Scars result from the body’s natural healing of injured tissue. Following injury and trauma, the body forms new collagen fibers to mend the damage. The composition of the new collagen of scar tissues may be different than that of healthy skin, resulting in the appearance of scars. Scar formation is dependent on various factors including severity of injury, age, genetics, ethnicity etc.
There are various types of scars and being able to identify them is crucial to select the most appropriate treatment(s) for optimal results. Three main groups of scars include:
Atrophic scars: Pitted and sunken scars on the skin are formed due to degradation of collagen and subcutaneous fat. Examples of atrophic scars include acne scars and pockmarks.
Hypertrophic scars: Raised, discoloured scars that result from overproduction of collagen during the wound healing process.
Keloid scars: Similar to hypertrophic scars, keloid scars are raised scars that are formed from an overproduction of collagen. The key distinction between keloids and hypertrophic scars is that keloid scars grow beyond the boundaries of the original area of injury, while hypertrophic scars are confined to the wound area. If keloids are left untreated, they may continue to grow over time.
Acne scarring is the unfortunate side effect of inflamed acne lesions including papules, pustules and cysts. Deeper inflamed lesions as with cystic acne typically lead to more severe acne scarring.
When pores are clogged with excess oil, dead skin and bacteria, the body’s natural immune response is to send autoantibodies to the pores to eliminate bacteria. These antibodies may cause inflammation, rupture of follicular wall and ultimately destroy healthy skin tissue. To repair the damaged tissue, new collagen fibers are formed. A lack of collagen will cause the indented appearance associated with acne scars.