Scars can take up to a year to remodel
Anytime the skin is cut, it heals by forming a scar. Sometimes scars are nearly invisible, while other times they can be very disfiguring. How you scar can depend on many factors, including:
- Your skin colour and type
- Your body’s genetics
- Your body’s healing response
- Surgical technique
It is a NORMAL part of the healing process for a wound to be red, raised, bumpy, and tight during the first weeks to months of healing; the appearance continues to improve over time as the scar remodelling process continues. It can take up to a full year before the scar remodelling process is finished and the scar takes on its final appearance: usually flat, pale and hardly visible.
Hypertrophic & Keloid scars
Sometimes the body’s wound healing system kicks into overdrive, and forms an overabundance of scar tissue.
A Hypertrophic Scar is a scar that remains thickened, wide, red, and/or raised. They are more likely to happen in:
- Young people
- Wounds in areas of tension and movement (such as the back, chest, and shoulder)
A Keloid Scar is a scar that grows larger than the original wound. They are firm, smooth, hard growths that can arise soon after an injury or surgery, or develop months later.
While most people never form keloids, others develop them after minor injuries, burns, ear piercing, tattooing, insect bites and acne spots. We don’t know why some people tend to form keloid scars, but dark skinned people tend to form keloids more easily than Caucasians. Keloids are harmless to general health and do not change into skin cancers.
Several treatments are available to reduce the appearance of scars:
- Firm massage
- Steroid injection
- Dermabrasion (light “sanding” of the scar surface)
- Laser therapy
- Scar revision surgery
- Makeup application
If you are unhappy with your scar, your doctor can work with you to recommend the best treatment options for your scar. Often several different methods in combination achieve the best results.
There are also several products on the market that claim to reduce the appearance of scars: these include silicone sheets and gels, Vitamin E, Bio-Oil, and others. However, studies have shown these products have limited to no effect on improving the appearance of scars. We therefore do not routinely recommend them for our patients.