My Scar is Red and Hurts: What Do I Do?

My Scar is Red and Hurts: What Do I Do?

It is somewhat of a mystery why certain scars become red and hurt while others do not. In some cases, it is due to how the wound developed and if it has been aggravated through squeezing or nerves and muscles nearby the area. In some cases, it is due to nerve endings that become irritated causing discomfort and pain.

The skin is comprised of two types of nerves: pain and touch nerves and sympathetic nerves. The sympathetic nerves are responsible for regulation of sweating and skin temperature. If these nerve fibers become damaged then a person can experience changes in sweating, temperature, and skin color. Pain from scars can be next to the scar or in the nearby area in many cases. It can spread to a wider area, as well.

Some people describe the pain they experience as being a shooting or stabbing pain. It can become worse with movement. Any sneezing or coughing can aggravate facial scars. These scars can be very sensitive to changes in temperature also. In some cases, scars can seem thicker than normal. These scars are generally extremely tender upon touching. In some cases, they will contain a dense and small nodule of nerve endings. This is known as neuroma.

When dealing with scars that are painful, there are several treatment options available. Some treatments that may be recommended by a doctor would be:

Steroid Injections

In many cases, this treatment works very well. It can be repeated up to three times. Each successful injection can lead to long lasting relief, but there are limits. If there are too many injections of steroids, the skin could become damaged.

Phenol Injections

These injections will kill off nerve endings that are causing the pain. They are less common today.

Amitryptilline Treatments

These treatments work very well when it comes to scar pain. Low doses can have a dramatic effect. Many times this is the first choice for treatment for this type of condition. Other drugs such as Pregabalin or Gabapentin can also be useful, but they can sometimes have side effects that are very unpleasant.

In some cases, massaging the area with a scar cream that is hypoallergenic might be enough to loosen and stretch scar tissue. Certain creams such as hydrocortisone may be helpful in the relief of itching.

Acne lesions can cause red scarring on the facial area. In some cases, the acne will clear up without leaving any scars behind. There are certain kinds of acne that will leave behind red marks once the lesions have been healed. Small cysts that have filled with pus can be painful and can be the cause of scarring. Over time, these red scars can fade; however, there are many options available to speed the process along. There are home remedies with natural ingredients, creams you can buy over the counter, or by visiting a dermatologist for treatment. The main goal is to stop the pain and to fade the look of the scars.

Read: What are the different types of acne scars?

Have you experienced pain with your scar?

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The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.


  1. The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
  2. carol evans says

    hi there yes i had a pendix removed 45 years ago it was a very deep scar .just recently
    the crease has gone red and slightly tender is this any thing to worry about
    many thanks

  3. when i was 12 i had to get my pendix out “”now i am 42 “”now the scar is wide and red “”and hurts alot “”what should i put on it “”

  4. I’ve had a scar on my finger for years and just recently it is causing me pain. What could be the cause of this and should I be concerned

    • Hi Jamie, many times pain from the area of the scar is due to nerve damage when the injury occurred and is normal. If it is incredibly painful, you may want to speak with your doctor so he/she can investigate further.

  5. Hello, I had my appendix removed when I was 8, and it left a pretty bad scar almost like a V indent on my stomach. Now almost 15 years later the scar itself is forming a keloid of sort and the one side of the V is red and has lumps of sort and is painful. It was not like this yesterday. Any clue as to why this just now happened?

  6. Marie Coleman says

    I had appendix removed in 5th grade and recently turned red and itches and hurts, what could be going on. I have a appointment on Monday to have it checked out.

  7. Hello. I have a legs scar on my arm which has never really healed well. It is the only scar I have which has remained a reddish colour and is raised a lot from my skin.
    It gets irritated all the time and can become itchy and sensitive. However I often get shooting pains and if something puts pressure on it I find it hurts a lot.
    Is there anything I can do?

