Have you ever noticed that you can have scars on different parts of your body and they look dissimilar? When an injury breaches the layer of the skin, the skin cells and blood vessels become damaged and the body sends excess collagen to quickly repair the region. This is the body’s way of forming a barrier to protect it from bacteria and germs. Depending on the amount of collagen sent, it can cause the wound to heal differently and result in scar tissue that looks and feels unlike the rest of the skin. Other factors that impact how a scar heals include:
- Size and depth of the wound
- Treatment methods
- Location of the wound
Here is a rundown of different areas of the body and how scars normally heal in these regions:
- Knees and Elbows
The knees and elbows are prone to heavy scarring since they are constantly being stretched. Therefore, the skin cannot properly regenerate and heal. The scar tissue may constrict mobility over the joints since the tissue becomes tight and less pliable. Severely limited mobility or pain may require scar revision surgery to improve functionality.
- Chest and Shoulders
Per the National Institutes of Health, the chest and shoulder regions have the poorest results when it comes to extensive scarring because areas of tension produce thicker scars which appear more noticeable.
Scars tend to be thicker and more prominent on the legs since the skin is normally tighter and tougher than other parts of the body. Scars on the legs are inclined to be hypertrophic scars. Hypertrophic scars can be red in appearance and are raised above the surface of the skin.
- Abdomen and Stomach
Scars on the abdomen and stomach generally heal well leaving a thinner, flatter scar. Surgical scars can usually be placed below the waistline or bikini line and are rarely seen while wearing everyday clothing. Additionally, this placement keeps the scar protected from the sun for optimal healing and to avoid hyperpigmentation.
- The Mouth
When it comes to scars, the inside of your mouth is the best at healing. The intraoral tissue stays moist and can regenerate quickly. However, it is critical to keep the area clean to avoid infection. An infection will slow down scar formation and may generate a larger, denser scar.
A scar on the ear is generally thick and more prominent than others. This type of scar is generally a keloid scar. Keloids can be found on any part of the body but are common after an ear piercing. Like hypertrophic scars, keloids are red and raised. Unlike hypertrophic scars, keloids extend beyond the edges of the wound. Keloid scars can be minimized with pressure and topical scar treatments.
Preventing and Treating Scars
To keep scars at bay, you should keep the wound clean and moist until it has healed. Serious burns or deep cuts should be evaluated and treated by a doctor. Post-op instructions should be followed as directed to help minimize scarring. Silicone scar treatments can minimize scarring or reduce scars that have already formed. There are many different types of scar treatments available and each type of scar may respond differently to certain treatments. Consult with your doctor about which treatment might be right for your scar.