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  • 6 Scar Types, Causes, Treatment Options

6 Scar Types, Causes, Treatment Options

  • Neodyne
  • February 22, 2022

Picture this: You're 12 years old and riding your bike down a steep hill in your neighborhood. You don't see the pothole in front of you and before you get a chance to hit the brakes, your bike goes flying in the air. Thankfully, you don't get hurt too badly, but you're left with a nasty cut in your knee that eventually fades into a scar.

Scars can form as a result of a multitude of reasons. You can get a scar after a surgical procedure. You can get a scar after an injury. You can even get a scar after an infection. Scars can form on all different parts of your body, and there are also various types of scars.

While scars are common — most people have had some type of unfortunate incident that resulted in a scar — they can also be a huge insecurity. Depending on the type of scar that you have and where it's located on your body, a scar can make you feel very self-conscious. Which is why it's so important to be aware of the different types of scars so that you can care for yours properly.

In this blog post, we'll be discussing what exactly a scar is, the different types of scars, how to treat them, and more. Don't let your scar be a source of insecurity. You just need to learn how to care for it properly.

Continue reading or click the links below to navigate throughout the post to find out how you can go about identifying what kind of scar you have and how to care for it.

What is a Scar?

A scar is the body's way of healing and replacing lost or damaged skin. If you lose skin as a result of an injury or surgery, you're likely going to have a scar. Your skin will start to grow new tissue to pull together the wound and fill in any gaps, resulting in a scar. A scar is typically made up of fibrous tissue called collagen.

Scars can happen anywhere on the body. You can get a scar on your toe and you can get a scar on your face. It ultimately just depends on where the wound happened. Scars can also look different for everyone, depending on the type of scar you have.

Some scars are flat and painless. Some scars are raised and itchy. A scar can be colored, sunken, or painful. It all just depends on how you got the scar. There are many different types of scars that can occur as a result of different injuries, surgical procedures, or infections.

The appearance of a scar also depends on the individual. For example, people with darker skin are more likely to develop keloid scars, which we'll get more into below. A lot of factors contribute to the final look of a scar, such as age, skin type, type of injury, the direction of the wound, and more.

In many cases, a scar will fade on its own, however, this is not the case for all scars. Depending on the type of scar, it can be painful and unsightly, and ultimately cause insecurities.

If this is something you're dealing with, scar treatment is a good solution. There are various treatment options to minimize the appearance of scars and alleviate pain.

Next, we're going to discuss common types of scars and their causes.

Common Scar Types

If you have a scar on any part of your body, you're probably wondering: What type of scar do I have? Scars aren't as straightforward as you may think. There are many different types of scars that can be a result of an injury or surgery. In this blog post, we'll be discussing the 6 common scar types and what their main causes are.

1. Contracture

A contracture scar typically happens after a burn. A contracture scar causes the skin to tighten and can restrict movement, due to the skin and underlying tissue pulling together during the healing process. A contracture scar can impact the muscles, joints, and tendons, and ultimately result in a decrease of movement.

Depending on the size and location of your contracture scar, this lack of movement can be quite frustrating. Fortunately, there are various ways you can go about treating a contracture scar.

A skin graft is a common treatment option that involves replacing skin with a part of the body that is missing skin. Healthy skin will be taken from another part of the body and attached to the damaged part. Tissue expansion is another option that involves increasing the amount of existing tissue to reconstruct the scar area.

2. Depressed (atrophic)

Depressed, or atrophic scars, are often a result of chickenpox or acne. Atrophic scars form when the skin is unable to regenerate tissue, appearing as a small indentation in the skin. These scars are most common on the face and can become more noticeable with time, as the skin loses collagen as you get older.

Because atrophic scars typically happen on the face, they can cause a lot of insecurities. Fortunately, there are various ways you can go about treating atrophic scars, both professionally and at home. Chemical peels, fillers, and skin needling are all treatments you can get done at a dermatologist's office. There are also many over-the-counter products you can use to reduce the appearance of atrophic scars.

