Scars are a natural part of the healing process, and they can occur as a result of injuries, surgeries, or skin conditions. While scars are a normal part of the body’s response to injury, they can also be unsightly and cause discomfort or self-consciousness for some individuals. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize the appearance of scars and focus on scar prevention.
In this blog post, we will discuss the dos and don’ts of caring for wounds and scar prevention:
Dos for scar prevention
1. Keep the wound clean and moisturized: One of the most important things you can do to prevent scarring is to keep the wound clean and moisturized. This means washing the area with mild soap and water and keeping it covered with a clean, sterile dressing. It’s also important to apply petroleum jelly or antibiotic cream to the wounded area to keep the skin hydrated and prevent scabbing.
2. Keep the scar out of the sun during the healing process: UV radiation from the sun can cause scars to become darker and more noticeable. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to apply sunscreen to the area regularly. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and apply it at least 15 minutes before going outside. Re-apply every two hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating.
3. Massage the scar: Massaging the scar can help to break up scar tissue and promote healthy blood flow to the damaged area. Use a gentle, circular motion and apply firm pressure to the scar for a few minutes each day. You can use a moisturizing cream or oil for the massage.
4. Eat a healthy diet: Eating a skin-friendly diet can promote healthy healing and prevent scarring. Focus on consuming foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Drinking plenty of water is the key for keeping the skin hydrated and preventing scarring.
5. Use silicone sheets or gel: Silicone sheets or gel can help to reduce the appearance of scars by flattening and softening the tissue. These products address both surgical and burn scars. They work by creating a barrier over the scar and promoting moisture retention. Apply the silicone sheets or gel to the scar for several hours each day, or as directed by your healthcare provider.
Don’ts for scar prevention
1. Don’t pick at scabs: When you have a wound, it’s natural for a scab to form as part of the healing process. However, most people start picking at the scab, thinking that it speeds up the healing process. This is a misconception as this can actually increase the likelihood of hyperpigmentation in the scar and result in scarring.
2. Don’t expose wounds to the sun: Sun exposure can darken scars and make them more noticeable. It’s important to protect your wounds from the sun by covering them or using broad-spectrum sunscreen.
3. Don’t smoke: Studies have indicated that smoking can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of scarring. If you smoke, it’s best to quit or at least cut back to reduce the risk of scarring.
4. Don’t apply harsh chemicals to wounds: Experts agree that applying harsh chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide to wounds can delay healing and increase scarring. Stick to gentle, non-irritating products to clean and care for your wounds.
5. Don’t use tight bandages or clothing: Tight bandages or clothing can interfere with the healing process and increase scarring. Make sure to keep the area around the wound clean and dry, but avoid applying excessive pressure around the extremity of the wound.
6. Don’t fall for false advertising: Although it has been suggested that Vitamin E and cocoa butter can help reduce scarring, there’s very little hard data to substantiate this claim. In fact, no over-the-counter scar prevention product has been scientifically proven to significantly prevent scarring.
Remember, the best way to prevent scarring is to take good care of wounds when they occur. Although no scar can be completely removed, it is possible to minimize the appearance of a scar. If you’re concerned about stubborn scars, talk to your doctor about additional treatment options. Remember, skin is a very valuable tissue, and no experiments should be performed on it. Side effects may be irreversible in some cases.