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Every time you injure your skin, it will immediately start to repair itself.

How do we scar?



 
A scar is a permanent mark on your skin left by a healed wound. It is the result of the normal wound healing process after skin tissue is injured. The body produces collagen to reconnect tissues which are broken apart by an injury. Scars consist of flexible and strong collagen tissue which is formed during said repair process of the skin. Immature scars can have a reddish color and are usually raised, itchy and might be slightly painful. A normal mature scar develops later on during the maturation phase. The scar will become flattened and more pale in color, e.g. white or silver, but it will not fully disappear. You will be left with a mark on your skin. The whole scarring process can take up to 2 years to conclude.

 

In some cases, scars can become problematic or abnormal. They do not heal to become a fine line but remain visibly different to the surrounding skin in size, color, contour and texture. Several varieties of abnormal scars exist and include types such as hypertrophic scars and keloids.
From wounds to scars


After you injure yourself, the wound will be slightly red and warm due to the instant reparation process initiated by your skin. After a while you will develop a scab which protects the wound while it is healing. Eventually this scab falls off and you might or might not be left with a scar. The highly complex reparation process of your skin can be categorized into three main phases: inflammation phase, proliferation phase and maturation phase. It can be categorized in three main phases: inflammation, proliferation and maturation.

Inflammatory phase

Proliferation phase

Maturation phase

 
2

Inflammatory phase

The body’s first response to an injury is the inflammatory phase. The blood vessels in the wound bed contract and a blood clot is formed. Once the bleeding has stopped the blood vessels dilate again to let mostly white blood cells, and other essential cells pass through to reach the wound. There they start to repair the damaged tissue. This stage is where you can observe the typical signs of the inflammatory phase: a reddened skin (erythema), heat, oedema and pain. A scab forms on top of the wound within the first few days.

Proliferation phase

The proliferation phase follows shortly after the inflammatory phase. This is where the wound is repaired with so called granulating tissue which mostly consists of collagen. Fibroblasts are the active cells that produce the flexible and tough collagen fibers to provide strength and structure within the granulating tissue. Blood vessels also form in this newly built tissue and bring oxygen and nutrients to the cells in the reconstructive work and remove waste products from the wound. At this stage, the epidermis begins to close on top of the wound. In addition to this, the edges of the wound are gradually being pulled together and the wound becomes smaller.

Maturation phase

Several weeks after the proliferation phase the maturation phase begins. The longest and final phase of the wound healing process can take up to two years to conclude. The capillaries (blood vessels), which are no longer needed, begin to thin out. The collagen of the proliferation phase is replaced by a much stronger type of collagen and the wound continues to contract. At the end of the maturation phase the wound is permanently sealed with collagen scar tissue which has little of the cell activity present than regular skin.

Inflammatory phase

The body’s first response to an injury is the inflammatory phase. The blood vessels in the wound bed contract and a blood clot is formed. Once the bleeding has stopped the blood vessels dilate again to let mostly white blood cells, and other essential cells pass through to reach the wound. There they start to repair the damaged tissue. This stage is where you can observe the typical signs of the inflammatory phase: a reddened skin (erythema), heat, oedema and pain. A scab forms on top of the wound within the first few days.