How Is Scar Tissue Different from Normal Tissue?

How Is Scar Tissue Different from Normal Tissue?

Scars are a completely natural part of the way the body heals itself. The biologic process of wound repair in skin (as well as other tissue) results in scarring. Only the most minor wounds heal without forming visible scars. They can be caused from any type of skin damage, from accidents and surgeries to diseases and acne.  The resulting scar tissue will have different characteristics than the surrounding normal tissue.

Changes is Tissue Structure
When normal tissue is viewed under a microscope, it can appear in different ways, depending on what kind of tissue it is. It might be dense, irregular, and loose with fibers that run in various directions, or there might be dense, regular, elongated fibers that all run in the same direction. Either way, when the tissue is damaged, it heals in a haphazard pattern. This is what is known as scarring, and it can sometimes be severe enough to restrict movement and even cause pain.

Changes in Appearance
There are different types of scars, and no two scars are identical. In most cases, a scar will be flat and pale. But in some cases, the body produces too much collagen, resulting in a raised scar. Raised scars are either hypertrophic or keloid scars, and both are more common in dark-skinned people as well as younger people. A scar may appear red or pink at first and then fade.

Sometimes, a scar can appear sunken. The reasons for this is that underlying structures that support the skin such as fat and muscle have been damaged or lost. This is common with surgical scars as well as acne scars. A scar may also have the appearance of stretched skin. Stretch marks occur when the skin stretches rapidly, as it does during pregnancy and growth spurts. This can also happen when, during the healing process, the skin is under tension – for example, near a joint.

Differences in Scars
Scars form differently on different people, and even in different locations on the body in the same person. In addition, each scar is subject to a different set of environmental factors. For example, how much vitamin A is consumed, how much sunlight the developing scar is exposed to, and whether or not the person smoked or exercised regularly are all examples of things that can affect the way a scar heals.

Regardless of the type of scar, certain ingredients in your scar treatment can help minimize its appearance as well as any itching, discomfort, or pain, such as dimethicone silicone. Massage and moisture also play key roles in scar healing. Understanding how scar tissue differs from normal skin and how certain treatments affect it can help ensure that you are able to effectively minimize your scars.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

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  1. The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
  2. I have a scar on my knee and there’s a clear spot on it, it doesn’t itch or irritate me but its been there since it healed so I was wondering whether its completely normal or not?

  3. I have a surgical would after fistulotomy. I have a pale yellow thing inside my open wound. Is that a scar developing? How are open wounds filled by scar tissues?

  4. I have scar on my left wrist arm why its not chubby if u touch it u feel the bone

    • Hi Jocs, could you explain further? Typically you can feel the bone in your wrist. It could also be hardened scar tissue that you are feeling. You may want to try scar massage to see if that makes a difference.

  5. I have scar tissue in my hand (dorsum) after having surgery with a case of cellulitis
    . My doctors said it might cause problems for me so I’m having surgery in case of disfigurement to my skin. Whys that?

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