What are scars?

Scars are permanent markings on our skin that often appear after trauma, such as wounds or cuts. They develop as a natural part of healing. They are actually fibrous skin tissue that is the body’s way of replacing lost tissue. Those with severe acne may also experience scarring, as inflammation and irritation can cause trauma to the skin. 

Scars can appear anywhere on the body, and there are several types. They can appear as pitted holes, fine lines, or an abnormal patch.  

There most common types of scars include: 

  • Normal fine-line scars: fine-line scars appear as raised lines which usually develop after a minor cut or wound. It often fades and flattens over time, however, it does not disappear completely, leaving behind a visible mark or line.
  • Ice pick: small pinprick scars that reach deep within the skin, also known as pitted scars. 
  • Boxcar scars: dents, depressions, or craters in your skin, often caused by acne. 
  • Rolling scars: depressions with sloped edges that cause an uneven appearance.
  • Hypertrophic scars: patches on the skin caused by too much collagen produced by the skin. Usually raised and hard in texture. 
  • Keloid scars: growths that often form due to aggressive tissue growth after trauma.
  • Scar contractures: often caused by burns, they occur when the skin shrinks, causing tightness.

What causes scars?

Scars are the result of the body’s natural healing process due to damaged tissue or inflammation of the oil glands. When the skin becomes damaged, tissues break and collagen is released to help heal the wound. Sometimes, too much collagen is formed and the blood supply at the site of the wound increases, leaving behind a raised bump or a scar. Over time, the collagen breaks down and the blood supply reduces, and the scar becomes smoother.

The following issues that may result in scarring include:

  • Trauma: a traumatic injury or wound to the skin often causes scarring during the healing process.
  • Burns: burns can also cause scarring, especially if they are severe. 
  • Acne: inflammation from acne, especially in severe cases where there are pus-filled cysts or pimples, commonly causes scarring on the face. 

What are the symptoms of scars?

The symptoms of scars are different depending on the individual’s skin type and condition. It also depends on how severe the trauma to the skin was.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Changes in skin colour
  • Scars that are depressed, raised, or pitted
  • Skin texture that is bumpy and uneven 
  • Swelling, puffiness, and inflammation
  • Redness 
  • Pain, discomfort, and itching during the healing process
acne scars

If you have any of the symptoms stated above, make an appointment with us for an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.

Are scars painful?

Scars themselves typically do not cause any pain as they develop after the healing process. However, depending on the injury, they can cause mild discomfort as the wound is healing. Some scars like keloid scars may cause more pain and/or itchiness. Removing or lightening scars are often due to cosmetic concerns as they may be present in visible areas of the body, such as the face.

Who is at risk of scars in Singapore?

Everyone is at risk of developing scars in Singapore, as they are a natural part of healing and can happen to anyone at any age. 

Nevertheless, certain factors may put you at a higher risk of developing scars: 

  • Lifestyle: habits such as an unhealthy diet high in sugars and carbohydrates, high levels of stress, lack of sleep, unclean makeup products, and not cleansing your face properly can all worsen acne, leading to a higher risk of scarring. 
  • Age: approximately 88% of adolescents suffer from acne. Therefore, adolescents may be more likely to develop acne scars from an early age, leading to permanent scarring in adulthood. 
  • Ethnicity: individuals with dark skin are more likely to develop keloid scars than those with lighter skin tones.
  • Family history: your genetic history may put you at a higher risk of scarring, as skin conditions are usually hereditary. 

How are scars diagnosed?

As scars are not a medical condition, they are typically diagnosed visually by a dermatologist. The treatment will depend largely on the type and severity of the scar as well as your skin condition.

What are the treatment options for scars in Singapore?

Treatment options for scars in Singapore are wide and varied. The type of treatment normally depends on your specific skin condition, the type of scar, and the results you wish to achieve. While some scars may be challenging to remove completely, treatment can lighten the appearance. Treatment for scarring varies widely, from laser therapy to topical creams to injectables.

At The Dermatology Clinic, our treatment options for scarring includes:

  • Intralesional Kenocort: a triamcinolone injection that consists of a corticosteroid injected directly into the lesion or immediately below the skin.
  • Topical medications: to reduce the itch, pain, redness and size of scars. 

Our doctor can have a discussion with you about your concerns and the results you desire, before choosing the ideal treatment for you.


Can scars fade away completely?

It depends on the severity as some minor scars often fade away after a few years. However, certain types of scars may need to be treated as they are permanent.

What is the main cause of scars?

Scars form as part of the body's healing process, as your body builds tissue and releases collagen to repair damaged skin.

How long do scars take to heal?
It often takes up to 6-12 months after an injury for a scar to fully heal. Dark scars can remain for years, especially for those with darker skin tones.
What removes scars permanently?
Often, scars cannot be completely eliminated but can be made less visible with topical creams and other remedies. For complete removal, consult a dermatologist who can suggest treatments such as steroid injections.


What does a contact allergy look like?
Skin rashes, hives, itchiness, redness, burning, swelling, and tenderness could be symptoms of a contact allergy, especially after coming into contact with a particular substance.
How do you relieve contact allergies?
Applying anti-itch creams and taking anti-itch medications, cold compresses, cool baths, and avoiding the particular substance that causes the allergy can all provide relief for contact allergies.
How long does it take to treat contact allergies?
Upon avoiding the contact allergen, symptoms typically clear up in 2-4 weeks. However, it depends on the individual and treatment plan.
Are contact allergies contagious?
No, contact allergies are not contagious and will not spread to other people.



Dr Uma Alagappan is a MOH accredited consultant dermatologist in private with more than 15 years experience as a medical doctor. She sub-specialises in paediatric dermatology, women’s dermatology and general dermatology. Dr Uma’s interests include chronic eczema, food allergy and immunodermatology. She is also well versed with the use of lasers for treating paediatric and adult patients.
Dr Uma completed her dermatology training in Changi General Hospital and National Skin Centre in 2015. She joined KKH Dermatology Service to subspecialize in paediatric dermatology in 2017. She was awarded the Ministry of Health Manpower Development Plan Award in 2019 to pursue paediatric immunodermatology and allergo-dermatology in the renowned Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts, USA. Upon her return, she spearheaded a number of clinics at KKH including the food allergy eczema clinic for the paediatric eczema patients, immunodermatology clinics and the psychology eczema multi-disciplinary clinics.
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Tel: +65 9023 0905

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Fax: +65 6592 1411

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Fax: +65 6592 1411

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321 Joo Chiat Pl, #05-01A Parkway East Specialist Hospital, Singapore 427990

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Tel: +65 6320 0310

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290 Orchard Road 09-01/02 Paragon Medical Centre, Singapore 238859

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Mon-Fri: 9:00a.m - 5:00p.m
Sat: 9:00a.m - 12.30p.m
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Email us at enquiries@thedermclinic.com.sg

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321 Joo Chiat Pl, #05-01A Parkway East Specialist Hospital, Singapore 427990 | Tel: +65 6517 9760
290 Orchard Road 09-01/02 Paragon Medical Centre, Singapore 238859 | Tel: +65 6320 0310


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