Is it Bad When Scars Peel?

Scarring is a normal result of the skin's healing process from cuts and scrapes. As your skin heals, excess collagen collects at the injury site, replacing the lost skin and protecting underlying tissue. Scarring is also susceptible to peeling of the outer skin layers although peeling poses no danger and in some cases is simply a reaction to the healing process.

As your skin heals from a laceration, scars may form, leaving behind unsightly reminders. (Image: vladans/iStock/Getty Images)

Causes

During the healing process, you may experience peeling skin from your scar. This is not uncommon as your skin cells constantly shed as new skin cells form. When the shedding becomes noticeable to the naked eye, you could be experiencing normal dry skin. In some cases, people who suffer from eczema or psoriasis experience peeling following a flare up. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, another reason for peeling skin rests on a genetic condition called keratosis pilaris.

Treatment

Medical intervention is required if you notice scaling or signs of lesion formation on your scar, indicating the possibility of eczema or psoriasis. Your dermatologist may prescribe special creams that help combat infection as well as restore moisture to your skin. Scars that peel as a result of normal dryness are best treated with a thick, over-the-counter moisturizer. "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies" recommends taking a daily supplement of vitamin C to aid in scar healing, allowing skin cell turnover to proceed while keeping your skin nourished from the inside out.

Dermatologic Reasons

Scars do not always peel for unknown reasons. Some individuals opt for scar revision treatments such as chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser skin resurfacing to reduce scar appearance for cosmetic reasons. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, scar revision treatments possess side effects such as skin peeling at the scar site. This is perfectly normal and will subside within 48 hours of treatment depending on the depth of your scar. It is important to cover your scar with sunscreen when going outdoors while undergoing scar revision treatments.

Misconceptions

Some common misconceptions include the presence of infection or other bacterial invasion becoming trapped in your scar. This is not necessarily the case when dealing with peeling scars. According to "The Doctors Book of Home Remdies" scars are formed during the healing process and as the skin heals together, bacteria is blocked from the wound. Bacterial invasion is most likely to occur before scar formation occurs while your lesions are still open. Infection is normally accompanied by pain, heat, swelling and leakage of pus and is more likely to occur if you continually pick at your scar, causing the original wound to reopen.

Considerations

Keloid and hypertrophic scarring is not life threatening; however, when considering treatment it is important to discuss all side effects and expectations with your dermatologist. Over-the-counter chemical peel kits and microdermabrasion treatments are available for at home use however these treatments are not as effective for larger, deeper scarring.

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