Why do we scar?

Scars are the end point of the normal healing process after skin tissue has been broken (with the exception of the most superficial scratches or smallest punctures). Injury to any tissue, whether it is by accident, surgery or disease, initiates a complex but carefully coordinated series of responses. These help to clear damaged cells and other unwanted elements, protect viable tissues and to reconstitute the area. The basic mechanisms are the same for all tissues. Variations occur according to the structure and function of the individual tissue.

In theory the ideal end point of the wound healing process would be total regeneration, with the new tissue having the same structural, aesthetic, and functional attributes as the original uninjured skin.

However, experts postulate that wound healing is evolutionarily optimized for speedy healing under dirty conditions. A rapid and complex mix of inflammatory markers and bio chemicals allows the skin to heal quickly to prevent infection and future wound complications. A scar may therefore be the price we pay for evolutionary survival after wounding.1

Normal mature scars

In most cases the final stage of wound healing is a normal mature scar. These scars have undertaken several stages of collagen building and remodeling until they appear normal in color, are no longer elevated, have no itching or pain properties and are no longer “active”. This process can normally take between 1 to 3 months. Although several new drugs and techniques are in various stages of development, there is currently no proven way to completely prevent or remove a scar.

Abnormal scars

In some cases scars can become problematic or abnormal. Abnormal scars do not resolve to a fine line but remain visibly different to the surrounding skin in size, color, contour and texture2. These pathological scars, such as hypertrophic scars and keloids are more common in particular skin types, in people prone to abnormal scaring and for individuals with a family history of severe scarring. They are also more commonly associated with hormonal fluctuations such as during puberty or pregnancy and with severe trauma, major burns or secondary wound healing (slow and problematic wound closure).

Strataderm is effective in treating active scars both old and new, and in the prevention of abnormal or pathological scaring (such as hypertrophic scars and keloids). The desired outcome is not to remove the scar completely but to assist the skin, in a safe and non-invasive way, to produce a normal mature scar, (i.e. free from physical symptoms, which is soft, flat and normal in color.)

1. Bayat A et al. BMJ 2003; 326:88–92
2. British Journal of Hospital Medicine 2006; Vol 67, No. 8:635