3. Flat

A flat scar will start off raised and then will gradually flatten with time. They are usually pink or red in color. Depending on your skin type and skin tone, the scars may become slightly darker or lighter than the surrounding skin.

Although flat scars typically fade on their own, there are various ways you can go about minimizing their appearance, if it's something you're insecure about. Surgery, silicone injections, and silicone sheets are all effective options.

4. Keloids

Keloid scars are raised scars that form above the skin's surface. Keloid scars are thick, misshapen clumps of tissue that grow on the site of a wound, but also expand past the wound. This overgrowth can be uncomfortable and can affect movement. Keloid scars are usually red or dark in color, but the color varies depending on the skin tone of the individual.

A keloid can form wherever the skin is damaged. A keloid can occur after surgery, a piercing, a cut, and more. It's essentially a result of excessive healing of a skin wound, which causes the scar to grow beyond the wound site. A keloid can form up to a year after the initial wound occurs.

Keloids can occur anywhere on the body, but they are most common on the chest, back, shoulders, and earlobes. This is because those are less fatty areas that make your skin more susceptible to the formation of a keloid. People with darker skin tones are also more likely to develop keloids.

There are several ways you can go about treating keloid scars, however, recurrence after treatment is common. Steroid injections are one option that helps to reduce the itchiness and redness that may occur. Cryotherapy is another option that involves freezing the scar off your body. Pressure therapy, surgery, and radiation are all other options that can help to minimize the appearance of keloids.

5. Raised (hypertrophic)

Raised scars, also known as hypertrophic scars, are similar to keloids. They form when an excessive amount of collagen grows at the site of a wound. However, a hypertrophic scar won't grow beyond the border of a wound, unlike a keloid scar. But a hypertrophic scar can become thicker and more noticeable over time.

A hypertrophic scar often occurs after cosmetic surgery, like a mommy makeover or tummy tuck. Wherever an incision is made to perform cosmetic surgery, some sort of scar will be left. Hypertrophic scars commonly occur in areas where the skin is taut, such as the back, chest, shoulders, and upper arms.

It can take up to a few weeks for a hypertrophic scar to develop after the wound occurred. While it's possible it can go away on its own, this process can take over a year. So, finding a treatment option is a good idea if a hypertrophic scar is something you're insecure about.

Steroids are one way you can go about treating hypertrophic scars. This can involve an injection or a direct application. Laser therapy is another option that targets blood vessels in the scar to prevent growth. You can also get surgery to actually cut the scar out, however surgery is typically a last resort option.

6. Stretch marks

Stretch marks occur when the skin expands or shrinks at a quick rate. This causes the connective tissues under the skin to become damaged, thus resulting in a scar. Stretch marks are common during pregnancy and puberty. You can also develop stretch marks if you gain or lose a lot of weight.

Stretch marks can happen anywhere on your body, but they are most common on the stomach, arms, and breasts. Stretch marks typically look like lines across the body and they can be pink, red, brown, or various other colors depending on the skin tone of the individual. While stretch marks start off dark and noticeable, they'll gradually fade over time.

There are a few ways you can treat stretch marks, both at home and professionally. You can use over-the-counter ointments to help fade the color of stretch marks. You can use prescription medicine, like hyaluronic acid or tretinoin cream. There are also numerous procedures dermatologists can perform to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, such as chemical peels and laser therapy.

Scar Treatment Options

While scars are fairly common, that doesn't mean they aren't a cause for majority insecurity. Depending on the size, location, and type of scar that you have, it can make you feel really self-conscious. This is why it's crucial to find the proper treatment for your scar.

But before you go ahead and self-diagnose yourself with a specific type of scar, make sure you see a dermatologist first. A dermatologist is knowledgeable about all types of scars and will have useful insight on how to go about treating them.

