SCAR HEALING STAGES: DISCOVER HOW CLEVER YOUR BODY REALLY IS!
If you have scars (like most of us!), then you may have wondered about the scar healing stages, or process? Perhaps you’ve wondered how it long it takes for scars to heal, or why your scar is still red after months?
Your body is super clever, and the minute you sustain an injury, it leaps straight into action, helping to repair and rebuild your skin. There are 5 elements to your scar healing stages, and we will go through them below. We will then look at when you can look to have your scar treated, so you’ll know when the time is right.
A WHISTLE STOP TOUR OF THE HEALING PROCESS.
We’ll have a look each of the scar healing stages, so you know exactly what’s going on.
STAGE 1 You have a wound – the skin is damaged and you’re bleeding. Your body leaps into action within seconds. Your blood starts to clot, to stop the bleeding and seal the wound site. This a good kind of blood clot – as it’s an immediate seal over the wound. This is known as haemostasis, and it’s a rapid response to trauma.
STAGE 2 Then we swiftly move into the scabbing stage, as your body is very quick to repair and regenerate. Platelets, which are clotting cells in blood, form a plug, to stop the wound from continuing to bleed. This happens very quickly, and, in addition, your body also produces a protein called fibrin. Think of fibrin as glue – as essentially, it’s keeping the wound site sealed, and preventing bacteria from entering.
STAGE 3 Inflammation: This is where your body really jumps into healing mode, now the wound site is healed. The first thing it does, is it allows the bloody vessels around the wound site to expand – increasing blood flow to the area. You body is very clever and can immediately detect where to send more energy and effort, to help repair you. Have you ever noticed that the skin around a wound site looks red or pink? Or maybe you’ve noticed it feels a little warm – well, don’t worry – this is a sign that help has arrived!
White blood cells jump on in too, helping to fight infection, they are fighting off any bacteria or infections, helping to keep you infection free. You might see a clear or slightly yellow tinged fluid too, that’s perfectly normal – shows your body has it’s warriors in place, to protect you! The white blood cells are called macrophasges, if you’d like to know the fancy name.
STAGE 4 Rebuilding (or the technical term is Proliferation)
Of all of the scar healing stages, this one is where the magic happens – your body starts to repair and produces another protein called collagen. The type of collagen that your body produces in the wound healing process, differs from the type of collagen we have in healthy skin. With wound healing, it send your body into a stage of ‘emergency’, so it acts quickly to remain you, so the type of collagen, and the quality is different – to help you repair. The collagen produced is the scaffolding for other cells to be built on, and as your body is repairing and regenerating, you may notice your scars are red/pink and in many cases, raised. This is all perfectly normal, and a sign your body is doing it job really well.
STAGE 5 The Final stage is Maturation. This is the stage that takes place, after the initial wound healing and foundations have been laid. During this time, you might find that your scars are still pink in colour, particularly after exercising, having a bath – or raising your body temperate. You may also find they feel a little itchy! Most scars take around 12 months to heal, but some can take longer. There are a number of things that can affect wound healing – which I’ll touch on below.
Amazing stuff isn’t it! The scar healing stages always fascinate me, and remind me how incredible the human body is at repairing and regenerating. This is why I am continually in awe of the amazing results I see with scar improvement treatments, and why these treatments are my absolute favourites!
When in the scar healing stages can I have treatment?
As someone who has multiple scars, from a series of injuries and surgeries, I can completely empathise with how self conscious scars can make you feel. If you’re like me, you might be super impatient, and want to start treatment asap!
The truth is, that the best time to start treatment is after you have been through ALL of the scar healing stages. Let your body complete it’s natural healing cycle, and then we can start treatment. In my experience, starting treatment too soon, and interrupting your natural healing, doesn’t add any benefit – it can, in fact, be detrimental to your overall healing and results.
As your skin is unique to you, and everyone is different – there isn’t an exact time scale for when full healing has taken place. As a guideline, scars on the face typically take around 12 months, and on the body between 6-12 months. Some scars can take up to 2 years though. Here’s some things you can look out for – so you’ll know when your scars have finished their natural healing;
- Scars have turned white in colour, with no redness or pinkness
- Scars no longer turn red/pink when you exercise or have a shower or bath (if this is still happening, it’s indication you’re in the latter stages of healing).
- Your scars are over 2 years old.
When your scars in the later stages of healing, you can get in touch to book a consultation. We can discuss the best treatment program for you, there isn’t a one size fits all, everyone’s skin and scars are different.
I really hope that you’ve enjoyed this blog on scar healing stages. You can book in via the YOUR SCAR button on my website, when you’re ready to go ahead with treatment.