Burn Center

Home > Specialties > Burn Center > What is a scar?

What is a scar?

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - What is a scar

When a wound is so deep or wide that its edges cannot touch as it heals, a visible scar may form. Scar tissue is made of collagen, the tough material manufactured by the fibroblasts (the fiber-making cells that rebuild all injuries). In smaller cuts we cannot see the small amount of collagen fiber that forms beneath the surface of skin. In a larger wound, however, so much fiber is needed to fill the gap that it is visible, and we call it a scar. Because scar tissue is made of fibers, not skin cells, it is stronger than ordinary skin. Unlike skin, it does not have hairs, sweat glands or blood vessels. It may look shiny and is often a different color from the skin around it.

When someone is burned, they are often left with a scar after the skin is done healing. Depending on how bad the burn was, the scar may be hardly noticeable or very noticeable.

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Skin graft

If a person has a skin graft, the site where the donor skin came from can also scar. An immature donor site is red; it may be painful and itch. An immature donor site may also have scars that are red. Occasionally, donor sites become raised.

The color of a mature donor site or skin graft is less red, does not itch and is no longer painful. Skin that is mature is softer and moves more easily. However, mature donor skin does not look exactly like unburned skin, and it never will. With the proper therapy, however, the burned skin can heal with the least amount of scarring possible.