After injury complete scar prevention may not be possible, but there are steps you can take to minimize scar tissue formation.
Scars are part of the natural healing process. When the deep dermal layer of the skin is injured, the body produces collagen – a strong, fibrous protein – to close the wound and repair damage. During this healing process, a scab forms a protective layer over the wound to prevent infection. Eventually, the scab falls off sometimes leaving a scar in its place.
Good wound care helps to minimize scarring after injury. Reduce the risk of scarring by:
- Cleaning the wound with a gentle soap and water and removing any dirt or debris
- Keeping the wound moist with petroleum jelly
- Covering the injury with a silicone gel sheeting
- Leaving scabs intact. Removing scabs interferes with healing and can lead to infection. Allow them to fall off naturally
Unfortunately, even if you follow all the above steps, you may still develop a scar. This happens for a few reasons. Some people are simply prone to scars; particularly those with dark skin or individuals who tend to produce too much collagen.
Stretching can also lead to scarring. This kind of scar is often seen during pregnancy and after weight loss or gain. Scars may also develop following injury close to a joint due to stretching with movement.
Scars are a part of life and most everyone has them. If you are bothered by a scar’s appearance or have excessive scarring, talk with a dermatologist about scar treatment options. Ways to minimize the appearance of scars after injury include:
- Protecting the scar from the sun with a sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher
- Steroid injections to soften or flatten raised scars
- Laser resurfacing or dermabrasion
- Injectable fillers for sunken scars, due to acne or surgery
- Radiation therapy for severe scars such as keloid or hypertrophic scars
Since not all scars are the same, your dermatologist will be able to offer specific solutions for minimizing your particular scar.