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 scar 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 acne
- Stretch marks are another form of scar that appears after rapid growth of skin, as can occur during pregnancy.
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 treatments such as DermaScar.1