Scars and Stretchmarks
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UNDERSTANDING SCARS AND STRETCH MARKS.Back to top
There are a number of different skin concerns in South Africa, one of the biggest concerns being scars and stretch marks. They are more prevalent than one would think, they are permanent and can have a huge impact on people’s self-confidence.
WHAT IS A SCAR?Back to top
A scar forms as part of the natural healing process following an injury. When the dermis – the second layer of skin – is damaged, the body forms collagen fibers to repair the damage, and that can eventually result in the formation of a scar. Because our bodies are designed to repair scars quickly and not perfectly, we are often left with unsightly scars, which can cause people physical discomfort and to feel self-conscious.
The final appearance of a scar will vary from person to person and depends on several factors. The shape, size, and depth of the wound contribute to the way a scar forms, as does the amount of blood that can get to the area, skin type, the age of the person and even nutritional status will play a role in determining what a scar will look like.
STRETCH MARKS ARE ALSO A TYPE OF SCAR.Back to top
Stretch marks (striae) are also a type of scar, however most people view them differently to scars. Although stretch marks do not represent a significant medical problem, they can cause emotional distress to those who develop them.
Stretch marks occur when the body goes through a rapid change in size like adolescent growth spurts and pregnancy. The likelihood of developing stretch marks varies according to skin type, age, BMI, positive family history, diet and the hydration of the skin.
When the body expands faster than the skin around it, internal tears in the dermis occur. When these tears heal, they form thin scars called stretch marks. As stretch marks heal they go through a number of different stages, with older stretch marks being far harder to treat. Initially they are red in colour, can feel itchy and the surrounding skin appears flattened and thin. As time passes the stretch marks begin to darken, enlarge and lengthen. Once the stretch marks have matured and when the skin is no longer under tension they will start to fade and become paler. They may also appear slightly depressed and irregular in shape or length.
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