Continue reading to learn more about self-harm scars and to discover a safe and effective topical solution for reducing raised and discolored scars.
Understanding Self-Harm Scars
The body’s healing mechanisms are complex and dynamic, and if a wound is deep enough, it will always culminate in a scar. Scars from self-harm wounds follow much the same process as scars developed from other forms of trauma. Light surface scratches on the skin that don’t cause bleeding will likely not develop into scar tissue. If a self-harm wound penetrates the dermis layer of the skin or deeper, there’s a good chance a scar will result. Scar formation is an event that occurs during the maturation stage of wound healing. This is also known by some as the remodeling stage. This phase is marked by the restructuring of newly synthesized collagen proteins into skin tissue that resembles its former self. However, this process isn’t perfect, which is why scar tissue often differs in complexion and texture from the surrounding skin.
There’s a chance that some scars will develop into keloids or hypertrophic scars. These scars are characterized by their raised, bumpy appearance and discolored tone. Keloids are benign tumors that grow past the boundary of the wound site and cover surrounding skin tissue. Keloids are often red or purple in color and have a thick, ropey appearance and texture. Keloids disproportionately affect populations with darker skin pigmentations. Hypertrophic scars are the less severe of the two but affect all populations equally. These scars are raised and red in appearance but don’t grow beyond the initial boundaries of the wound. If left untreated, both scar types can become tight, itchy, and painful.
Silicone scar treatment and management
There are a number of therapies on the market today to help improve the appearance of irregular scar types by flattening and smoothing them. If surgery or corticosteroid injections aren’t for you, silicone gel technology presents an alternative solution that is safe, effective, and inexpensive. Silicone gel sheeting emerged over 30 years ago as the only clinically-proven topical treatment for preventing and reducing abnormal scar types. As a first line of defense, surgeons and dermatologists commonly recommend medical silicone before resorting to procedures that can do more harm than good.
We know topical silicone works through two mechanisms of action: scar hydration and collagen regulation. When the skin is damaged, the body’s repair mechanisms go into overdrive to patch up the open wound with collagen. Oftentimes, the body can overproduce this vital protein, which leads to buildup and raised, discolored scar tissue. By encapsulating the scar site with silicone for long periods of time, the user gains control over the oxygen and moisture levels at the surface of the skin. This perfect balance of oxygen and moisture, otherwise known as homeostasis, hydrates the wound site and stabilizes collagen synthesis. This helps to reduce scar height and discoloration, allowing scars to blend in with the surrounding tissue.
Every self-harm scar tells a different story of struggle. While these stories may stay with you for a lifetime, your scars don’t have to. Remember, you are not alone. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or loneliness, it’s important to know that there are people who want to help.