Scars—what does that word bring to mind? Learn all about scars, including types of scars and what you can do about them.
Do you think of:
- Red, raised keloid scars that continue to grow even years after your injury?
- Deep pitted or keloid scars from acne or chickenpox?
- A prominent hypertrophic scar from surgery?
- The faint white lines from toddler-year stumbles?
There are so many different types of scars.
One thing they can have in common is how they can leave you feeling self-conscious, especially when someone rudely points them out.
Your scars may be the story of how you’ve lived, but they don’t have to define you.
If you’ve just started to notice your acne, injury, or incision isn’t healing the way you expected it to, you’re in the right place. This guide explains all the different types of scars and what you can do about them.
The 6 Different Types of Scars
Want to know what type of scars you have? For each different type, we’ve compiled detailed information about:
- How they look
- What causes them
- What to expect
#1 Atrophic scars
If you’ve ever had chickenpox or acne, you may have sunken scars that look like tiny holes or enlarged pores in your skin. These are known as atrophic scars.
According to the Goodman Baron Scar Classification, these range from macular scars (a different colour to the rest of your skin but still flat) to severe scars where someone standing 50cms away could see them.
The pitted nature of these severe scars means they can’t be easily covered by makeup. Another way of knowing if your scarring is severe is by parting them with your fingers. You won’t be able to make severe atrophic scars flat.
It’s not entirely known why some people get atrophic scars, and others walk away from acne without a blemish. But they occur when the skin can’t regenerate tissue, so a gap is formed. This could be after a case of chickenpox, if you have had cystic acne, or following mole removal.
Within this category of indented scars, there are 3 subcategories.
These are wave-like undulations in the skin of varying depths. If your skin has this uneven texture, it’s because bands of scar tissue have formed underneath. They make your skin look and feel bumpy.
If you looked at the profile of an ice-pick scar, you would see a deep V shape, with a broader hole narrowing into a point. From the surface of your skin, it can look like a deep pore. As the name suggests, they look like they’ve been made in the skin with a minuscule ice-pick. However, it’s often the result of a healing cyst or infection in your pores caused by acne.
These depressed scars are similar to ice-pick scars but have more defined edges and a flat bottom—like a box. Box-car scars may be the same colour as the rest of your face, or you might notice that they’re redder or darker.
#2 Hypertrophic Scars
These are thick, raised scars. If you run your finger over a hypertrophic scar, you’ll notice that it feels harder and thicker than the rest of your skin. And they tend to be red, pink or purple.
If you’ve got hypertrophic scars, they’re likely the result of trauma to the skin. These types of scars are an abnormal healing response to a deeper wound.
If the dermis (your second layer of skin) or lower is damaged, your body sends collagen to knit the skin together. Collagen is a less flexible tissue than the surrounding skin, which results in a scar.
During this process, your body sometimes creates more collagen than necessary, resulting in a raised hypertrophic scar. Some people do seem more prone to hypertrophic scars than others, and there’s little known about why this is.
You’ll know about 4–8 after the initial trauma whether you have a hypertrophic scar. They can continue to grow for up to 6 months but remain within the wound area before reducing again over the next few years.
If your scar extends beyond the original wound site, you may have a keloid scar.
#3 Keloid Scars
Keloid scars are a type of hypertrophic scar, but they are also unique.
Where most other scars will either stop or regress in their formation, a keloid scar will continue to grow for a long period of time. They can even form seemingly spontaneously with minor or no-apparent injury. A mere insect bite could be enough to trigger a keloid scar.
Common places to get keloids include:
- Middle of chest
Other hypertrophic scars may be surgically removed with success. On the other hand, keloids are likely to return, so surgery may not be an option.
How do you know if you have a keloid scar? They tend to be red and project out from the skin and original injury site. These lumps are shiny and hairless but could be either soft or firm to touch.
While we know that overproduction of collagen causes keloids, there isn’t much known about why. However, you could be more at risk if you:
- Have brown or black skin
- Are between 20–30 years old
- Have had a keloid before
- Have a family history of keloids
#4 Contracture Scars
As the name suggests, contracture scars cause the skin to contract. These types are scars occur after a larger patch of skin is lost through injury or a burn. However, burns can also cause hypertrophic or keloid scars.
Because these are generally the result of injury, they can occur anywhere on your body.
A contracture scar covers and heals that exposed area by pulling the skin together. What’s left is a smaller but thicker patch of skin than the original site. This can limit the movement of the affected area, especially if it occurs over a joint. Contracture scars can continue to cause pain.
