- How to Get Rid of Old Scars: Top 10 Remedies
- The Science of Facial Scars Healing: Different Types, Their Causes, and How to Treat Them
- Can Facial Scars Heal?
- What Causes Facial Scars?
- Types of Facial Scars
- How to Prevent Face Scars
- Is It Possible to Minimize Face Scars?
- What About Fading Facial Scars?
- My Favorites for Fading and Treating Scars
- Final Thoughts
- How can home remedies get rid of my old scar?
- Proper wound care: How to minimize a scar
- How to prevent and minimize scars
- Make healthy choices
- Apply soothing creams and gels
- Use sunscreen
- Practice proper wound care
- Tips for Reducing Scarring After Facial Surgery
- Tips for Taking Care of Them
- Surgery for Scars & Keloids
- How to Treat an Itchy Scar
How to Get Rid of Old Scars: Top 10 Remedies
There’s no known way to make scars totally disappear, but many will become lighter over time on their own.
That being said, advocates of natural healing believe that there are remedies that can speed up the lightening process and make a scar less noticeable. Here are some of the remedies that have been effective for some people.
- Remove the dark green “skin” from the flatter side of an aloe vera leaf.
- Scoop out the almost clear light green gel.
- Apply the gel directly to your scar using circular motions.
- After half an hour, wash the gel off with fresh, cool water.
- Repeat twice each day.
- Cut open a vitamin E capsule over the scar and squeeze the oil onto the scar (you might need more than just one capsule to get enough liquid for full coverage).
- For about 10 minutes, massage the oil on and around the scar.
- After about 20 minutes wash off the oil with warm water.
- Repeat this process a minimum of 3 times per day.
Buy vitamin oil now.
- Before going to bed, cover your scar with a layer of honey.
- Wrap the honey-covered scar with a bandage.
- Leave it on for one full night.
- In the morning, remove the bandage and wash off the honey with warm water.
- Make this part of your routine every night.
Buy honey now.
- Heat a few tablespoons of coconut oil, just enough to liquefy it.
- Massage the oil into the scar for about 10 minutes.
- Let the skin absorb the oil for a minimum of one hour.
- Repeat two to four times every day.
Buy coconut oil now.
Apple cider vinegar
- Combine 4 tablespoons of distilled water with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.
- Dip a cotton ball into the water-cider mixture and generously dab your scar.
- Let it dry.
- Do this every night before you go to bed, washing the area in the morning.
Buy apple cider vinegar now.
Lavender and olive oil
- Mix three drops of lavender essential oil into three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Massage the mixture into the scarred area for about 5 minutes.
- Leave the oil in place for about 30 minutes.
- Rinse the area with warm water.
- Repeat this process a minimum of three times a day.
Shop for lavender essential oil.
- Cut a wedge from a fresh lemon.
- Gently rub the juicy side of the lemon on the scar while you squeeze the juice onto the scar.
- Relax for about 10 minutes before rinsing off the area with cool water.
- Do this every day at approximately the same time.
- Slice a potato into medium thick rounds.
- Using a circular motion, rub the potato slice on your scar.
- Once the potato slice starts to dry out, discard it and continue rubbing with another slice.
- Continue rubbing and replacing for about 20 minutes and then let the scar air-dry for about 10 minutes.
- Rinse the area with cool water.
- Repeat this process at least one time each day
Rosehip and frankincense
- Mix equal parts rosehip essential oil and frankincense essential oil.
- Massage the rosehip-frankincense mixture onto the scar.
- Wait for 45 minutes before gently rinsing the area with warm water.
- Follow this procedure three times a day.
- Mix distilled water — a little at time — into two tablespoons of baking soda until it forms a paste.
- Wet your scar with distilled water and then apply the paste to the wet scar.
- Hold the paste in place with a warm compress for 15 minutes.
- Rinse the area and repeat daily.
Before trying any of the remedies above, thoroughly wash and dry the scar and the area around it. Also, only use these remedies on scars — not open wounds. Should any of these remedies cause any irritation, stop use immediately.
The Science of Facial Scars Healing: Different Types, Their Causes, and How to Treat Them
Remember that time you had to get stitches?
Or finally won that battle with a blemish?
Or kept knicking yourself in the same spot while shaving your legs? (Ankles are difficult.)
Of course you do!
Because now you have a scar to remind you!
