Burn Scar Introduction
Burn wounds can be one of the most challenging injuries to be healed properly. Not only the recovery process is painful but also the post after result of burn injuries will most likely leave scars. Reducing scarrings resulted from burn injuries can be really frustrating since most of them are difficult to be healed due to the extensive level of damaged skin tissues. Hypertrophic burn scars are the most commonly found complication of burn injuries. This is a type of scar in the area of the initial burn injuries that are more raised than the normal skin surface. This scar is both aesthetically displeasing and can limit a survivor’s ability to function normally in their daily activities.
It is however quite a tricky task to predict who will develop scarring or not after recovering from a burn injury. Evidence from many studies shows that less severe burn (first degree burn) that is known as superficial partial thickness and will heal in less than 10 days will most likely end up with no scarring. More severe burns (second degree burn) that is also called deep partial thickness burn and will heal in 14 up to 21 days will have higher probability of ending up with scarring. Lastly, burns that take more than 21 days to heal and require skin grafting (third degree burn) that is well-known as full thickness burn are at the highest risk for leaving behind a scar.
Why do scars form
Aside of the cause of injuries, scarring is also closely linked to age, ethnic origin, the severity, depth and location of the wounds. In the case of burn injuries, the scars occur when the dermal or lower layer of the skin has been damaged. Our bodies will then produce a protein called collagen in order to help healing the damaged skin area. Generally, the collagen fibers will be laid down in a very organized manner. Unfortunately, in hypertrophic scars, the fibers are formed in a very disorganized manner. This contributes to the formation of scars since the new skin will have a different texture as well as appearance.
The recovery process from burn scars can take a long time. Scarring will commonly develop in the first few months after the burn injuries occured. They will achieve its peak time around 6 months and resolve themselves (mature) in one until one and a half year time. As they become more mature, they will be fader in color, flatter, softer and become less sensitive.
Problems occured from burn scars
As we discussed earlier, hypertrophic scars are the most commonly found scars in people who suffer from burn injuries. The bad news is it is not the only problem that we will encounter if we’ve got burn injuries. There are several other problems that will follow along with the hypertrophic scars.
If the scars located across joints, they will cause a decrease in our ablility to move. This is called as contracture. If the contractures involve our legs, we may have problems squatting, sitting, walking or climbing stairs. If the contractures involve our trunk and arms, we may have problems with self-grooming, eating, dressing and taking a bath as well as doing other works that involve our hands. Some contractures are unavoidable, but there are also many of them that can be avoided with proper usage of scar removal cream, cosmetic surgeries, or active involvement in rehabilitation program depending on the severity level of the hypertrophic scars.
Burns can impair or destroy the oil glands that usually keep our skin from getting too dry. Second degree burns might still have few oil glands left meanwhile third degree burns or skin grafts might have no oil glands. This lack of oil glands is what leading to dry itchy scars. Many people who suffer from burn injuries may experience intense itching after their burn. Research has proven that the larger the burn, the bigger possibility that itching will occur.
More sensitive to sunlight and chemicals
If we have got healing scars (particularly the ones caused by burn injuries), we should avoid exposing them to sunlight. They tend to be discolored and have not matured therefore will prone to burn more easily. In addition to that, burn scars are also more sensitive to chemicals that usually are harmless when our skin is normal. Some examples of such chemicals are the ones usually contained in over the counter body lotions like Vaseline, perfumes, or even clothes detergent and softener from our daily apparels.
Find out how to Reduce Scarring from a Burn