The end of scars?

Harry Potter’s scar is one of the famous film character’s most notable features but what if scars became a thing of the past? New technology first put forward by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania could help prevent scarring from injuries in the future. Read on to see how scrapes and grazes could soon be treated so that they disappear completely.

The idea

In hairless wounds the human body is naturally unable to regenerate the skin and fat as it was and instead scar tissue forms. This study has looked into why this is and looked for answers to how scar tissue can be avoided. The science of the potential treatment is built around the idea of manipulating wounds to heal as normal skin rather than scar tissue. Cells from the wounds are transformed into fat cells or adipocytes, something that is usually impossible for the human body. Adipocytes are normally found in the skin but are lost during cell regeneration into scar tissue. By changing myofibroblasts (which make up scar tissue) into adipocytes, the skin can be reformed without visible scarring.

How does it work?

Unlike in hairless wounds, the body can regenerate skin with no scarring in wounds with hair folicles present. The trick therefore is to restore the hair first, prompting the fat to then regenerate too. If this works, the myofibroblasts will be encouraged to convert into fat rather than a scar. The new cells will look exactly the same as the skin around it making look like the injury never happened!


Regenerating skin without scarring

Hair and fat regenerate separately but as the study shows, not independently

What will be its uses?

The process is still in its very early stages but the most obvious solution is to allow people to heal without the fear of permanent scarring. As the procedure increases fat in tissue, other potential uses within dermatology including helping cure HIV and the battle against the effects of ageing.

Types of scars

Regenerating skin without scarring

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