Scarring is the body’s way of healing an open wound or cut. A scar first forms with dead skin and blood cells to form a scab. This helps to close and seal the wound. Underneath the scab, the new skin will grow with tissue called collagen to replace the wound. The combination of skin and collagen causes a difference in texture and color called a scar.
A scar typically starts as red or pink and then turns to silvery/flesh color with time. The extent and visibility of the scar depends on multiple factors including; size of the wound, how quickly it heals, the skin type, age and health of the patient, and how the wound was treated. While it is possible some scars may fade with enough time that they are no longer visible, it is generally understood that scars will not completely disappear. Steps can be taken once the wound heals to help fade the scar to normal skin appearance. These steps include:
1. Protect the wound with bandages and medication as directed. Keeping wound clean, moist, and covered will help decrease the recovery time.
2. Don’t pick at scabs, allow the wound to heal. Picking off the scab can reopen the sore and delay the healing process.
3. Apply sunscreen SPF 30 or higher to protect the young skin. Be generous and apply multiple times during a long day. Consider applying sunscreen for months to a few years after the initial wound.
4. Stop smoking as this decreases our body’s ability to carry oxygen to the skin. This weakens the skin and prevents the wound from healing.
5. Keep the scar hydrated with approved creams or moisturizer. Look for products that contain Vitamin E, or apply it directly from concentrated capsules.
6. After the wound has healed completely, try gently massaging the area. This will stimulate blood flow to the area and help break up scar tissue.