Every scar is different in size, shape, texture and severity. Lots of factors can determine what kind of scar you end up with and what the right treatment will be. Here are some common types of scars, how they form and how you should treat them.
Scar Types: a Look at 4 of the Most Common
- Acne scars: These often form in the teenage years due to acne, but they can also form later on if you suffer from adult acne. Whether shallow or deep, treatment can range from topical retinoids and salicylic acid to chemical peels and laser resurfacing. Even fillers and injections can offer solutions.
- Contracture scars: If you’ve been burned, this is the type of scar that will result. These burns will tighten up the skin and make it harder to flex the area, especially on joints. The underlying muscles and nerves are impacted by this type of scar.
- Hypertrophic scars: Red in color and raised in texture, these scars usually remain contained to the area of injury. Laser surgery and steroid injections are two popular ways to treat hypertrophic scars.
- Keloid scars: Unlike hypertrophic scars, keloid scars spread beyond the initial injury area because the cells over produce. Severe keloids can impact mobility. Popular treatments include laser surgery, traditional surgery, cryotherapy, steroids or radiation. Pressure treatment and silicone gel can be used on a daily basis to lessen their formation.
Of course, there are other types of scars out there, from chemical burns to C-section scars. They all look and feel different from one another. Your dermatologist can examine you and let you know which type you have.
The Formation of Scars
Scars are basically how the body heals itself. The healing process varies by type of scar. Whereby one will just look discolored and flat, another may look lumpy or sunken. Some come with itchiness as well.
Placement of the scar on the body will also affect healing time. Anytime you have a scar on a joint area such as an elbow or knee, you can expect it to take longer to heal due to the constant flexing. Some scars fade away over the years while other scars, such as acne scars, may stick with you for the rest of your life because you may have continued systemic flare ups.
And of course, people who pick at scabs or wounds, such as children, will see a longer healing time and more pronounced scarring.
Scars can form in the following ways:
- Surgeries (open heart, C-section)
- Tissue inflammation
How Can You Treat Scars?
The treatment recommended by your dermatologist will depend on what type of scar you have, how extensive the injury was, and what your preferences are. You can choose from:
- Laser surgery
- Skin grafting
- Pressure treatment
- Topical gels and ointments
- Dressings and sheets
For run-of-the-mill scars, a topical ointment such as Scarfade will be great at fading the scar over time. You should only use surgery as a last resort.
Placement will affect treatment, too. If you have a scar on your face, for example, you will probably want a more aggressive treatment because that’s what people see most.
But again, for mild to moderate cases, we recommend applying a silicone scar gel like Scarfade, massaged into the area twice a day, before you decide on more invasive procedures.