Risk Factors for Developing Scarring

Scarring occurs as a reaction of the body to repair an injury. Skin always shed its old and dead cells to produce new cells, and in a much similar manner, wounds and injuries are repaired by the skin. When the reaction of the skin exceeds the normal level of response, then it leads to scarring. Some scars stay permanently on the body, while most of them fade with time. A few factors are found to increase the risk of developing scars. Some of them are discussed below.

Nature of Incision or Area of Wound

The degree of injury or wound is the prime factor in developing scars. You might have noted that small bruises and cuts you had a year before are difficult to be located as they have faded away with time. However, the scars of a deep cut from your childhood days are still visible. In the former case, the injury is less and the area affected is also small, while in latter, it is a deep injury and a relatively large area is affected. Infection in the wounds can also increase the risk of abnormal scarring.

Scars are generally found to become more noticeable or aggravated in the areas of active motion because the tension given to the skin around the wound area also plays an important role in the formation of scarring.

Age and Hormonal Factors

With age, your skin loses its ability to produce sufficient amount of collagen and elastin fibers. Thus, it becomes thinner and less elastic. Factors such as photo damage, environmental factors and reduced fat deposits (due to aging) will slow down the process of healing. Slow healing will normally produce scars.

Keloid scars and hypertrophic scars are formed more easily during and after the puberty. Pregnancy is found to aggravate scarring, while menopause will prompt the scarring regression. Scars resulting from thyroid surgery get exacerbated due to changes in hormones.

Genetic Influence

Genetic factors may be responsible for developing scars, and so, it is an important issue to be discussed with the surgeon before going under knife. Abnormal scarring is found to be more frequently occurring in dark skinned individuals, as the keloid scars usually occurs in the places of higher concentration of melanocytes.

Underlying Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions like diabetes will slow down your healing process and when the wound heals over a long period of time, you tend to develop scars. People with freckles and ginger hair are found to be more prone to the keloid formation.

Although it is not possible to control all the factors involved in developing scars, you may take necessary precautions to avoid scars or go for a procedure with minimal chances of scarring. Discussing these risk factors with your surgeon will also help him to avoid chances of complicated scarring. Taking steps to prevent scarring is essential as the process of scarring may also lead to basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

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