Do Scars Always Turn Red?

Do Scars Always Turn Red?

Why is it that scars turn color? Do scars always turn red or do they turn blue or white, too?

It turns out that all scars are red in the beginning. This is because the beginning part of a wound’s healing process is when blood vessels bring blood to the area. Without circulation, the area that is injured won’t heal. And when blood flows to an area, the area may turn red and feel warm because of all the blood that floods into the area.

There’s another part of the healing process for a scar that happens soon after the wound is inflicted. It’s the stage where new blood vessels start growing in the skin around the wound. The purpose of these new blood vessels is to nourish the repaired and newly growing tissue so that fresh new skin can result. When new blood vessels are created, you end up with greater than usual blood flow to the area. And that’s another reason why a scar always turns red.

The complete process of healing a wound and scar may take more than a year. Children’s scars may stay red for a longer period of time. As complete healing approaches, the red color of the scar begins to fade. The extra blood circulation is no longer needed. Ultimately, the scar will blend in to the regular color of the skin. However, this does not happen in all cases.

Ways You Can Reduce Your Scar’s Redness

There are known ways you can reduce the redness in your scar. Here are some of them that all health experts agree on:

1. Cover the scar with a silicone gel, patch or cream that contains this ingredient. Studies have found them effective at reducing redness and size of the scar.

2. Massage the area gently but only if the scab has fallen off. Use a lotion or massage oil so that you reduce any risk of tearing the tissue.

3. Keep the area of the scar warm. Hot packs may help but never put them directly on the skin; always set them on top of at least three towel layers so the hot pack doesn’t touch the skin and burn it. When the area of your scar is warm, you’ll break down old collagen faster and mature the scar, according to studies.

4. Keeping the scar hydrated will help decrease itching and pain, and thus redness.

5. Protect the scar from the sun. The sun’s rays will redden any scar. Clothing may not be enough as the rays of the sun will penetrate through the clothing; use a sunscreen of SPF 30.

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Source: Eplasty 2012;12:e1. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

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How Does the Sun Affect Scars?

How Does the Sun Affect Scars?

Whether you have a prominent new or old scar, your first instinct may be to sit in the sun to “even out” its color, or try to “camouflage it” with a tan. Ironically, sun exposure is the last thing your scar needs. Here’s why…

Scar tissue is different to normal skin. It is inferior in appearance, function and feel. Scars are less resistant to ultraviolet rays and much more prone to sunburn, especially if they are fresh. Prolonged sun exposure can also permanently darken a scar, especially in people with darker skin complexions.

Scars should be protected from prolonged, direct sun exposure year round, not just during the warmer summer months. Use sun block over any exposed scar religiously. The higher the SPF the better. Remember that sweating essentially washes sun block off so try to use a water resistant sun block even if you’re not going swimming. Also try to choose a non-comedogenic product, especially if you have ever suffered from acne.

If you can’t avoid the sun completely, cover the scar with sun protective clothing, preferably with a high UPV (50 would be great).

Have you noticed your scar change once out in the sun?

Questions? Leave us a comment!

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photo credit: Paulo Brandão via photopin cc

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