  8. lps chihuahua says

    Hi, i really wanted to remove a mole so a friend told me to put galic on it overnight so i did and the next day it was bumpy so i left it after a few days i got annoyed with because it was really noticeble so i touch the scab and it fall of and it l8oked like my mole was on it , i looked in the mirror and my mole was gone so i put cream on and left it after a day or so i notice a white stuff and my mole looked like a spot and everything was red , anyways lets get to the point after weeks scab came 3 times so yes i picked it about 3 times and now its really red and the mole is like a spot and it hurts when i touch it and everything around it is just red and limpy/bumpy and i don’t feel like going out because its so visible on my face under my eyes , i don’t if the bumpyness means it healing please help should i leave it or do something about it?

  9. I have a scar on my inner thigh right near the crease and it’s a very wide scar and it is painful to walk sometimes and a few days ago a bubble formed, I’m thinking its from the friction of walking. What can I do?! I need this to go away

  10. I have had a scar on my face for almost 8 years now which has become rather small, but still visibl. As of yesterday it have become raised and bright red, is this anything that I should worry about?

    • Hi Madison, scars shouldn’t become inflammed after such a long time. It could just be that it really dry with the winter weather and simply need moisturizing (use aloe.) If that doesn’t help and it continues to stay red and raised, then have your dr take a look.

  11. Hi

    I have a scar on my thumb crease, the injury was the thumb bending back and snapping the skin. No broken bones. I got a small localised infected. Which the nurse said was ok, was told to wash and cover. Now the wound area looks Red and sore to touch. And does appear the scar is healing. Also the scar is enlarged passed the boundaries of the original wound. I pictures available, its been 4 weeks. I dont know whether to keen plasters on it for longer to help heal. Or to let it air out to toughen up?

  12. nikkinat83 says

    “InviCible Scars says:
    December 31, 2015 at 3:04 pm
    Stop picking it. Let it heal completely. The see a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon about getting it removed. Garlic won’t do it.”

    Im not trying to sound rude, but seriously if one more person says “DON’T PICK AT IT” or “stop touching/picking it” to myself or anyone else, i’m going to have a nervous breakdown. Clearly WE DO NOT WANT TO PICK AT SOMETHING THAT AFFECTS OUR APPEARANCE!!!!! ESPECIALLY ON OUR FACE!! Anyone who to says stop picking at something, clearly, does not know or has not felt the severe pain, irritation, PAIN.again , or annoyance someone experiences when something like this on their face. Seriously please stop saying THAT, its like we already know OK.
    I have two very deep scars/subaceous acne-like things on my forehead that started appearing at the sites of injection from Dysport in my forehead( I asked for Botox for migraines and got ripped off),which apparently my body is severely rejecting . Doctors are baffled and I’m trying to find a “real” doctor…not a D.O. who can help me. Whatever this condition is, is VERY PAINFUL. Similar to the feeling of a constant bee sting or chickenpox, only they are not blisters they are very hard scar -like skin structures that occasionally get swollen with acne like symptoms and migraines as well. With irritation at this magnitude, its Impossible to NOT rub or itch or pick at it. I’ve been going through this hell for months and been through many doctors and two attorneys and am not getting anywhere. 🙁 . Can anyone recommend a skin specialist?

    • Hi Nikki, We’re really sorry to hear what you’re going through. We wish we could help but we can’t recommend anyone specifically I’m afraid. Please do your research and make sure whomever you decide to see is board certified.

  13. Helen jaggard says

    I had a hip replacement I am now 11 weeks post op, the scar is quite long on my leg about 10inches long I am mobilising well,but I have a burning and stabbing sensation below the scar towards my lower thigh ,the area some times feel warm but not red,any ideas what this could be?

    • Hi Helen, Warmth is a sign of increased blood flow to the area. That happens during normal healing but can also be a sign of underlying infection. Please get it checked out by your doc to make sure everything is ok.

  14. I had scoliosis surgery about a year and half ago and just a few days ago my beginning of my scar got really painful. It hurts more when I move. Why is this happening?

