Accidentally cut your finger or spent too much time in the sun? The result is probably damaged skin. We all suffer from it at times and our skin then needs to repair itself. How does this happen? And how do scars form? We have the answers to these and other questions for you.
Regeneration means: to replace or to reshape - Exactly what is needed for damaged skin. Regeneration involves the natural replacement of body cells which happens when the old or damaged skin cells are replaced by new cells. Our skin is a well-known example of this system but did you know that our liver is also capable of regeneration? Affected or damaged parts of the liver are able to grow back by themselves!
Repairing damaged skin
The skin consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous connective tissue. The epidermis renews itself every month. Dead skin cells fall off the body and look like flakes of skin. From the epidermis new skin cells are formed again. This process is called regeneration and takes place continuously. This also happens when your skin is actually damaged for example by the sun, or wounds.
The healing of a wound
A wound is an expression of damaged skin. The deeper the wound is, the more layers of the skin are damaged. With a small wound, such as a light graze or a first-degree burn, only the epidermis is damaged. No bleeding occurs here and therefore there won't be a scar.
A deeper wound that damages both the epidermis and the dermis will bleed. These are second-degree burns and a deeper abrasion, but will still heal without leaving any scars.
If the wound is much deeper and even damages the subcutaneous tissue, the underlying muscles and bones may also be damaged. This is seen in third degree burns or a severe fall. When this is the case, the wound always heals with a scar.
What can you do about damaged skin?
Scratched that annoying mosquito bite too hard? Got another unexpected sunburn (burned yourself with a hair straightener) or squeezed another pimple just a little too enthusiastically? Then you probably want to avoid scars, especially on your face. It is important to avoid the sun because new scars are susceptible to dark pigmentation when exposed to UV rays.
Disclaimer: reducing scars is something you should only do if you want to do it yourself. Scars are neither beautiful nor ugly, but they do make you who you are.