If you like to ride your unicycle off-road or practice ollies off the stairs, chances are you may have fallen and gotten a scrape or two over the years. In fact, you might have a few reminders of those past scrapes. Do you have any scars?

If you do, that’s OK. Most of us do. Whether it’s a cut from an accident or an incision from surgery, you can get scars in a lot of ways.

A scar is just the light pink, brown or white mark on your skin that shows where a cut, scratch or sore has healed. Scars show where your skin has successfully healed itself after an injury.

Although some people don’t like scars, they can be powerful reminders of important events that you’ve experienced. If you had a major surgery as a child, you might have a scar that reminds you how fortunate you are to be healthy now.

In ancient days, warriors would show off their scars to prove how bravely they fought in battles. In this way, scars can tell stories that are exciting and heroic!

Although there are many ways to injure your skin, it repairs itself in much the same way regardless of how it gets hurt. When you cut or scratch your skin, tissues get injured.

To repair these broken tissues, your skin makes strong protein fibers called “collagen.” The collagen fibers act like bridges that reconnect the injured tissues.

While the tissues are healing, your skin forms a temporary crust over the wound to protect it. We call this crust a “scab.” Over time, the skin underneath the scab heals, and the scab eventually dries up and falls off.

When the scab falls off, you can often see where the skin has healed itself. Sometimes the new skin is slightly different in color. That’s a scar!

The easiest way to prevent scars is to avoid accidents in the first place. Of course, accidents happen every day, and we don’t plan on them. That’s why they’re called “accidents”!

If you do have an accident and you want to avoid having a scar, make sure you treat your skin well while it is healing. How do you do that? Keep your wound covered to avoid infections from bacteria or germs.

Also, don’t pick at scabs as they form. Scabs help protect the wound.

Picking at them can allow germs and bacteria into the wound. Your doctor may also recommend applying lotions with vitamin C or vitamin E to help the healing process.

If you do end up with a scar, don’t worry. While many scars are permanent and will always be visible, some scars fade over time.

In addition, there are many scar treatments available today — from medicated creams to makeup to minor surgeries — that can help get rid of unwanted scars.

 

22 Join the Discussion

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  1. YAY!!! We are back from our summer vacation! We love our friends at Wonderopolis and are so excited to be back with you!

    We thought it was interesting (but gross) to watch the video and see how the healing process changed the skin from a scab to a scar. We also found it interesting to learn that scars can change colors and even fade.

    • Welcome back to Wonderopolis, Kerrick Elem 2nd/EBD classroom! We’re so glad you are joining us for another fun-filled year of learning! :-)

  2. This site never loads consistently – I am trying to use it in my class as a daily start up (middle school technology) but I can’t because it never seems to load for them!! Any way this can be looked at or is there a better way for me to share these with my students?

  3. Hello again wonderopolis,
    It was so awesome to learn about scars and seeing the video of the scar changing from one day to the next. Today I saw someone with a big scar on their arm. The scar looked purple to me.

    Maddy M

    • Happy Wednesday, Maddy! Sometimes scars can be different colors, depending on lots of reasons (how severe the injury was, the tone of the person’s skin, how far along the scar is in the healing process). Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis today and for leaving another AWESOME comment! :-)

    • Hi, Wonder Friend! The smiley faces are made up of three punctuation marks in a row: a colon, a short dash, and an end parenthesis. When you hit the “submit” button to send your comment, the website turns those punctuation marks into a round face that smiles! Try it for yourself! :-)

  4. Hey Wonderopolis! I’d like to be your WONDER FRIEND please…..loved :) the new WONDER by the way! See you tomorrow, Wonderopolis Friend!

    • You are ABSOLUTELY a GREAT Wonder Friend, Some Person! We appreciate all your comments and how you visit different Wonders of the Day®! :-)

  5. I have a lot of scars. I have one on my leg that I got this year when I was practicing volleyball, and now it’s really big. Ii have one on my chin from falling on a nail on a door, and it was on Christmas, too!! It was bad, but now my scar looks cool. :)

    • Thanks for sharing about your scars, Emmy! Lots of Wonder Friends have scars. Some scars get smaller in proportion to our bodies as we grow up, so maybe your volleyball scar won’t seem so big in a few years. Thanks so much for being an AWESOME Wonder Friend! :-)

    • Hi there, Mark, we’re so glad you shared your comment about scars today! We bet you’ve had a scar or two, just like some of our Wonder Friends here! We are glad that your scar faded, but sometimes scars are permanent. This happens if a severe cut was made– like one that might happen during surgery. There are lots of different types of scars and medicines you can apply that help lighten the deep scars. But sometimes, they stick around for a long time! We’re glad you learned something new with us today, Mark! :)

  6. I have gotten a scar on my knee revised. It was a keloid scar. They stuck a needle in my knee and cut in out with special scissors!

    • Well we sure are glad you’re okay, Brita! We are glad you shared your very cool connection to our Wonder about scars! Stay strong, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Hi Lydia, we’re sorry to hear about your small scars. Perhaps you can talk to your parents about some ideas for preventing these scars in the future. We are glad you have been WONDERing about scars with us. We hope to Wonder with you again soon! :)

  7. :) I have had a talk with my parents. They said it wil fade with time but I’m pretty skeptical about the fading. It’s on my face so it makes me look very unattractive. There are like 6 small scars and very much noticeable. Every night I cry myself to sleep ;(. And every minute I pray to God to make it fade. All I can do is pray to God to do his miracle on me. Wish God hears me and answer my prayer.

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend, Lydia! We are very proud of you for sharing how you feel about your scars. We’re sorry that they make you feel sad, but we hope you’ll think about all the WONDERful things in your life. Those scars might make you feel sad, and sometimes it helps to talk about your feelings with your parents or an adult you trust. We hope you’ll think about all the things that make you WONDERful, too! Perhaps you have a favorite activity, like sports, art, or yoga! What kinds of WONDERful things, including your friends and family, make you smile, Lydia? :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do scars last forever?
  • What causes scars?
  • How can you reduce the chance of scarring?

Wonder Gallery

Try It Out

As you’ve learned, one of the best ways to prevent scars is to treat your skin well during the healing process. The first step is to learn what to do when you get a cut or a scratch. Let’s learn first aid for these types of injuries!

If you get a cut or a scratch, first stop any bleeding. Grab a soft, clean cloth, and press it against the cut or scratch. You’ll also want to find someone to assist you as soon as possible.

If the bleeding does not stop after a few minutes, you’ll probably need to go to the doctor for professional care. Most minor cuts and scratches will stop bleeding shortly after you apply pressure to them with a cloth.

Once the bleeding stops, clean the cut or scratch with soap and warm water. You may want someone’s help with the cleaning process.

Wash the cut or scratch with warm, soapy water until you’re sure that there is no dirt or debris in the wound. If necessary, you can use a damp cloth to help remove any small bits of dirt from the wound.

When the wound is clean, apply a small bit of antibacterial ointment to the area. This will help keep germs away and prevent infections.

Finally, use a bandage or a gauze pad to cover the wound. This helps keep the area clean, dry and free of germs.

Change the bandage or gauze pad at least once each day or any time you notice it’s wet or unclean. Feel free to apply more antibacterial ointment to keep the wound germ-free.

If you don’t have any cuts right now, that’s good! You can still practice first aid. Just draw a scratch on your arm or leg with a red marker, and then follow the steps above.

 

Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ You and Your Skin tool to learn more about the anatomy and functions of your skin!

 

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