (mainly collagen) and has a different structure to normal skin. 1

When scars are first formed they can appear red, thick and raised. Even though scars are permanent, during the healing process (that can take up to 2 years to complete) the scar may gradually become smoother, softer and paler.2 The appearance of a scar can be visually improved with silicone based treatments such as DermaScar.1

Common Types of Scars


    These are the most common type of scar, occurring as a result of normal healing. At first these scars may be red, dark and raised, but over time (up to 2 years) they will tend to become paler and flatter.2


    These scars are sunken down into the skin, looking like a valley or pick-hole in the skin. It is like some of the inner layers of the skin are missing causing this sunken appearance.5 Atrophic scars are often caused by inflammation as can occur with acne or infections such as chicken pox4,5,12 Sometimes this type of scar is formed following an injury where there is a loss of tissue under the skin.4,5,12


    Are usually red or purple and are raised above the surrounding skin. These scars are due to an over production of collagen and normally form along the site of the wound, for example following surgery. These scars sometimes fade and become flatter over time, but can remain discoloured and raised for a number of years.2,4


    These are very elevated red or dark scars that form when the body produces too much collagen. They often spread larger than the area of the original injury and can continue to become larger even after the original wound is fully healed.2,4


    These types of scars are caused by the skin shrinking and tightening during the repair process. Contracture scars often happen after a burn and end up pulling the skin in towards the site of the injury. This can make the skin look puckered around the wound.2,4


    These scars appear after rapid growth of the skin, such as occurs during pregnancy.9 Here the scar is sunken a little into the skin. The most common locations for stretch marks are around the abdomen (or belly), breasts, upper arms, underarms, back, thighs, hips and buttocks.9

Caring for Scars

It is not possible to prevent scars from forming,16 but there are some things that can be done to make your scar less visible and help the healing process.2

  • When an injury first occurs, clean the dirt from the wound.
  • Try not to scratch and pick at scabs.
  • Once the wound has healed, use DermaScar regularly.

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