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What Do the Size and Color of Your Scar Mean?

Posted June 2019 by Biodermis
Scars are the result of a complex and dynamic wound healing process that follows various stages. When a person first attains a scar, they may notice that it’s red or purple in color and painful to the touch. Over time, scars will begin to fade to white or skin color. Some scars, on the other hand, can become abnormally large and discolored due to excess collagen production. The source of the wound, its severity, and genetics all play a crucial role in determining the size and color of a scar. If you aren’t happy with the color of your scar, there are clinically-proven ways to reduce its discoloration.

Continue reading to learn more about scar sizes and colors and what you can do to help with discoloration.

Scar color

What determines scar size?

Scar size can be determined by several factors that occur as the wound is attained and during the wound healing process. The source of the wound plays a crucial role in influencing the size of the scar. A wound sustained from a burn, road rash, or extensive surgery will lead to greater scarring than a wound attained from small cut from a sharp object. This, of course, seems quite clear: the more extensive the wound, the greater the scarring. However, no two people will undergo the wound healing process in exactly the same manner. Even if two people sustained the same-sized wound from the same event, two very different scars can form. But what is the reason for this?

It really comes down to two elements: wound care and genetics. Wound care signifies the act of taking care of your wound by cleaning, protecting, and using an antibacterial ointment to help it heal. By taking these steps, we can ensure that the wound doesn’t become infected or dried out, both of which can prolong the healing process and increase scarring. The second element, genetics, is something we have no control over as we do with proper wound care. A person’s skin type and how well his or her body responds to wounds can determine the length of the wound healing process and the amount of scarring that occurs. People with darker skin tones, for instance, are at greater risk for keloid scars.

What determines scar color?
Scars can appear as a myriad of different colors: red, purple, white, or brown. The color of a scar is a good indicator of how old the scar is in its life cycle. A red or purple scar is likely a newer scar that is still experiencing the effects of the wound healing process. During the wound-healing process, the body sends signals to direct more blood flow to the injured area. This, in effect, helps to transport vital oxygen and nutrients that help the wound heal. Wound healing is also marked by inflammation, which can cause your scar to appear swollen, painful, and discolored. In most cases, a red or purple scar will fade over time (sometimes up to a year). However, if you are someone who develops keloids or hypertrophic scars, you may be stuck with a discolored scar for much longer.

White scars, on the other hand, are generally much older than red or purple scars. The technical term for a white scar is called hypopigmented scarring. Often, these scars occur as a result of a surgical procedure, often cosmetic in nature. The specific cause of white scars is due to the melanin protein produced by melanocyte cells in the deep layers of our skin. When these melanocyte cells become disrupted from injury, hypopigmentation can occur.

How does silicone help scars

Clinically-proven scar therapy

While there are steps you can take to reduce the appearance of certain scar types, some people will be fighting an uphill battle against their genetics. In these cases, help from medically-tested products can come to the rescue. Silicone gel technology is a clinically-proven scar management therapy option that has been scientifically tested and used for over 30 years. Topical silicone helps to reduce scarring by promoting an ideal moisture and oxygen-rich environment for scars to heal. This, in effect, will reduce the size and discoloration of your scar, helping it blend in with the surrounding healthy tissue.


Biodermis is an innovative market leader with 30 years of expertise in the medical silicone industry. Visit Biodermis.com today to explore a complete range of scar management and post-operative care solutions.
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