A fall down the stairs, a car accident or surgery: many of life’s events leave their marks as small or large scars. Nearly everybody has one or a number of scars to remind them of such situations. Scar tissue may not only cause discomfort and pain or hinder mobility, but can also reduce self-confidence - particularly when located on visible parts of the body.

Back to top

How do scars form?

Scarring is a natural part of the healing process after a skin injury has been sustained. Only wounds that do not affect the dermis can heal without scars. If the skin is not able to replace the destroyed, highly specialised tissue in the same way, it repairs the wound with a fibrous connective collagen tissue to ‘bind’ the broken skin together.

Even after the wound has healed, the body continues to direct collagen to the injury site, resulting in changes to the size and shape of the scar overtime. The so-called “maturation” phase can take years. Although most scars can’t be removed completely, there are steps that you can take to ensure a more even healing of your wound and reduce the visibility of existing scar tissue. Learn more about wound healing here.


Person pointing to a scar on their hand
Back to top

Different types of scars

Normal scars will usually heal as a thin and red line, gradually getting paler and flatter over time. For darker skin types, scar tissue may fade into a brown or white mark. These more common, fine-line scars are usually the result of a wound or surgery. They can itch for a few months but don't tend to be painful. Depending on several factors, such as depth of the wound, location of the injury or skin type, some people may develop abnormal scars.
  1. Atrophic scar

    Atrophic scars are characterised by recesses or pits in the skin, appearing serrated or flat against the upper layer of the skin. These scars are most often formed as a result of acne or certain illnesses such as chickenpox. Atrophic scars tend to have darker skin pigmentation than other areas of the skin. Histologically they are characterised by a loss of collagen in the dermis.
    Medical cutaway illustration of an atrophic scar
  2. Hypertrophic scar

    Hypertrophic scars appear red and raised and can be itchy. They are characterised by an excess of collagen which is caused by a dysregulated healing process. Hypertrophic scars raise above the surrounding skin level and may continue to thicken for up to six months, but are limited to the original wound area. Hypertrophic scars eventually become paler and flatter over the course of several years.
    Medical cutaway illustration of a hypertrophic scar
  3. Keloid scar

    Similarly to hypertrophic scars, keloids appear red and raised and also exhibit an excessive amount of collagen. However, unlike hypertrophic scars, keloids extend beyond the original wound area. Keloids impact quality of life as they can interfere with movement, causing pain and itching. They are more likely to develop among people with darker skin type and they do not resolve or fade with time. Learn more about keloid scars.
    Medical cutaway illustration of a keloid scar
Back to top

What are the risk factors?

Some individuals are more susceptible to abnormal scarring than others. These include adolescents and young adults as well as those with darker skin pigmentation. In case of keloids, scarring can also be impacted by hereditary predispositions. Furthermore, the location on the body has an impact. For instance, scars that appear on joints have a higher risk of forming abnormally. Some complications such as haematomes, infections, foreign bodies or edema can also exacerbate scar formation.
Back to top

How to reduce the risk of scarring

Scars are formed in the last phase of wound healing, and the scar's appearance will depend on how successfully the wound has healed. In order to reduce the risk of unsightly scars and ensure a safe and fast healing, it is recommended to follow some basic wound care principles:

  • Wound cleansing: As infections may increase the risk of abnormal scarring, always make sure that the wound is properly cleansed from particles, dirt and bacteria. Use the Elastoplast Wound Spray to cleanse the wound fast and easily.
  • Wound protection: Make sure the wound is covered with an appropriate plaster or sterile wound dressing from Elastoplast. This will protect the wound from germs and bacteria which might enter the wound, delay wound healing and possibly cause wound infection.
  • Moist wound healing: To reduce the risk of scarring and support a faster wound healing, experts recommend moist healing conditions. Apply the Elastoplast Wound Healing Ointment to create optimal healing conditions and support a fast wound healing with reduced risk of scarring.
Elastoplast Wound Spray

Tips to prevent scars from forming

  • Protect wounds and newly formed scars from the sun rays.
  • Do not expose wounds and newly formed scars to extreme temperatures.
  • Avoid exercises or activities that cause tension to the scar tissue.
  • Only have stitches removed when suitable, because taking them out too early or delaying the process can interfere with wound healing.
Back to top

Scar treatment and scar reduction

As scars are often perceived as unattractive and can significantly impact quality of life, we often seek to reduce or hide their appearance. In addition to possible physical pain and discomfort, individuals may experience psychological impairment and reduced self-confidence, especially when scars are located on visible parts of the body, all reasons that lead to someone wanting to reduce a scar.

For scar treatment, use Elastoplast Scar Reducer Patches to reduce the visibility of raised and coloured scars, while making them flatter, softer and lighter. These discreet, transparent scar reducer patches are made of flexible and breathable material.

 

They are a safe and efficient way to effectively reduce raised and coloured hypertrophic scars or keloid scars, with first results noticeable after three or four weeks.

Elastoplast Scar Reducer Plasters

How to get rid of scars

In the event of severe scarring, there are a number of medical procedures that can be performed by dermatologists, surgeons, and other medical experts. More invasive techniques can involve corticosteroid injections, radiotherapy, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, laser therapy, or surgery, among others. Non-procedural options include pressure dressings or make-up.
Back to top

Always see a doctor if the wound is deep, bleeds heavily or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth.

Although compiled with great care, please note that the tips and advice given on this website by no means substitute medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult a doctor and follow medical advice regardless of what you have learned on this website.

Always read carefully and follow the instructions for use or the leaflets of our products. For further information about our products, please contact us via email at ConsumerRelationsUK@Beiersdorf.com.