Did you ever ask yourself how to minimize scars? You can minimize scars after surgey or after injury with our simple tips. Whenever your skin gets injured, whether from surgery or by accident, your body works day and night to repair the wound. As your wound heals, it may form a scar, which is a natural part of the healing process. The extent of scaring depends largely on how well the wound heals.
While scars from surgery or over joints such as elbows and knees are difficult to avoid, minor scars from scrapes and cuts can become less noticeable, if you follow proper care and treatment procedures.
Generally, appearance of any scar will depend on several factors. The size, shape, and depth of the wound, as well as how much blood gets to the wound, your skin thickness and color dictate the way your scar will look after healing.
Three Basic Types of Scars You Should Know About
There are three basic types of scars. Normal scars are relatively small, flat and thin. Hypertrophic scars are raised, thick and red. On the other hand, keloid scars are often dark or red, and also raised, however, they extend beyond the contours of the actual wound.
Keloid scars are thought to be genetic and can be quite hard to treat or predict. They are worsened mainly by overproduction of collagen, which can be regulated by injecting steroid medication. For keloid scar, it is best to consult with a medical professional for proper guidance.
There are various tips and guidelines on how to minimize scars. The key to minimizing scarring is to slow down the amount of work your body has to do to heal the wound.
8 Simple & Usefull Tips on How to Minimize Scars
1. Get it stitched if needed
Cuts that go deeper or spread apart will heal better if they are stitched by a clinician. It is important to note that stitching should be done as soon as possible, while the wound is still fresh.
If it takes too long before stitching, your wound may be contaminated with bacteria or germs. In this case, your doctor may be against stitching the wound because of fear of infection.
2. Apply petroleum jelly
Petroleum jelly keeps your wound moist and promotes healing that will prevent formation of scar.
The jelly doesn’t interfere with the natural healing process of the wound, in fact, it speeds up the healing process. If the scar forms, petroleum jelly can help minimize its size during the healing process.
3. Do NOT disinfect cuts with hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria, but also destroys the white blood cells responsible for repairing wounds; this would eventually slow down the healing process.
Simply rinse the wound with clear water. Keep away from soap and rubbing the wound with alcohol, as this can be pretty irritating. If you are not able to remove the remaining debris or dirt using sterilized tweezers, see a doctor for help. Keep in mind that cleaning your wound reduces the chances of infection and scaring.
4. Apply aloe vera
Scientific studies continue to reveal the healing properties of aloe vera for wounds and other illnesses. Aloe vera has been used as a traditional medicine in Chinese and other cultures for decades to heal a variety of diseases, both topically and orally.
There is a wide range of natural gels made by blending aloe vera with Vitamins A, B and C along with amino acids, enzymes, minerals and sugars. When applied in right doses, aloe vera gels can help prevent infection, scaring and speed up the healing process. How to minimize scars? Applying aloe vera is a great way to do it.
5. Use silicone gel bandages or hydogel sheets
There is an evidence that using silicone gel bandages or hydrogel sheets can reduce scarring. The dressings protect the wound from contaminants while providing moisture to the wounded tissues during the healing process to minimize formation of scars.
If you choose to use this products, you can find them over-the-counter without prescription. Be sure to follow the packaging instructions carefully.
Continue using these moisture dressings for several weeks to reduce the formation and size of scars. Note that you do not need to use petroleum jelly if you are using these moisture dressings.
6. Monitor for infection
This is very important. You need to change the wound dressing daily. Carefully clean the area using a mild soap every time you change the dressing and check for any signs that may indicate infection.
It’s also important to note that even the best cared injuries can sometimes develop an infection. See a doctor immediately, if you notice any signs of an infection. He or she may recommend a topical or oral antibiotic to help manage the infection.
Some signs of potential infection may include swelling or redness in the wounded area, red streaks protruding from the area of injury, warm skin, fluid such as pus accumulating under the skin, or near the wound (which may sometimes ooze out). There can also be an odor coming from the wound, unusual tenderness or throbbing in the area, and having a fever or chills.
7. Avoid sun exposure
Be sure to cover the wounded area from sun with bandages, clothing or a sunscreen, when you are going out. This is because direct sunlight exposes your wound to the harmful ultraviolet rays, which can slow down the healing process.
UV rays can also cause discoloration of the healing tissues by stimulating the cells that activate skin pigmentation causing the scar to become darker and more noticeable.
8. Avoid vitamin E
It was once believed that vitamin E played a role in enhancing the body’s ability to recover from injury and reduce scarring. However, more studies have now revealed the opposite.
One such study was made by the University of Miami, Department of Dermatology, that involved a patient who had went through skin cancer removal.
When Vitamin E was administered to the patient, results showed that it did not have any positive impact to the wound healing process. However, 90% of other participants experienced increased scarring after using Vitamin E.
Though it is impossible to avoid all scars, applying the above tips will make them less noticeable compared to untreated wounds. The key is to provide the gentlest care and treatment during the entire healing process so that the wound heals to the best of its ability.
It is also important to add that one of the best ways on how to minimize scars is knowing when to treat the wound at home and when is the right time to see a doctor for specialized care.
If your scar is a minor cut or scrape, you can minimize scaring using simple tips as mentioned above. However, if the injury runs deep, becomes infected or very painful, seek immediate medical attention.