A scar develops as part of the normal wound healing process.
Within 2 to 3 days of the skin’s surface being injured,
scar tissue fills in the injured area to close the wound.
Scar tissue can continue to develop over many weeks or months.
Immediately following wound healing, a scar is usually red in appearance and is referred to as an ‘immature’ scar. Between 3 months and 2 years the scar should become paler, flatter and softer and can then be referred to as a ‘mature’ scar.1
Problem scars can sometimes be called hypertrophic or keloid scars. Keloids and hypertrophic scars develop as a result of a proliferation of dermal tissue following skin injury, and are common (keloids develop in 5% to 15% of wounds).1
Keloids are elevated scars that extend beyond the borders of the original wound, do not regress, and usually recur after excision. Hypertrophic scars are similar, but are confined to the wound borders and usually regress over time.2 Hypertrophic scars usually appear within a month of injury, whereas keloids may take three months or even years to develop.3
A hypertrophic scar is raised and reddish in color. Hypertrophic scars are more common than Keloids and they don’t get a big as keloids, and may fade with time. Hypertrophic scars are not confined to any particular racial group.4
A scar is a problem if it is:
- Purple or red
- Feels hard or itchy
- Restricts movement.1
Those at risk of developing a problem scar include people with:
- Skin types known to scar easily, such as Mediterranean, Asian and African.
- Wounds that are delayed in healing. (3 weeks or more)
- A past history of problem scarring.1