Why don't scars just go away?
October 30, 2008 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Probably a dumb question, but if skin cells regenerate completely over time, why aren't scars... regenerated out?
posted by xmutex to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

The simple answer is that the scar tissue is also regenerating and since they're making copies of the same unorganized collagen, you get the same scar tissue.
posted by junesix at 9:25 AM on October 30, 2008

Such that I understand, scar tissue is a different sort of skin where your body has gone "Arrgh! Dermis seriously violated!!! Thicken and protect!" Scars don't slough off to reveal healthy skin, they're a thicker patch.

Keloid scars in particular will continue growing after formation, and can become unsightly bumps that require medical treatment to get rid of.
posted by Phalene at 9:26 AM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'm not a dermatologist nor did i look anything up, but i sure have noticed that many of my notable childhood scars are barely there or gone at this point. so i think to some extent scars are positively affected by time. i imagine it would have a lot to do with what kind of scar it was, how it was cared for, where it was, etc.
posted by Soulbee at 11:13 AM on October 30, 2008

It's an artifact of the healing process.

The way we grow our skin tissue through childhood is different than the way we regenerate skin tissue that is injured.

Over time it goes through similar remodeling processes as the rest of our skin tissue, but as it was never the same to start with some of the differences always persist to some degree, diminishing over time but never completely disappearing.

To clarify, it's not correct that you're making copies of the same unorganized collagen, as collagen structures are continually remodeled to adjust to stressors. Wikipedia page on wound healing
posted by zentrification at 6:15 PM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

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