Scars can worsen just from what happens in the early stages of wound healing or in the later stages when the scar is maturing.
In the early stages of healing, five factors affect how bad the scar will turn out:
- The type of wound, whether it has jagged edges or is a clean cut such as a surgical incision
- How the wound was taken care of after it happened
- Whether or not the wound was infected
- Whether or not the person is smoking in the early stages of wound healing
- If the wound is exposed to sun
In the later stages of healing when the wound has healed, the scar will start to mature. There are four primary influences on how the scar will end up looking:
1. Individual factors
Age plays an important role. The younger you are, the easier it is for the skin to heal itself. Scars have a greater chance to look good the younger you are when you get them.
Similarly, skin type you have also affects the way a scar heals. The darker your skin, the greater the chance there is to form hyperpigmented scars that look darker than usual. Also, the darker your skin, the more likely it is that you will form a keloid scar or a hypertrophic scar.
If you have health issues such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus, the changes in the body that result from these diseases cause poorer wound healing. This could result in scars that are more prominent and look worse.
One last individual factor that affects how scars look is the smoking habit. The nicotine in cigarette smoke causes blood vessels to shrink. This decreases blood flow. When a scar gets less circulation, it doesn’t get the nutrients it needs and doesn’t heal as it should.
2. External factors
If you want to create a dark scar – one that is hyperpigmented – then make sure it gets a lot of exposure to the sun! Sun exposure first makes scars redder, and then they get darker with more and more exposure. The darker the scar is, the more visible – and uglier – it will look.
3. Allergic reactions
One of the most common allergic reactions that can happen in the area of a scar is an allergy to vitamin E. We’ve all been taught that vitamin E is important for healing but researchers discovered that many people are allergic to the topical vitamin E. Any time you have an allergic reaction, you’ll also have more inflammation. And more inflammation worsens scar healing, creating worse scars.
4. Where the scar is located
If a scar is located over a joint, then the movement of that joint will cause a scar to stretch. The result is a scar that widens over time. A wide scar is more visible than one that is thin.
Now that you know how these factors can influence scar healing and the way a scar matures, you may have have a little more control over the way your scars end up looking long term.
Even if your scar is over a year old and has matured, don’t worry, there’s still hope! With the help of the latest scar treatment technology, it’s still possible to fade scars.
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