Scars 101: Everything You Need to Know About Plastic Surgery Scars

Female taking care of the scars after the surgery

Scars are a fact of life when it comes to surgical procedures, but you don’t have to accept them as-is. This blog discusses types of scars, ways to lessen the appearance of scars, and when scars may need revision at DAVinci Plastic Surgery.

4 Min Read:

Nearly every plastic surgery patient is concerned about whether they’ll have scars after their cosmetic procedure. While scars are a fact of life when it comes to surgical procedures, there are ways to make them less noticeable. In this blog, we discuss types of scars, how to lessen the appearance of scars, and when scars may need scar revision at DAVinci Plastic Surgery.

Scar Basics

It’s safe to say that almost everyone has at least one scar on their body. From the reminder of falling off a bike as a child, to residual scars from undergoing surgery, to the marks left behind from teenage acne, scars appear in many types and sizes. As much as you may dislike the appearance of a scar, they’re an inevitable part of your body’s natural healing process. When your skin is damaged, your body mends itself by forming new collagen fibers after the injury is healed. 

In most cases, a well-healed scar is flat, and while it may initially be red, that color eventually fades. However, different types of scars occur according to age, skin type, and type of injury. The most common types of scars include:

  • Fine line scars
  • Keloid scars
  • Hypertrophic scars
  • Contracture scars
  • Atrophic scars

Knowing which type of scar you have will help you determine what type of scar treatment is best for you. 

Types of Scar Treatments

The type of scar treatment you choose will depend on the type of scar you have. Common scar treatments include: 

Topical Moisturizers 

Vitamin E, cocoa butter, and gentle moisturizing skin products like Aquaphor are excellent ways to keep a scar soft and flexible and strengthen the skin.

Silicone Gel or Silicone Scar Strips

Once your wound has healed, you may use silicone ointments or strips to help keep your scar from becoming raised, rigid, or stiff. Silicone applications can also help fade scars more quickly.  

Pressure Treatment

Applying gentle pressure to a scar through massage or a pressure dressing or garment can help keep it softer and more flexible and prevent it from becoming raised.


Dermabrasion treatments help reduce the appearance of scars by removing the outer layer of the skin and stimulating collagen production to repair the scar. Chemical peels and microneedling can also help scars by resurfacing the skin and boosting collagen production. 

Dermal Fillers

For atrophic or sunken scars, dermal fillers can plump up the area and smooth out the skin.

Cortisone Injections

Cortisone injections help to soften hard scars, as well as reduce their size. 

Surgical Excision

Also known as scar revision surgery, it involves removing the scar to reduce its size or increase mobility around the area.   

Below, we explain the types of scars and what types of treatments are available for each.

Fine Line Scars

Fine line scars are the typical scars that appear after you’ve had surgery or healed from an injury. They generally start as a dark line but fade to be nearly invisible over time. Fine line scars are the easiest type of scar to treat and respond well to:

  • Topical treatments
  • Pressure treatments
  • Dermabrasion
  • Cortisone injections

Keloid Scars 

Keloid scars are thick, raised scars that form because your body overproduces collagen when the wound is healing. They typically extend outside the borders of the wound and occur in specific places on the body, including the chest, back, or earlobes. Keloid scars are challenging to treat and are also more prevalent in people with darker skin. They respond best to:

  • Topical treatments
  • Pressure treatments
  • Dermabrasion
  • Cortisone injections

In some cases, keloid scars can be surgically excised, increasing the risk of recurrence. 

Hypertrophic Scars

Hypertrophic scars are also thicker, raised scars caused by an overproduction of collagen. However, unlike keloid scars, they form within the boundaries of the injury and are generally easier to treat. Hypertrophic scars respond typically to:

  • Topical treatments
  • Pressure treatments
  • Cortisone injections
  • Surgical excision

Contracture Scars

Contracture scars occur when a large area of skin is damaged (such as from a burn), and the scar formation causes the skin to contract and pull tightly. In some cases, the contraction of the skin can affect the range of motion of your muscles and tendons, necessitating treatment to restore full function. Contracture scars typically require surgical procedures, including Z-Plasty, tissue expansion, or skin grafts to give the skin more flexibility and return range of motion to the area. 

Atrophic Scars

Scars caused by acne or other skin conditions often appear as pitting in your skin. Also known as atrophic or “ice pick” scars, this type of scar is caused by the loss of fat or muscle under the injury and insufficient collagen to fill the void adequately. The best treatments for atrophic scars include:

  • Dermabrasion and other collagen-stimulating treatments
  • Dermal fillers

Learn More About Scar Treatment in Washington, D.C.

If scars on your face or body make you feel self-conscious, it’s time to explore your options for minimizing their visibility. To learn more about your scar revision options, call DAVinci Plastic Surgery today at 202.966.9590 or complete our online contact form. 

Schedule Your Consultation at DAVinci Plastic Surgery

The initial consultation with your surgeon is critical! It should always be face to face with your surgeon, during which time he/she listens closely to your concerns. Dr. Davison and Dr. Pinell believe this time spent with you is critical to both you and him/her. It is during the consultation that your surgeon comes to fully understand your concerns, evaluates them correctly, and is then able to make the recommendations and develop the treatment plan that is right for you. Dr. Davison and Dr. Pinell invest the time to sit down and talk to you face to face.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

3050 K. St. NW Ste. 170

Washington D.C.

Schedule An Appointment