Causes of scars 

Scarring results from the body's natural healing process after body tissue has been damaged.

Tissue damage can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  • accidental injuries – such as cuts from falling off a bicycle
  • deliberate harm from a weapon or from self-harm
  • cuts made during surgery – such as a Caesarean section birth
  • bites and scratches from animals or people
  • burns and scalds from hot objects or liquids
  • body piercings – such as ear or nose piercings
  • injections – such as vaccination against tuberculosis (BCG vaccination)
  • tattoos

Scarring can also be a side effect or a complication of other conditions. For example, if you have a condition that causes a rash, such as chickenpox or acne, you may be left with scars where the rash was (this is more likely to happen if you scratch or pick at the affected areas). 

It is thought that keloid scarring and hypertrophic scarring may run in families. This means you have an increased risk of developing keloid scarring or hypertrophic scarring if a member of your family has previously had these types of scars.

Internal scarring can be caused by injuries or surgery.

Page last reviewed: 04/09/2014

Next review due: 04/05/2017