Treating scars is not a one size fits all situation — different scars require different treatment methods. A dermatologist will tell you the type of scar that you have, if the scar will fade on its own, and what treatment method is best.

There are various scar treatment options that your dermatologist may recommend, such as:

Corticosteroid injections: This type of steroid injection is commonly used to treat raised scars and keloids. A dermatologist will inject a corticosteroid into the scar, which will help to reduce the size and appearance of the scar, as well as alleviate itching and pain.

This has proven to be quite an effective treatment option, and it can reduce the size of a scar by more than 50%. Multiple injections are usually required.

Pressure therapy: Pressure therapy involves using a pressure garment, like an elastic bandage or stocking, to prevent a scar from forming while it heals. Pressure therapy can also prevent a keloid from returning if you get it surgically removed.

With pressure therapy, it's crucial to wear the garment for as long as possible. You may have to wear your pressure garment for over a year, depending on the size and severity of your scar.

Silicone gel: Silicone gel can either be used in the form of a sheet or an ointment and is an effective method of treating various types of scars. Silicone gel can be used to treat a raised scar by minimizing its size and hardness. It can also be used to prevent a scar from developing, especially after surgery.

Typically, silicone gel sheets are more effective than ointment. embrace® Scar Therapy carries scar treatment kits that deal specifically with surgical scarring. With embrace®, you can shop scar kits by procedure and find an effective treatment for everything from tummy tuck scars to arm lift scars.

embrace® scar treatment kits include uniquely designed silicone applicators that you can apply to scars to reduce their appearance. The applicators are made out of medical-grade silicone and adhesive and will protect your skin from everyday movement while keeping your scar hydrated. Consistently using these silicone sheets will result in lighter, flatter, and much less noticeable scars.

Laser therapy: Laser therapy is a very popular treatment option that can help considerably reduce the appearance of scars. In addition to reducing the appearance of scars, laser therapy can also prevent scars from forming, decrease scarring after surgery, lessen the color of scars, reduce pain and itchiness, and more.

Laser therapy is generally a very safe procedure with limited side effects. Just make sure to consult with your dermatologist so you can decide if it's the right treatment method for you.

Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is another scar treatment option. Radiation therapy can help to reduce keloids and raised scars, relieve itchiness and pain, and reduce the risk of a scar returning after surgery.

Radiation therapy is not nearly as common as the other treatment options because there is a concern that radiation can lead to cancer. There are also a few potential side effects of radiation therapy, like dark spots and swelling. Radiation therapy should only be considered as a last resort option.

Cryosurgery: With cryosurgery, a dermatologist will freeze a scar by destroying the scar tissue. Cryosurgery is mainly used to reduce the size of keloids and alleviate pain and itchiness. One treatment session can reduce the size of a keloid by over 50%.

Scar surgery: Scar surgery involves a dermatologist physically cutting the scar out. While scar surgery can be an effective treatment method, it should only be used if all other treatment options have failed. This is because a scar can return even after it's been surgically removed.

Scar surgery is often done to reduce the size of a keloid scar as well as increase your range of movement if movement is limited due to a scar.

Wrapping Up

Scars can occur from numerous incidents. Maybe you fell off a bike and scraped your knee. Maybe you had cosmetic surgery done. Maybe you had chickenpox. Regardless of the cause of your scar, it's important to find the right course of treatment so that you can reduce its appearance and alleviate any discomfort you may have.

There are various types of scar treatment methods suitable for various types of scars, so make sure you consult with your dermatologist so you can determine what the best course of action is for you.

If you are insecure about your scarring from cosmetic surgery, check out embrace® Scar Therapy. embrace® is a simple and effective way to reduce the appearance of scars with a silicone gel sheet. All you have to do is place the applicator on your scars and they'll be flatter and less noticeable than you ever thought imaginable.

Scars can make a person feel really insecure. If this is something you're struggling with, don't just settle for insecurity. Find the proper treatment method so that you can feel confident in yourself and your skin.