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Why Some Wounds Leave Scars
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Scars are a common occurrence wounds and surgeries due to being a natural part of your body’s healing process. Whenever there is damage to the dermal layer of your skin, and other tissues, except for very minor wounds, your body begins the healing process. During this process it produces fibroblast cells which in turn help create new collagen fibers, which are a protein based fibers in your body. Due to the difference in texture to the surrounding tissue, this is what produces the appearance of a scar. Scars also do not form until your body is healed from a wound, which is why they do not appear right away. If you receive a cut in the epidermis a scar will not form. The reason for this is because new skin is being created all the time by your body and the new skin will fill in the cut. This is the reason paper cuts do not leave a scar.
There are a few different types of scars that vary from the standard flush to the skin scar. A scar can be pitted, or sunken, when compared to the skin it’s surrounding. This is due to the fat tissue, or the muscle, which is beneath the scar to no longer be there, which is most common in the incidence of a severe injury or from surgery. Due to the lack of support the scar drops below skin level causing this sunken appearance. Also, in predominantly younger and darker skinned individuals we see scars where collagen is over-produced causing the scar to be raised above the surface of the skin.
Scars can also appear to be stretched, commonly referred to as stretch marks, which is different from a normal scar as no damage was done to the dermis. The only exception is in the case of the dermis’ healing process being near a joint such as your elbow or knee. Instead, the damage in this case is to the elastin fibers in the dermis, which is not related to collagen production. Elastin is a protein in the connective tissues of your body that allows it to be elastic and for your skin to resume its shape after stretching or contracting. This is a common occurrence during rapid growth spurts in youths, body builders, and pregnant women.
The reason scars are so noticeable has to do with their color differentiation from the surrounding skin. This is because the scar is not receiving a supply of blood, has no sweat gland production, and also lacks hair follicles. You may also notice that scars do not have the same sensitivity as the surrounding skin and are also more susceptible to damage from UV light. This is why it is always good to apply a coating of sunscreen to your skin, especially your scars, when you go outside.
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