If you have a contracture scar, you’ll likely notice that the colour varies from your regular skin tone. It might be either lighter or darker. And the scar will be thicker than the surrounding skin.
You probably know striae as stretch marks—a common type of scar that occurs with rapidly expanding or contracting skin. It’s estimated that up to 90% of people will get stretch marks. Common times to get stretch marks include pregnancy, puberty, or sudden weight gain or loss.
Stretch marks can cover large areas of your body, including:
Initially, they appear as a different colour to your skin tone, ranging from red, purple, brown or pink. Over time they faced into silvery or white streaks.
They tend to have a shiny texture and may be slightly indented or ridged.
They occur when the tissue underneath rapidly shrinks or expands. This is because the skin stretches and damages the dermis. However, stretch marks aren’t painful or dangerous to your health. They’re considered a cosmetic concern.
For more information, check out our recent guide to all things stretch marks.
#6 Acne Scars
This type of scar is the result of acne that’s since healed. Sometimes pimples and blemishes are small, and when the inflammation is over, your skin shows no clues of your acne.
However, you could be left with acne scars on your face or body when your acne is particularly severe—if you have cystic acne and infection has caused the wall of the pore to be damaged.
Acne scars can be any or all of the 3 types of atrophic scars—rolling, ice-pick or box-car. Remember, these occur when there’s a loss of tissue and an indentation is left behind.
However, acne scars can also be hypertrophic, when the skin produces too much collagen during the healing process. Hypertrophic scars are more likely to occur on your chest, back, shoulders or jawline.
You may even have a combination of these types of scars on different parts of your body.
The Role of Collagen in Scar Healing
We’ve talked a lot about collagen so far. This protein plays a huge role in the healing process of the skin.
It’s also the thing that gives your skin structure, which is what you probably know it for.
Dermapen Treatments™ improve a wide variety of skin concerns, including scars, by regulating collagen production.
Dermapen Treatments for Scars
Rather than applying oils and lotions and hoping for the best, microneedling acne scars and other types of scars triggers a biological reaction in the skin that can help revise their appearance.
Dermapen 4™ has a dedicated Scar Treatment Setting (it’s the only microneedling pen that does) to reach the right layers at the right speed to help improve the way your scars look.
Every Authorised Treatment Provider around the world has access to in-depth and proven Protocols and training on revising:
- Atrophic scars
- Hypertrophic scars
- Keloid scars
- Contracture scars
- Acne Scars
- Striae (stretch marks)
A Synergy of Solutions for Smoother Skin
Microneedling with the Dermapen 4 on its own will get you excellent results, but if you want faster, more head-turning results (and who doesn’t?), you need to support your treatments with correct skincare before, during, and after.
Use these revolutionary scar skincare products and watch your scars fade.
SSSCAR™ (Scar, Surgical, Striae, Contracture, Acne, Restore) is a must for your scars. It contains silicone gel, which is clinically proven to reduce the texture, height and colour of scars. Our 7-Silicone Liquid Sheeting System includes a combination of seven silicone variants—many scar creams only have 1. Used in combination with Dermapen Treatments, it allows the skin’s collagen production to normalise, helping reduce the appearance of keloids and hypertrophic scars.
Chemical peels improve the look of your skin by removing the top layer of skin. But this might not be effective for scars that occur deeper in the skin. The ÜBER MD Peel is a professional, medical-strength peel that delivers medium-depth coagulative necrosis in the depression point. It’s ideal for atrophic scars or stretch marks, as well as deep wrinkles. And can be applied immediately following a Dermapen Treatment.
Dp Dermaceuticals Skincare Routine
There are, of course, other skin concerns that exacerbate the look and feel of scars. You might also have post-inflammatory pigmentation, active acne, or dry, wrinkled skin. Dermapen Treatments are so effective as they allow you to target multiple skin concerns in one go.
There’s a lot Authorised Treatment Providers can do in a clinic. But committing to a skincare routine customised to your skin type and concerns will get you to your skin goals even faster.
Read the guide to the ultimate skincare routine.
What types of scars are you ready to leave behind?
Your scars are an undeniable part of your history, but they don’t have to be your future (if you don’t want them to be!)
Find your nearest Authorised Treatment Provider and book a consultation if you’d like to know more about your scars and whether Dermapen Treatments could help you erase them.
If you are a professional and wish to learn how to become a DermapenWorld Authorised Treatment Provider, click here.