3 Types of Burn Scars and How to Treat Them


To wrap up our spotlight on Burn Awareness month, let’s talk about scars more specifically. Whether you’ve been seriously burned or have a minor burn, there may be short- or long-term scarring that can cause discomfort, a pulling and itching sensation, or might simply leave you feeling insecure. Here’s what you can expect in terms of healing and how they can be treated cosmetically to minimize their appearance.

If you have a minor burn, the good news is with care you are not likely to have a serious scar. If you make a conscious effort to treat your burn at home, and stay out of the sun, you’ll be on your way to scar-free skin in no time. For second- or third-degree burns, you’re likely to have a much longer road to recovery and more serious scarring. A doctor will not likely begin to treat a scar until nearly a year after it has formed because your body will continue to try to improve it on its own for months. These scars are categorized depending on how they look and how they affect your skin.


There are three main categories of burn scars. Let’s break this down:

1. Contracture Scars

These scars restrict movement by making the skin, muscles, and tendons tighter. Contracture scars occur when a large area of skin is damaged or lost, creating a decrease in the size of the skin, which in turn pulls the edges of the skin together.

How to Repair Them: A plastic surgeon might recommend tissue expansion, a skin graft, or skin flap.

2. Hypertrophic Scars

These tend to be purple or red, feel warm or itchy, and are raised above the skin. They form due to a collagen imbalance in the area of the injury.

How to Repair them: Hypertrophic scars can be treated in a number of ways, including laser therapy, cryotherapy, surgery, bleomycin, or corticosteroid treatments.

3. Keloid Scars

Keloid scars are identified as a shiny, irregularly shaped bump on the skin hat evolve and grow over time. They are raised more obviously than a hypertrophic scar and can be unsightly.

How to Repair them: Keloid scars are challenging because they are difficult to remove and tend to recur. Typically, removal and repair treatments include laser therapy or cryosurgery.

No matter what type of burn scar you have, you’re not without options to repair them. Talk to a board-certified dermatologist about your skin concerns by requesting a consultation with The Derm Group online or by calling (973) 571-2121.