Life Cycle of a Scar

Its really cool to dress up like a scary creature for Halloween…but aren’t you glad that you can wash off your ghoulish makeup and be your beautiful self once again…but maybe you can’t…because you are plagued by ugly scars…

Scars are the result of the healing process. Collagen forms beneath the skin as a part of the process of wound healing. Scars are formed from wounds, burns, surgeries, accidents, stretch marks and acne. Scars heal differently based upon the type of wound and individual factors that determine the size and look of the scar.

  • Scars heal in three phases:
  • 1) the inflammatory stage
  • 2) the proliferative stage
  • 3) remodeling stage.


  • The inflammatory stage is the 1st stage. It lasts only a few days.
  • At this stage, the wound is red and inflamed. Bleeding stops and antibodies rush to the site of the wound to fight infection.
  • As the body starts to heal, it produces new cells and healing tissue.
  • The increased blood flow is what causes the discoloration.
  • Scabbing over of the wound is also part of the inflammatory stage. The scab serves as a protective covering on the wound while it heals.


  • The proliferative stage lasts about three to four weeks. Fibroblasts, proliferate at the site of the wound. Fibroblasts produce collagen.
  • Collagen continues to form for up to two weeks, pulling the edges of the wound together.
  • Tiny blood vessels and capillaries form to help heal the wound. The growth of collagen causes the wound to become thicker and redder in appearance.
  • An over-active healing process can cause extra production of collagen that builds up on the wound causing a raised, or keloid scar.
  • Keloids can cause itchiness, redness and sometimes pain. Darker skinned people are more prone to keloids


  • In the remodeling stage, scars start to fade and thin out. This stage continues for a few weeks to a few years. Some scars fade to a thin white line and are barely noticeable.
  • However…genetics play an important role in how a scar will heal. Some scars produce lighter, flatter scars, while others produce darker, thicker scars.
  • Illnesses can slow the healing process and change how a wound heals.
  • Certain vitamins help the body in the healing process, such as vitamin C and zinc.
  • Lifestyle also factors in how your scars heal.



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