Hypertrophic Scars: What are they? Causes and Treatment


Hypertrophic scars occur within two months of an injury or any other kind of trauma to the skin, especially acne. It could continue to grow for the next 6 months, and after that, it could slowly regress (1). These scars tend to develop in areas that are prone to high tension, including shoulders, neck, knees, and ankles

Hypertrophic scars are wide high raised scars that resemble Keloid scars but are less severe than that. It happens due to the abnormal healing of the skin around an injury which results in excessive growth of a fibrous tissue that covers the wound. 

These scars appear to be raised from the surface and can hence be visible easily. Unlike keloids, however, these do not increase beyond the wound itself. There is no risk to your health as these scars are benign and not contagious. However, it’s only seen as a concern when it inhibits your appearance (2)

Causes of Hypertrophic Scars

Most of the time these scars are caused due to damaged skin cells, which can happen due to burns and other kinds of skin injuries. Sometimes it can be caused due to tattoos and piercings as well. One other common reason why it is caused is because of Acne. 

Acne is classified as a kind of inflammation of the skin that’s caused due to clogged up pores and bacteria. It usually surfaces your skin when the pores have been clogged up due to high levels of sebum production, dirt, and dead skin cells. Most of the time high sebum production and acne itself is caused due to hormonal imbalances in the body. This is why it’s mostly seen during adolescence when your hormones are all over the place.

When the acne leaves your skin it usually tends to leave a scar behind especially when it’s a severe form of acne like cystic or papules acne. You could also find yourself with a scar when you pick or pinch your pimples.


Corticosteroids Treatments – This is a process in which corticosteroid injections are used to flatten the scar. This needs to be done for a period of six weeks and is considered to be extremely effective.

Laser Therapy – This is when a high-frequency beam of light is used to burn and flatten the scars. This treatment is also used to reduce redness and any kind of acne seen around the scars as well.

Cryotherapy – This method has to be performed by a well trained professional. It involves using liquid nitrogen to burn and flatten the scars.

Surgery – This is kind of like the last resort if none of the techniques that are non-invasive don’t work. In this, the doctor can cut out your skin and then stitch the skin back together.

Bleomycin – This is a kind of soil bacteria that can be injected into your scars, it can help remove the scar and reduce itching and pain as well.

These treatments need to be solely done by a professional. There are certain risk factors and the most important one is that it causes your skin to become even more sensitive. Thus it’s important that your skin is well taken care of post these treatments, especially if you are going out in the sun.

Other than the above mentioned medical techniques there are a few things that you can try at home itself. However, since this is a scar they might not be as effective as medical treatments.

These may include using castor oil, applying a gel compress or moisturizing around the area to reduce itching. 


How are Hypertrophic scars flattened?

Hypertrophic scars can be flattened by using corticosteroids injected into them, laser treatment and cryotherapy is also considered to help in flattening these scars.

Can Hypertrophic scars be removed?

The scars cannot be completely removed from your skin, but, they can be flattened. 

Do Hypertrophic scars go away on their own?

Hypertrophic scars are known to regress and reduce after 6 months of their arrival. 

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Picture of Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.