Scar Treatment

Types of scars and their treatments

4 min read

Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies.  When the skin is damaged from wounds, scars can develop.  The type of scar that may develop – and whether your skin will scar at all – is dependent on many things. Different types of scars need different care and treatment.

  • Scars form differently, resulting in different scar types
  • Different types of scars may need different care regimes
  • Scars cannot be removed completely but can be faded
  • See your healthcare professional for scarring from deep wounds

In this article:

  • The main types of scars
  • How to treat different scars
  • Available scar treatment products

The main types of scars

When talking about the type of scars, you can refer to the type and the cause. Scars usually fall into these main types[2]:

  • Contracture 

Contracture scars are most common with burn injuries. They’re so-called because they cause the skin to contract or tighten. They are caused by a large area of skin becoming damaged or lost, and can be treated with skin grafts, Z-plasty or tissue expansion. Contracture scars can also restrict the movement of muscles, joints and tendons.

  • Depressed

Depressed or atrophic scars look like small pits or indentations in the skin. Acne and chickenpox are the biggest cause of these scars, most known as chickenpox scars or ice pick scars.

  • Flat

Flat scars might begin as raised tissue, but gradually flatten during the healing process. They are usually red or pink and may appear darker or lighter than the surrounding skin.

  • Acne

If you’ve suffered from acne at some point in your life, you  may have scars. Some people with severe acne are left with bad acne scars, which leave their face or affected area with deep pits. Some acne scars will appear angular or wavelike. Others will have smaller and shallower scars.

  • Hypertrophic

Hypertrophic scars are like keloid scars but remain within the original injury area. They often appear after a few weeks of the initial skin damage but can heal naturally in time. Although hypertrophic scars have an aggressive appearance of red, thick and raised skin, they are more treatable than keloid scars.

  • Keloid

Keloids often spread beyond the initial area and appear raised above the skin’s surface. They are most common in people with darker skin and, if left untreated, can affect movement.

Does scar type mean different treatments?

Different types of scars have different treatment options depending on what damaged the skin.

Scar care is not 100% effective, but can hugely improve and reduce the appearance of unwanted scars [3]. Topical scar creams and ointments can be used for minor scarring such as acne scars and chickenpox scars.

If you are seeking treatment ideas for your keloids, hypertrophic or contracture scars, contact your healthcare professional.  Steroids are also the initial option for hypertrophic scars, but you may need surgery if you have severe scarring. Surgery and skin grafts are more intense treatments that can be an effective option for contracture scars.


Each scar type needs a different approach. You should carefully consider the treatment options for your scars and discuss them with a medical professional.


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