Scars can have both a physical and psychological impact on individuals.

Scars may cause physical problems like severe itching, tenderness or pain. A wound that crosses a joint or a skin crease may also lead to a scar contracture. Similarly with scars that continue to grow (hypertrophic scars and keloids), they can limit movement and can even be functionally disabling. 

The physical appearance of some scars may also be more obvious as they can continue to be red and raised. Some problematic or abnormal scars may continue to grow past the wound boundaries or may take many years to soften and fade.

At times the psychological aspects can outweigh the physical ones for even the smallest of scars. For some people a scar is a constant reminder of the traumatic event that caused it. This can result in distress, poor self-esteem and difficulties in social situations, all leading to a diminished quality of life. People with scars may feel different and stigmatized and the reaction of others can be hurtful, particularly at impressionable ages. For children and teenagers, scarring can have a major psychological impact. At these ages, there is a need to feel normal or attractive and anything out of the norm can single out the individual. To be different because of scarring may lead to loss of self-confidence and feelings of inferiority.

Read more about scars on Wikipedia.

Possible Functional Issues with scars:

  • sensitivity to heat or cold
  • sensitivity to chemicals
  • sensitivity to sunlight
  • reduced strength and/or endurance
  • difficulty concentrating due to itching, pain, or fatigue
  • skin sensitivity
  • limited range of motion due to contracture
  • shyness in social situations if scars are visible

Any scar can be perceived as a personal problem. Some people learn to accept their scar but many never forget it. Psychologists believe that proactive treatment to reduce the visibility of a scar can boost self-esteem.