How are scars formed?

scar formation

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The physical proof of having a lively childhood is SCARS. Scars line our bodies, with each one narrating a story – the hope is that all the stories are from happy times. From every time someone fell of a bike or got scratched by a dog, a scar represents all such incidences. Scarring is a natural healing process of our body – with research still continuing in the field.

Nearly every wound which invades the first few layers of the skin results in the occurrence of a scar. Accidents, surgery, or diseases cause scarring. The appearance of a scar is evidence of INCOMPLETE REGENERATION of the skin. In Hydra, a wound ensues a complete regeneration of the organism. A Hydra cut in half can grow into two individuals.

Yet, for a wound in humans, complete regeneration of the tissue is not possible. This means the newly-grown tissue will not resemble the one skin. SCAR TISSUE is the term attributed to this type of tissue. It will morphologically differ from the previous tissue. The coloration and texture of the scar tissue differ.


How is scar tissue developed?

A WOUND is described as any damage to the skin due to some form of force or trauma. To mend a wound, the body begins a cascade of healing processes. The body employs the use of a protein called COLLAGEN to restore the integrity of the skin. Regular skin also contains collagen, but scar tissue is made up of collagen which is different in its characteristics.

The collagen fibers which form regular skin are interlinked via random occurrences, but due to the different property of the collagen in the scar tissues, the appearance varies. Collagen in the scar tissue has a distinct property of ELASTICITY, which causes a pronounced arrangement of the collagen fibers in a single direction.

The initial scar that is noticed is red and causes notions of itchiness and discomfort. However, this is the primary step of scar formation. This scar can be raised as well. But with time, the scar tissue matures and becomes pale after flattening. The mature scar will appear brown or white with respect to the natural complexion of the person.

There are several stages in the conversion of a wound to a scar. It all starts with the formation of s SCAB. Scab is a term used for the temporary covering of a wound. It looks like a red crust that forms over a wound, especially to protect the cut from more damage, keep pathogens out of it and stop the blood flow. This scab gradually detaches from the skin and falls off. At this point, the process of scar formation is initiated.

  1. Inflammation Phase

The primary response of the body to a cut is to stop the blood flow. Thus, the blood components involved in clot formation – in conjunction with the LEUCOCYTES (WBCs) – form a BLOOD CLOT. Symptoms of inflammation are observed at the site of the wound, such as redness, heat formation, and pain. Scab forms from the blood clot.

  1. Proliferation Phase

As the scab falls off, cells called FIRBOBLASTS form collagen fibers. Tissues called GRANULATING TISSUE which contain collagen are actively involved in the repair of the skin. As nutrients are supplied to the wound, the granulating tissue form on top of the epidermis to seal the gap between the cut and the skin. The two edges of the wound are gradually pulled together, and the size of the wound minimizes.

  1. Maturation Phase

During the long process of maturation, the initial scar (which is raised and red) is replaced with a stronger form of collagen to permanently seal the cut. The wound keeps contracting as the collagen continues to form the scar.

scar illustration

Scar tissue not just differs in appearance, but also varies in cell function. Scars are not observed to have hair follicles or sweat glands – thus, hair never grows on scars and sweat is never produced. While this loss of cell activity poses no threat to the individual, it is crucial to understand that the regenerated tissue varies dramatically from the old skin.

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