Scars & Keloids

A scar is the body’s attempt to repair the skin that has been damaged. It is usually pink or pale brown and will be cover the previously damaged skin
A scar is caused by the body producing collagen, a fibrous protein found in the skin, to repair the damage to the skin.
A recovering scar from a c-section operation.
A Hypertrophic Scar.

Scars & Keloids

Scars are the body’s way to repair skin that has been damaged. They are usually flesh-colored, but can darken with sun exposure, and are at the site of skin injury. Keloids are scars that expand beyond the site of injury.


A scar is caused by the body producing collagen, a fibrous protein found in the skin, to repair the damage to the skin. The initial damage to the skin can be from external trauma or underlying skin disease like folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles), or acne.

Risk Factors

Anyone who has a skin injury is at risk for developing a scar, but the likelihood of a scar forming is based on the severity of the skin injury as well as age and overall health of the body and the skin. A scar can also form if a skin wound is not properly cared for.

Keloids are more common in darker skin types. Common sites for keloids are on the ear lobes after piercings, and on hair-bearing skin like the face, back of the scalp, and the chest from inflammation of the hair follicles.


A scar will usually form under a scab. Side effects of scarring may include:

  • Itching
  • Tenderness
  • Pain
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Anxiety and/or depression
  • Disruption of daily activities


American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Kids HealthColumbia University Medical Center Department of Dermatology


There are multiple ways to treat the appearance of scars and keloids including dermabrasion, chemical peels, collagen and cortisone injections, and laser treatment. The type of procedure will depend on the size, potential associated pigment or vascularity, and placement of the scar, as well as the overall health of the patient.


The only way to prevent scars is to prevent skin injuries and properly care for any skin wounds that do occur. Treatment of underlying skin disorders that can lead to scarring, like folliculitis or acne, is important, in addition to diligent sun protection, as sun exposure can darken the appearance of scars.


American Osteopathic College of Dermatology US National Library of Medicine

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