It could be a dark scar, dark scars plural, or scars on face from an annoying blemish, shiny scar or indented scar all of these are a normal part of the skin’s natural healing process, but for many of us, those little telltale marks can hang around for a while as an unwelcome cicatrix. (Another word for a scar. Say it out loud. Isn’t it fun?)
In a study conducted by professors of reconstructive and plastic surgery, it was estimated that many people are seeking to fix scars.
And that’s just per year, and it doesn’t even account for the entire global population!
Which means, whether it’s from an injury, surgery, burn, or a pimple gone awry, we pretty much all have scars of some kind.
As a skincare professional, I’m often asked if it’s possible to fade or diminish scars.
Today, I’m going to give you info on the science of scars: different types of scars, what causes them, and if there’s a way to fade those pesky little reminders!
Can Facial Scars Heal?
Can Scars on My Face Heal? We will be honest, most likely no skincare product or facial treatment will return your skin to the way it looked before a procedure or injury. Here are the two things you must do to help heal scars as best as possible – Keep them out of the sun or underneath natural sunscreen at all times, and moisturize them day and night.
What Causes Facial Scars?
Scars occur when the dermis, the second deepest layer of skin, is damaged by injury, surgery, picking at a scab, etc.
When a wound occurs, your skin goes into immediate healing mode and starts trying to close it up as quickly as possible.
First, a blood clot forms on the skin’s surface (the epidermis) and covers the cut to form a scab.
Then, the dermis gets to work below sending out fibroblasts (the cells that make collagen) to start rebuilding tissue.
Because your skin is in a hurry to repair itself and replenish tissue, the collagen may not get laid out in the neatly-organized lattice pattern that makes up the rest of your skin.
This hasty approach can result in a scar.
Too much collagen creates a raised scar, while a lack of collagen makes an indented one.
Over the next couple years following an injury, your skin will work to replace that messy collagen with neater tissue, so a scar may be reduced, but may never completely fade or return to your skin’s original appearance in that spot.
How severe or obvious a scar ends up looking can be determined by a number of factors.
- Age: Older skin tends to contain less collagen and elasticity, making healing slower and scars more probable.
- Skin tone: Those with darker or fairer skin are more susceptible to noticeable scarring.
- Location of injury: If you get a cut on a place that takes longer to heal, say on a knee that bends a lot, or a foot that experiences constant friction from shoes, scarring may be more likely.
- Hormones: Hormone levels can affect your body’s likelihood of incurring scars or hyperpigmentation.
Types of Facial Scars
Keloid or Hypertrophic
Keloids are those raised scars that look like puffy, dense tissue and might also be pink or darker than the surrounding skin.
Similarly, a hypertrophic scar may also be raised, but it doesn’t expand beyond the spot of the injury.
These types of scars occur when there’s an overproduction of tissue at the site of the wound and collagen collects and is overbuilt under the top layer of skin.
What Causes Keloid Scars
When the dermis layer of your skin kicks into aggressive healing mode, it sends in fibroblasts to start distributing collagen to rebuild tissue.
However, instead of having time to lay everything out in an orderly, basket-weave style – which is how the rest of your skin is composed – they start throwing down overproduction of collagen sort of haphazardly to quickly get things closed up.
So, you end up with a bunch of unorganized, built-up collagen beneath the top layer of your skin which results in a raised scar.
If you had chickenpox as a kid, you may have a parting gift in the form of a little pitted or divot scar.
This is where they get their familiar name, “pockmarks.”
This is an atrophic scar, which is sunken in and results in a recessed mark on your skin.
These scars are typical of both chickenpox and cystic acne.
What Causes Atrophic Scars
These sunken scars are caused when there’s damage to the skin’s underlying structure – fat or collagen cells – usually as a result of inflammation.
The outcome is that there’s not enough tissue to fill out the skin, so it causes a depression in the skin’s surface.
As if battling blemishes wasn’t already a pain, they can leave you with lasting scars.
And, I’m not just talking about skin damage from picking and popping pimples.
Although, that’s not good for skin either.
Hands off, resist the pick!
I’m talking about cystic acne.
These painful bumps are rooted deep in the skin, and when pus and bacteria collect and sit below your skin’s surface, they can do damage to deep layers and result in scars which can take on a variety of forms.
