By Liza Finlay
Scars can make an unsightly impression. They form whenever skin is damaged- whether from a small trauma (a popped pimple), an injury (a fall from skyscraper stilettos) or invasive surgery. In response to the injury, the skin attempts to repair itself by releasing growth factors, which then induce collagen production. The type of scar you get depends on how assiduously your collagen-production plants work. If they’re the lazy sort, you’ll wind up with a skin depression called an atrophic scar. If your collagen factories go into overdrive, collagen will build up at the site of the injury, resulting in a raised red (hypertrophic or keloid) scar.
The trick to treating scars- apart from avoiding heels and developing a fondness for ballet flats- is to control those crazy collagen cells while they’re at work on a developing scar. “You want to optimize the healing process,” says Toronto dermatologist Dr. Lisa Kellett of DLK on Avenue. “Keeping the wound clean, moist and infection-free is key- and above all, no picking, which can increase the scarring.” Once fully formed, scars have limited treatment options, but the development of over-the-counter remedies is an area of keen interest to many dermatologists, so stay tuned.