Why Scars Get Red and Itchy

Scars…they’re unsightly reminders of the past. Some are angry, raised and red, while others are faded, tough and pearly. We all have at least one, and they all tell a story – some we’re proud of and others we’d rather forget. For the most part, we accept our scars and don’t give them much thought on a regular basis. Unless, of course, they’re red and itchy.

This is usually what happens as damaged skin starts to heal. Most times, this is perfectly normal; other times, this can signal the onset of infection. To understand why scars itch, you have to understand the different types of itches: acute and chronic.

Acute itches occur with scars under six months old, usually caused by burns and keloids. Chronic itches occur with scars older than six months.  Amazingly, scars can take two years or more to fully heal; that’s a lot of time to be scratching! One study showed that of 23 burn scar victims, 87 percent of them experienced itching every single day. Along with the urge to scratch came sensations of burning and crawling. Over time, those episodes waned, until eventually they disappeared.

As noted above, this can take two years or longer. In the meantime, you could experience itching on a daily basis. Along with this usually comes a red, angry looking scar that you may even feel gets hot once in a while. Again, all part of the healing process. The key is not to scratch. This can delay the healing process, causing the wound to re-open in some cases.

Researchers are finding that the urge to itch scars stems from a connection between beta-endorphin levels found in the nerve fibers of the skin. No one really knows for sure, but studies are being conducted as we speak to further examine this connection. Once the cause is known for sure, more advanced remedies can be implemented to reduce this occurrence or at least minimize the itching.

The good news is, once the scar heals, it becomes less noticeable and less itchy. Of course, you have to be diligent about using topical treatments and avoid scratching the area. The scar will also become flatter and less raised as time goes on. Healing time will depend on the type and severity of the scar. If the wound is thin and the edges close neatly, the healing time is drastically reduced. If the wound is wide or jagged, healing will take longer and more scar tissue will likely develop.

Do you experience itching and redness with your scars? Have you been using Scarfade?  This topical gel can help reduce the appearance of scars when used daily. Studies have shown that silicone scar gel regulates collagen production at the wound site,  helping to minimize the development of scars originating from cuts, burns, injuries, accidents and surgical incisions.