  15. Sadi Santana says

    Hello I have a leg scar of about five maybe six years or so not really sure but it has become red and inflamed and I have no idea to why it is doing this and also there is pain to the touch I have gotten this scar from climbing a wooden fence and the top part broke off and puncture my left shin and I went to the hospital to late to get stitches so it healed over

  16. Hi, i have this tiny scar right by my nose from when i was a child i fell out of a tree and ended up getting cut by the branch and well its just acting up now its burning it hurts and it some time peals but scar is still there ive asked my family and they dont know anything on how to make the burning stop like it nearly puts me in tears cuz of how close to the nose it is can i get an idea on what to do?

  17. Hi there,

    How long is it normal for a surgical scar to remain sensitive?

    I had surgery in December, on my ankle (peroneus brevis) and it’s still very sensitive. It’s sensitive to touch, numb in some areas. I can’t wear anything close fitting on it.

    I’m beginning to suspect that the sural nerve was affected.

    • Hi Marama, You could be right. Get a referral for physical therapy for desensitization exercises. That can help. If it is nerve damage, it can take many months to improve unfortunately.

  18. Hello I had a bilateral temporal artery biopsy in February and my scars are hurting deep and a little red. What should I do?

  19. Lynda smith says

    My Csection scar after 40 years has suddenly become very red and very sore! I’m in a lot of discomfort as it sits in a crease in personal place😏I’ve bathed it but it seems to have a small hole in the middle!

    • Hi Lynda, have you gained any weight recently? Weight gain and pull and tug at the scar tissue causing discomfort as scar tissue isn’t flexible. If you haven’t gained weight, then we’d advise to have your dr take a look.

  20. I had bilateral open cts release august 16th, on August 25th food cans fell on the top of my foot. By August 28th the sutures and wounds on both hands re-opened.

    Both wounds are now closed but terrible scarring is the result.

    Both my hands and the scrape on top of my foot are swollen and hurt terribly. How is that possible especially the scrape on my foot. I’ve been feeling very weak for days then noticed the top of my foot last nigh. Very puzzled.

  21. I was born with a cleft lip I had my second surgery around 8 months ago in April last year my scar is getting really painful n going red n starting to puff up a bit on the inner bit of my nose where the scar ends what can I do to help it stop.

  22. Carole DeJohn says

    My surgery was 40 years ago on my knee. Just recently the scar on both sides has become red, swollen and warm. It is very psinful to slerp. What caused this?

  23. Kayla A Foreman says

    I had 4 surgeries in less than two weeks back in august my gallbladder was removed and my bible duct was cut and had to be repaired my scar on my belly is hurting badly its not really red. Is that good or bad.

    • Hi Kayla, it sounds like your body went through a lot in a short period of time. The scar hurting is unfortunately typical. It’s good to hear that it’s not red or showing any signs of infection. When the dr gives the OK and your stitches have melted, try scar massage to soften up the scar.

  24. 2 weeks ago i had a wound on my thigh or a deep cut…it was healing and i kept it cleaned but now it has started to scar and the scar is red and sensitive to touch and is very sore 2 weeks later, as i can tell there’s no swelling or heat or anything. is this normal?

  25. Elizabeth Rodriguez says

    When I was in my early 20s I got a huge pimple on my nose that got infected. After it cleared up I was left with a little bump that has clear pus if I squeeze it. Then it will start to bleed a lot, like dripping, then it scabs over, falls off and grows back. What the heck is it? And am I destined to have this witchy nose forever?

  26. Delia Teachout says

    Hi. I had flap tissue reconstruction surgery about 9 yrs ago. I had issues with healing & had a couple surgeries due healing and eventually an implant was used. I’ve had scar tissue from day one on the left backside close to the armpit. Lately the scar tissue has increased in size, is painful, bruised looking. My question is what type of doctor should I see? A M.D., surgeon? What type of surgeon, etc. My medical insurance has changed after 42 yrs so I don’t know where to begin. Thank you for your help.

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