These are those deep, indented scars that may resemble a large pore. They occur when inflammation causes collagen below skin’s surface to collapse, leaving a depression.
Rolling scars are depressions with rounded edges, and there are typically a few of them in one close area making them look like a continuous, undulating scar.
These scars are caused when the subcutaneous tissue layer (the layer below the dermis) creates fibrous tissue that tugs the top layers down.
These scars are broad depressions with more defined edges.
Boxcar scars occur when a cyst destroys fat cells under the skin resulting in an indentation.
These scars cause a dark spot on the skin’s surface that may resemble a freckle.
Hyperpigmentation happens when melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin, or pigment) go into overdrive in the production of melanin at the site of an injury or inflammation caused by acne.
If you’re dealing with cystic acne, you don’t have to go through it alone.
I always recommend talking to a dermatologist!
There are so many treatment options out there, and they can help you determine which one will work best to care for your skin!
These scars are the result of a large area of skin being lost (or the kind you’d get from a severe burn).
The skin contracts as it heals and scars, forming tight, shiny skin that may inhibit movement in the area.
Ladies, if you’ve had the pleasure of being pregnant, you may be familiar with these lovely lines (although not all moms-to-be experience them, 90% of pregnant women do!).
Anyone can get stretch marks.
They can occur all over the body and happen when there’s extreme weight gain or growth that makes skin stretch, like during puberty.
Stretch marks can appear as indented or raised lines that are either darker (purple) or lighter (white) than the skin tone that surrounds them.
What Causes Stretch Marks
While the exact cause isn’t known, it’s theorized that skin stretching causes damage to the elasticity of the tissues in the dermis layer which leads to scarring.
It’s also been suggested that high levels of cortisol could play a part in making your skin more vulnerable to stretch marks.
Preventing Stretch Marks
In the battle against stretch marks, moisture is your best friend.
Imagine a dry, brittle piece of elastic or rubber band.
When it’s stretched, it’s more prone to tears and breakage.
Same goes for skin.
Grab some coconut oil, shea butter, or your rich moisturizer of choice and slather on that goodness.
Your future skin will thank you!
How to Prevent Face Scars
If you do find yourself with an injury or damage to your skin, there are a couple things you can do to help heal and avoid making matters worse!
- DON’T PICK: I know, the temptation is almost too much to bear, but if you can avoid picking and just let a scab or a blemish resolve and heal on its own, you’ll reduce the chance of developing a scar. Stay strong, my friends!
- Keep wounds protected: When your skin is healing, moisture and coverage are the keys to helping it along. Keep a wound properly cleaned and covered, and avoid letting it dry out by regularly applying a medicated ointment.
- Continue protection: After your skin has healed, keeping the area protected with SPF whenever you’re out will help prevent the scarred area from getting darker.
Is It Possible to Minimize Face Scars?
While there’s no one-size-fits-all method, there are a variety of options for treating scars.
Raised scars may eventually resolve and fade on their own.
However, they can also be minimized using dermabrasion, steroid injections, cortisone injections, silicone gels or pads, or even through surgery to remove the raised tissue and replace it with a cleaner, more minimal scar.
Indented scars can be resolved through in-office treatments including lasers, filler injections, dermabrasion, or chemical peels.
Either way, if you’re concerned about physical scarring, you should talk to your doctor or dermatologist about which treatment option is right for you!
What About Fading Facial Scars?
Scarring that is caused by hyperpigmentation resulting in dark spots can be lightened up by using certain ingredients in your skincare routine.
It’s worth mentioning that, when working to lighten and brighten your complexion, patience and regular application is key! You won’t see results overnight.
In order for most lightening formulas to work effectively, they require time and consistent use.
Practice your routine religiously, and stick with it!
Look for these brightening ingredients!
- Antioxidants: These help combat free radical damage which causes collagen and elastin breakdown, hyperpigmentation, and thickens your skin’s texture. Antioxidants help rebuild collagen and encourage healing for healthy skin!
- Vitamin C: This vitamin works to inhibit the skin’s overproduction of melatonin in response to damage or an injury. Plus, since it’s a member of the antioxidant family, it helps rebuild collagen.
- Retinol: A vitamin A derivative, retinol works by gently exfoliating the top layers of skin to lift away dark skin cells. In turn, it promotes cellular turnover and encourages the production of new, healthy skin cells and new collagen which can help soften scars, retinol for scars is a great choice!
- Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): This family of acids helps with cellular turnover to renew skin and encourage healing.
- SPF: Wearing daily sun protection will guard against scars getting any darker or skin incurring any further damage. Plus, it will protect against collagen and elastin breakdown to keep skin looking youthful.
Will pimple scars go away by themselves?
A quick Google search of facial scar pictures after a bigger-than-acceptable zit appears, and we know that you’re probably level-10 anxious. While facial scarring is a serious matter, it should be noted that something like a small blemish on your face is okay. It may leave a spot on your skin temporarily, but no, it shouldn’t lead to permanent face scars.
That said, it’s smart to be precautious during the time that the pimple mark exists. To prevent scars on skin in any capacity, make sure that you’re using a sunscreen so that the UV rays don’t cause further damage.
In the event this one pimple turned into a full-blown break-out that left multiple marks, know you’re not alone. Worldwide 40% of patients have acne scarring. The good news? Acne scars fade. You can get rid of a scar, whether it be face scars or acne scars on the chest, with a little TLC.
Wondering how to fade those acne scars? Retinol acne scar treatments are the first way to go. Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative that not only helps to fade fine lines in aging skin, but to get rid of pesky spots thanks to its ability to cause cells to regenerate quickly. So when trying to find skin care for scars to get those scars healing, be on the look-out for this miracle worker in a cream or serum! It’ll help the acne scar or scars fade and let those scars start healing fast.
How To Lighten Scars?
Searching for How to lighten scars? If the scar is fully healed, try a skin lightening serum. See below for recommended products.
What facial removes acne scars?
Aside from just a pampering ritual, facials are great to help with face scars removal. They’re just one of the many skincare options for scars. There are several facial types that can help fade your scar tissue, and they are as follows:
Microdermabrasion: A great option for all skin types, microdermabrasion suitable for fading scars. The process is simple: a trained professional gently exfoliates the surface of the skin using abrasing and suctioning. It’s a superficial form of skincare for scarring; meaning it isn’t invasive and won’t require any recovery time post-treatment.
Laser Treatment: Not exactly skin care for scar tissue, this one is focused on using powerful light beams to reduce spots. It does this by gently resurfacing the skin. It’s been shown to help in fading scars, though it should be noted, it’s not the most effective means of scar removal for black skin or a black scar, or even if you have dark skin after wound healed.
How to lighten facial scars?
If you’d like to kick-start healing scars, one way to do that is by lightening the areas with the following popular treatments.
Salicylic Acid: One of the most classic acne scar fading treatments, Salicylic Acid is a part of the Alpha Hydroxy family. It’s known to exfoliate the skin, removing any dead layers. This works in benefit of scars since it can unveil new skin after each treatment. It’s ideal for deep scar removal.
Lactic Acid: A great option for all types of skin, Lactic Acid is another known player in healing scars. When used as a peel once to twice a week, you’ll notice an improvement in texture and appearance.
How to remove facial scars naturally?
When it comes to face scars removal, it is possible to use natural, home remedies. It should be noted however, it’s not the easy way to get rid of scars, compared to professional treatments, but can lead to scars healing over time if you keep up with it.
A few of the ways to naturally remove scars are as follows.
Use manuka honey. Yes, it’s a pretty sweet option, we know. Manuka Honey has been used throughout history for its powerful antioxidant count and healing properties. Applying as a mask to the face can help that tricky scar fade in time.
Use Baking Soda. A cheap, relatively easy-to-find option is baking soda. It’s known to help brighten skin and act as an exfoliating agent. Spot treat your face scar (or scars) with a 1:1 ratio of baking soda and water for best results.
How to heal scars on face?
If you have a scar on face skin or in the facial area, if course you want it to heal.
How to cover facial scars with makeup?
If you’re worried about scars on your face, and feel like despite your best efforts fading acne scars is proving to take more time than you expected, then there are tricks to use makeup to cover scarring skin.
The first is to use a cleanser, preferably one that’s part of your scar skin care regimen.. Then, you’ll want to apply a primer and start off with a concealer to cover any spots with scars. This will help “fade” an acne scar easily. Next, use a high quality foundation. Our tip? Find one that is known to help with scars on the skin.
Finally, watch those facial scars fade.
