What Are Scars Made Of?

Scars can show up anywhere on the body, wherever an injury occurs. The severity of a scar will depend on how it was acquired, how deep the wound is, and the care you give it over time. Scars are basically nature’s way of healing damaged skin and replacing tissue.

While fibrous scar tissue is made up of the same protein (called collagen) as the tissue it is replacing, the fiber composition of that protein is different than “normal” skin.” Normal tissue has a random basket weave pattern of collagen fibers; but in scars, the collagen cross-links and produces a pronounced alignment in one direction. While scarring does the job it’s supposed to do, some dysfunctions do occur, making these areas not quite as durable as the rest of your skin.

For instance, scars are not as resistant to UV radiation (which is why you should always put sunscreen on your scars). Also, hair follicles and sweat glands don’t grow back within scarred tissue.

An Evolutionary Response

From an evolutionary perspective, scars are quite amazing. They are the body’s natural response to healing, as an open wound leaves you susceptible to a variety of problems, from infection to intense pain. Instead of slowly building skin the usual way, your body rapidly responds to cover up the wound. In its haste, the skin grows back quickly and awkwardly, so that you are left with a permanent mark that may or may not exceed the borders of the original injury.

It’s like if you had a burst pipe in your home. You go to call a plumber but can’t get a hold of the best guy in town, but the second-best guy is available. What are you going to do? Wait around for the top guy while your house floods with water, or just call the other one to get the job done?

Likewise, it’s better to protect your body from the outside world ASAP, even if the handiwork ends up being a little bit sloppy.

How Scars Vary

Scar composition can vary by injury, skin type, direction of the wound, age of the person, how healthy they are, and location of the wound on the body. They may be flat, lumpy, colored or sunken. They could be itchy or painful. Most fade a bit with time. You can use makeup to cover them up, or try dermatological techniques such as chemical peels. The least invasive way to treat a scar is to rub some silicone gel over the area every day with a proven product like Scarfade. This product forms a micro-thin layer of silicone on the area, helping to beautify scars and quickly fade them.