A hypertrophic scar can be a raised scar on the skin's surface, at the site of injury. This can be unsightly and forms a blemish on the skin. However, there are several ways to reduce the visibility of the scar.
The formation of a scar after an injury is a normal process. This is the body’s natural way of healing, by creating a fiber-like connective tissue called collagen and depositing it on the skin to cover the wound. But in some cases the scars tend to swell, become puffy and sometimes becoming red. This scar is known as a hypertrophic scar. Hypertrophic scarring is caused due to several reasons like burns, scratches, injections and tattoos. The other reasons for the occurrence of this kind of scarring can be simple things like acne that may result in the formation of scars, insect bites and accidents. Hypertrophic scars can occur in individuals of all ages. However, in some cases, individuals tend to get hypertrophic scars since they are genetically prone to it. Individuals with lighter skins are more prone to such scars because these scars are more visible and prominent.
Unlike keloids scars, that tend to grow indefinitely, hypertrophic scars occur only in the area of the wound. A hypertrophic scar occurs when the body tends to produce excess collagen, which leads to the scar becoming raised than the surrounding skin. These scars form a thick, red and are darker than the rest of the skin. Hypertrophic scars usually occur in the chest, shoulders, lower face, back and on the ear lobes. These scars can develop at any time, even after the wound has completely healed. Redness, an itching sensation and pigmentation of the skin are some of the symptoms of scarring. The individual may also experience an unusual sensation or pain in the region of the scar. Though these scars are benign in nature, some people prefer to get rid of scars or at least reduce the visibility.
Hypertrophic Scarring Treatment
Since these scars look unsightly, if they are on the visible areas on the body, they can mar the appearance of an individual. In order to get rid of them, the dermatologist may suggest a few means.
- Laser Treatment: One of the most effective treatments to remove hypertrophic scars is by laser. By this laser treatment, the upper layer of the skin that consists of the scar tissue is vaporized and the lower layer of the skin, which looks natural is exposed. There are also some other laser treatments for scars that use some potent lasers that have the ability to penetrate into the lower layers of the epidermis, thereby stimulating the growth of the new collagen which gets rid of the scars completely. In order to undergo this treatment the individual may have to take local anesthesia. This procedure takes half an hour to complete.
- Radiotherapy: Mild doses of superficial radiotherapy are used to prevent the recurrence of hypertrophic scars. Some resurfacing techniques are also used to reduce the redness of the scars.
- Cortisone Injections: The use of intralesional steroids are administered in order to press down the hypertrophic scars thus making the scars vanish. These injections are relatively safe and painless.
- Chemical Peel: There are certain chemicals that can be applied to the scar to burn away the layer of the epidermis and exfoliate the skin. When the outer layer of the skin grows back again, the scars will be less visible. In order to treat the scars completely, one must undergo a series of chemical peel treatments.
- Dermabrasion: The process of removing the surface of the skin using a specialist’s equipment is called dermabrasion. The procedure is carried out under general anesthesia and is useful to treat raised scars as in the case of hypertrophic scarring.
Though having a hypertrophic scar does not cause any major problem, individuals having these scars tend to get them removed for cosmetic reasons. The above-mentioned treatments must be taken under the guidance of a dermatologist.