My Favorites for Fading and Treating Scars
iS Clinical White Lightening Serum
Alana Mitchell Night R1 Retinol Facial Oil
Epicuren Glycolic Polymer Solution – 5%
Dermaquest Stem Cell Rebuilding Complex
Rhonda Allison Skin Brightening System
Dermalogica Emergency Spot Fix
Scars can be unpleasant to live with, but they’re also reminders of experiences and a life lived!
Whether you choose to keep your scars or take steps to treat them, it’s a decision you should make based on what’s best for you and your skin.
Make sure you’re caring for your skin, scars and all!
Do you have questions about the best way to fade or treat your scars? Ask us in the comments section. I’m here to help!
Last updated by Alana Mitchell at December 10, 2019.
How can home remedies get rid of my old scar?
Many lotions, creams, and other products claim to reduce a scar’s appearance but lack evidence to back up their claims.
However, for those who wish to try a noninvasive treatment for scars at home, a few options may be able to help.
1. Silicone sheets and gel
Share on PinterestApplying silicone sheets or gel to the skin may help to improve the appearance of a scar.
Of all the home remedies for scars, silicone may have the most evidence that it works.
A number of studies over the past 20 years have confirmed that applying silicone sheeting or gel can gradually improve a scar’s appearance:
- Silicone sheeting has been shown to be a proven scar treatment over the years, according to one study.
- A review states that silicone sheeting improves the appearance of hypertrophic scars.
- Another study found that a silicone gel was as effective as silicone sheeting in diminishing hypertrophic and keloid scars.
- Topical silicone gel provided an improvement in keloid and hypertrophic scars, according to another review.
Silicone scar treatment products are available in many stores without a prescription. Doctors may also prescribe this treatment after surgery or to aid in scar formation after an injury.
Silicone has a low risk of side effects and is usually easy and painless to use.
2. Onion extract to remove scars
One of the most well-known natural remedies for scar treatment is onion extract. This extract is widely available in scar treatment products that are available at drug stores.
Some studies found that:
- A proprietary onion extract product improved and softened scars after 4 weeks.
- People who used an onion extract gel reported improvements in scar texture, softness, redness, and overall appearance after 4 weeks.
Despite these studies, evidence on onion extract is mixed. One study found that onion extract was no better than a petroleum-based ointment in treating scars.
3. Chemical exfoliators
Many over-the-counter creams and serums contain exfoliants. These substances are designed to help remove the outer layers of dead skin, revealing a smoother appearance.
While there are some claims that exfoliants can smooth fine lines, they may be beneficial for some types of scars and dark marks.
One study found that two types of chemical exfoliators helped to reduce the look of acne scars and dark marks caused by acne. The study looked at peels that contained glycolic acid and a salicylic-mandelic acid combination and found both types offered some improvement.
Another study found that glycolic acid peels can improve the look of atrophic acne scars. The authors stated that people who have stronger peels done in a doctor’s office may get better results, but that lower-strength peels done at home can also offer benefits with fewer side effects.
4. Sun protection
While sun protection alone will not get rid of a scar, it can keep them from getting worse and help with the natural fading process.
People using glycolic acid or other scar-fading products are strongly advised to use sun protection.
Careful use of sunscreen and sun-protective clothing is necessary for both newly-formed and old scars alike. It will help prevent additional darkening, which makes a scar more noticeable.
Lack of evidence for other remedies
Many other home remedies have been promoted as scar removers, such as aloe vera, honey, and olive oil.
While these natural substances may help soften and smooth skin, and likely will not do any harm, no studies have yet found these substances to work in reducing or removing scars.
Proper wound care: How to minimize a scar
Whenever your skin is injured – whether by accident or from surgery – your body works to repair the wound. As your skin heals, a scar may form, as this is a natural part of the healing process.
Here are dermatologists’ tips for reducing the appearance of scars caused by injuries such as skinned knees or deep scratches.
Whenever your skin is injured—whether by accident or from surgery—your body works to repair the wound. As your skin heals, a scar may form, as this is a natural part of the healing process.
The appearance of a scar often depends on how well the wound heals. While scars from surgery or over joints like the knees and elbows are hard to avoid, scars caused by minor cuts and scrapes can become less noticeable by properly treating the wound at home.
Here are dermatologists’ tips for reducing the appearance of scars caused by injuries such as skinned knees or deep scratches:
Always keep your cut, scrape or other skin injury clean. Gently wash the area with mild soap and water to keep out germs and remove debris.
