Can collagen heal scars? The answer is possibly, but the real answer is more complicated than that. Collagen is the protein that helps smooth your skin and that gives your skin a little padding, so to speak. When your skin is damaged in any way, from a small scrape or a pimple that forms and is then burst, collagen is involved in the healing process. Collagen helps fill in the area that was damaged, but whether there is scarring depends on how organised the collagen replacement might be.
For example, a woman experienced a brown recluse spider bite on the calf of her leg. Her doctor prescribed antibiotics which were a drawing agent that helped remove the spider venom from the wound. After three months, the bite finally healed but left a puckered scar with a knot at the centre that was surrounded by dark pigmentation. The spider bite had destroyed enough tissue that the body was forced to send a lot of collagen to the wound site. But instead of being organised in the normal crisscross pattern characteristic of undamaged skin, the venom had disorganised the information given to the cells. The wound was sufficiently traumatic that the collagen cells came racing to help heal it, and they piled into the area in a disorganised fashion, creating a large raised bump. As time goes on, the mark will fade, although the woman will probably always have a memento from the experience.
Surgeons sometimes use injected collagen to help the body heal a wound or to fill in a scar that dips below the skin’s normal surface. It is not unusual, for example, for a spider bite such as the one described to create a hollow where the tissue was destroyed. Acne can cause similar scarring, although usually on a much smaller scale. Although it is not yet certain that collagen drinks or supplements are effective, there is cautious optimism that properly taken collagen supplements can help support your natural collagen and boost the healing process. Look for hydrolysed collagen that is combined with other helpful ingredients, such as vitamin C.
Your body makes its own collagen naturally. You can support its production with your personal habits. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol all have an adverse effect on collagen production. What might come as a surprise is that too much sugar can also be a problem. Your liver is one of the main organs that produce collagen. It also plays a major part in regulating blood sugar levels. When it is heavily impacted with too much sugar, your liver can begin to malfunction and that can adversely affect your collagen levels.
Healthful exercise, protecting your skin from the sun, and staying hydrated with non-caffeinated beverages all play a beneficial role, in not only maintaining healthy collagen levels but also in your overall health. One simple investment that can be of great help is a wide-brimmed hat that can protect your face from the sun. Excess UV radiation can cause damage to your skin’s collagen and to the general elasticity of your skin.
So, does collagen help heal scars? Healthy levels of collagen can make a difference in smoothing scars and allowing them to fade, but scars can actually be collagen that has built up haphazardly as the cells rush to close up an open wound. If the skin is sufficiently damaged, as with a spider bite or a severe burn, the collagen might not have a good template left for how the skin should go or it has piled up in one spot hastily trying to repair damages. You might almost think of the collagen cells in this latter case as a Keystone cops routine as compared to the orderly march of a band on parade, but they will always be an important part of any wound healing process.
If you are concerned about scarring, ask your physician if collagen might be a beneficial treatment and how it should be administered for the best results. Creams and lotions that include collagen do not usually work because the collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed through the skin. Scientists are cautiously optimistic that collagen supplements can assist your natural levels of collagen in some cases.