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Abnormal Scarring

What Is Abnormal Scarring?

When skin is cut or injured, the body heals itself by forming scar tissue. If the body makes too much scar tissue, abnormal scarring results.

“Hypertrophic scars” are usually raised, red fibrous lesions, and keloid scars extend beyond the edges of the original cut or wound.


While abnormal scarring is not dangerous and may be asymptomatic, it can be itchy, uncomfortable and unsightly. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness — The scar may be painful during normal conditions, such as when clothing rubs against it.
  • Physical deformity — Thickened, tightened scars may pull healthy skin and nearby structures together as they scar. This may cause a deformity or lead to movement or function issues.
  • Psychological disorders — Patients who have disfiguring facial injuries are more likely to experience appearance-related anxiety and depression, as well as post-traumatic stress reactions.

Treatment Options

Scars take up to a full year to mature, and plastic surgeons usually prefer to wait for that period to end before beginning:

  • Medicine — Corticosteroid injections every six weeks may help flatten and soften the scar.
  • Pressure and massage — Bandages or tape to apply pressure, along with regular massage, can weaken the scar tissue and improve the appearance of the scar.
  • Silicone — This noninvasive option may be applied as a sheet, gel, spray or foam to minimize scarring.
  • Laser therapy — Lasers burn and flatten raised scars, targeting their red/pink pigments to make them lighter.
  • Surgery — After a year, an abnormal scar may be surgically removed.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of abnormal scarring, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat abnormal scarring.