To help the injured skin heal, use petroleum jelly to keep the wound moist. Petroleum jelly prevents the wound from drying out and forming a scab; wounds with scabs take longer to heal. This will also help prevent a scar from getting too large, deep or itchy. As long as the wound is cleaned daily, it is not necessary to use anti-bacterial ointments.
After cleaning the wound and applying petroleum jelly or a similar ointment, cover the skin with an adhesive bandage. For large scrapes, sores, burns or persistent redness, it may be helpful to use hydrogel or silicone gel sheets.
Change your bandage daily to keep the wound clean while it heals. If you have skin that is sensitive to adhesives, try a non-adhesive gauze pad with paper tape. If using silicone gel or hydrogel sheets, follow the instructions on the package for changing the sheets.
If your injury requires stitches, follow your doctor’s advice on how to care for the wound and when to get the stitches removed. This may help minimize the appearance of a scar.
Apply sunscreen to the wound after it has healed. Sun protection may help reduce red or brown discoloration and help the scar fade faster. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply frequently.
If you have minor cuts or scrapes, you can help reduce the appearance of a scar by properly treating the injury at home. However, if your injury is deep, very painful or if your skin becomes infected, seek immediate medical care.
A burn can turn into a serious injury without proper treatment.
Although no scar can be completely eliminated, most scars fade over time. If you’re worried about the appearance of a scar, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can answer your questions and talk about ways to make your scar less visible.
Related AAD resources
Scars: Signs, symptoms, and treatment
How to treat a first-degree, minor burn
How to treat minor cuts
How to prevent and minimize scars
Seemingly permanent reminders of old wounds, scars form during the healing process to repair skin damage. If their presence bothers you, the good news is that a scar’s initial appearance is not set in stone. While they likely won’t disappear entirely, scars do naturally lighten over time.
There are several ways to get rid of scars, or at least accelerate the lightening process and significantly reduce their appearance. Here are some scar treatment and prevention methods you can try at home:
There are several ways to reduce the appearance of scars.
Make healthy choices
Good nutrition promotes proper health, and Verywell Health noted that protein is especially important for healing skin damage. Make sure you’re eating enough protein, as well as staying hydrated to minimize your scars. Added to that, avoid smoking, drinking alcohol and engaging in too much physical activity during the wound healing process to prevent scar development.
Apply soothing creams and gels
Aloe Vera is one of the best natural remedies for getting rid of scars. Healthline advised applying the gel directly to the scar using circular motions. Let the aloe sit for about 30 minutes, and then rinse it off with cool water. Repeat the process twice a day for the best results. You can also try applying a layer of honey to the scar and covering it with a bandage each night. Wash the honey off when you wake up in the morning and repeat each night until you achieve the desired results. For minor wounds, simply applying petroleum jelly can keep the wound bed moist and prevent scar development, a tip that registered nurse Rebecca Lee shared with Reader’s Digest.
Once your wound heals, the American Academy of Dermatology advised applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to the affected area regularly. Protecting the skin from the sun’s harsh rays can reduce discoloration and encourage the scarring to fade at a faster rate.
Practice proper wound care
Remember that while there are treatment options available, the best way to minimize scars is to avoid them in the first place.Take proper care of fresh wounds to restore the skin and prevent scarring. This includes keeping your cut, scrape, surgical incision or injury clean and moist, as well as covering the skin with dressings and replacing them with clean ones frequently.
Talk to your doctor about smartPAC by Advanced Tissue to get your wound care supplies delivered straight to your front door. With video tutorials and single-dose packaging, smartPAC makes it easy to practice proper wound care at home.
Tips for Reducing Scarring After Facial Surgery
Facial lacerations can be a scary situation for anyone. That is why it’s best to visit experts, like us, who have expereience in treating and repairing facial injuries and trauma. However, we know that your recovery doesn’t end the moment you leave our doors. We want you to have the best outcome following surgery which is why we’re writing this to answer some of your most common questions and to give you our best tips for treating your wound as it heals.
Know the general time table of healing. Within 2 days the cut should seal, and by 5 to 10 days it should be strong. In the first 3 months you may notice the skin around the scar may thicken and have a red or purple tint. By 4 to 6 months this process should reverse and the scar will flatten and the discoloration will fade. Usually by 6 months the scar will be completely healed, but there can be continued improvement for up to a year.
There are many factors that impact your healing. How deep your cut is, its location, your age, and the way your skin heals all determine how visible a final scar will be. Younger skin actually produces thicker scarring.
Apply ointment frequently to keep the wound moist. This can increase the speed of healing considerably and reduce scabbing, which actually increases the build up of scar tissue.
Apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. An infected wound will make a bigger scar. Be sure to continue to apply antibiotic ointment or cream as directed by our team to keep the wound moist and fight off any infection.
Make sure you know the signs of infection. Antibiotics will often be prescribed to prevent infection, especially if the wound is a result of injury. Contact us immediately if you see any signs of an infection including:
A large amount of pus coming from the wound
Increased redness or swelling
Massage the wound gently to increase blood flow. Sutures are usually removed between 5 and 8 days. Massage the wound after sutures have been removed using a moisturizing lotion with Vitamin E or Aloe. Gently massage the skin around the wound twice daily for the first two weeks, and then once a day for a month. This will increase the blood flow in the area and prevent scar tissue build up.
Be gentle and avoid scrubbing your wound. It is usually okay to allow clean shower water to wash over the wound as long as you don’t scrub it. If crusts of blood accumulate, lightly dabbing with clean gauze moistened with hydrogen peroxide is best.
Avoid sun exposure. It is extremely important that you do your best to avoid sun exposure. The scar may tan a much darker color than the skin around it, and this may become permanent. Cover the area as much as possible or use sun block of SPF#50 or greater.
Whether you have had elective surgery or surgery to repair a facial injury we hope that these tips help answer your questions. If you or your loved one ever requires a trip to the emergency room involving a facial injury or laceration, be sure to seek our consultation as soon as possible and please contact us with any additional questions that you may have.
Tips for Taking Care of Them
After you got your stitches, your doctor or her nurse should have given you instructions on how to care for them and told you when they’ll come out. That may be as little as a few days and probably no more than 2 weeks. It depends on how deep your wound was, where on your body you got it, and the kind of stitches you got.
If you didn’t understand any of the directions you were given, be sure to call your doctor back.
The first day: Keep your wound area dry for the first 24 hours after the doctor sewed in the stitches. You’ll lower your risk of infection.
Follow your doctor’s instructions on when you can start cleaning the area and how to do it. Usually, you have to wait at least a day before cleaning.
Afterwards: You should wash off dirt and the crust that forms around the stitches. That lowers your chances of having a scar. You may need to place a bandage on it if the wound leaks clear, yellow fluid.
After washing, be sure to dry the area with gentle pats of a clean towel.
Here are some other tips on caring for stitches:
- Resist the urge to scratch. You could pull them out.
- Don’t swim. Wait until your stitches are out before you go into the pool or pond.
- Do take showers. If you can, control the spray and protect your wound in a shower. Use a softer setting if you can. When your stitches get wet, pat them dry with a towel.
- Pass on contact sports. You want to avoid bumps and bruises to that tender area.
- Keep your child out of dirty places. It’s a tall order, but try to keep your child out of mud, sand, and paint. That could make the wound get dirty and maybe cause an infection.
Even if you’re not above making common first aid mistakes, there’s a super-simple way to prevent scarring from a cut, scratch, gash, or other relatively minor wounds.
As a wound heals, a scar may form, and how big it is, depends on how well it heals. The good news is that scars from minor injuries can definitely be minimized with proper treatment, according to Rebecca Lee, RN, a nurse from New York City and founder of the natural health source RemediesForMe.com.
The first step, advises Lee, is to stop the bleeding and make sure the wound is clean. Running water and mild soap is all you need to clean your cuts and wounds, remove any debris, and minimize bacteria. Make sure your hands are clean before you start. Despite the advice you may have heard growing up, don’t be tempted to clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide. While it’s a great antiseptic and bacteria killer, it should not be used on cuts and wounds because it disrupts tissue growth and delays healing.
The next step is to apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or Vaseline over the wound, to keep it moist and create an occlusive layer—that means it locks moisture in, which prevents the skin from drying out. As a backup, you could use Aquaphor, which contains 41 percent petroleum jelly. The benefit of a semi-occlusive barrier over the skin is that it lets water and oxygen get to the wound, which is beneficial for healing and scar prevention. (Here are more great uses for petroleum jelly you might not be aware of.)
“Wet environments greatly support wound healing by encouraging new skin growth—epithelialization—and preventing dehydration and cell death,” explains Lee. “Wounds that are dried out take longer to heal and can get deep and itchy.” This is backed up by a review of clinical findings regarding treatment of wounds in a moist or wet environment, published in the journal Advances in Wound Care.
After applying petroleum jelly to the wound, cover it with a Band-Aid (or gauze and paper tape if you’re allergic to adhesives). It’s important to keep cuts and wounds covered, says Lee, because this keeps them clean, prevents dehydration, and creates a protective barrier between the wound and the external environment, even your clothing. If you don’t cover a wound and it dries out, it can lead to crusting and scab formation, which delays the healing process and is more likely to result in a scar.
To aid the healing process, Lee recommends cleaning the wound daily with soap and water, then reapplying petroleum jelly or Aquaphor, and adding a fresh Band-Aid. And if you’re wondering: Does Neosporin prevent scars? The answer is no, not directly. As long as wounds are cleaned daily, there’s no need for antibacterial ointments or other special creams. Next, try these tips to speed up the healing process so you can get rid of that scab.
Surgery for Scars & Keloids
Scar revision surgery can minimize the appearance of a scar and help it blend with the surrounding skin. Large or highly visible scars are often an unavoidable result of injury or surgery. The soft tissues surrounding a wound may change shape, dimple, or become sunken, uneven, or raised as the wound heals.
When a surgical incision is healing, stitches—or sutures—can alter the look of a scar. If stitches aren’t removed before the top layer of skin heals around them, the entry points of the stitches may become permanent features, resulting in a “railroad scar.” Scars that form after an injury can heal unevenly, causing the skin on one side of the scar to be higher than the skin on the other, a type of scar sometimes called a “trapdoor scar.”
Our reconstructive plastic surgeons perform revision surgery using a variety of approaches and select the most effective technique for you based on the type, size, and location of the scar.
A surgeon may reduce the size of a scar; reposition a scar to a less visible area; or smooth the contours of the skin and other soft tissues to correct sunken or dimpled scars, which usually occur when the wound that caused the scar was deep and broad.
A surgeon may use aesthetic techniques to move a scar to a less visible place. With scars on the face, a surgeon may remove and reposition the scar formed by an incision closure so that it is broken up or heals along a natural fold in the skin, making it less noticeable. For example, surgeons may reposition a scar located on the cheek closer to the ear, making it almost imperceptible. With large burn scars, a surgeon may reduce and realign the scar tissue to more naturally follow the contours of the body.
Other cosmetic techniques include injecting a small amount of fat—which surgeons typically remove from another part of your body, such as the thigh or belly—to fill in any sunken areas caused by an open wound that healed by itself or by a wide zone of injury.
How to Treat an Itchy Scar
Treatments for scarring can depend on the type of scar you have. For example, a doctor wouldn’t usually recommend surgery to correct a small scar. But they may suggest it for large, hypertrophic scars that rise above the skin.
Your doctor may recommend noninvasive and invasive treatment options.
Doctors will usually recommend noninvasive treatments first to reduce the itchiness and overall appearance of a scar. Examples of these types of treatments include:
- Applying highly moisturizing creams or oils. Examples include cocoa butter or coconut oil. Vitamin E oil is also an option for older scars, but it’s important to know that it can affect healing in new scars. These products can help the skin from drying out, which can also reduce itching.
- Using silicon sheeting bandages. These bandages are available at most drugstores and can be applied as an adhesive or placed over the injured area.
- Using onion-based ointments. Ointments like Mederma may help to reduce a scar’s appearance. They must be applied regularly over the course of several months to see results. However, current research published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery hasn’t proven these ointments to be a highly effective scar treatment.
- Applying special compression bandages. These bandages are available through your doctor’s office or pharmacy. They put constant pressure on the scar to keep it from hardening.
- Massaging the scar tissue. This can help to soften and flatten the scar. Massage the scar in small, circular motions for a period of 10 minutes or more at least three times per day, applying as much pressure as is tolerable. It’s important to know that massage usually isn’t effective in treating scars that are 2 years old or older.
In addition to these measures, it’s always a good idea to apply sunscreen to an injured area. This helps prevent scars from becoming hyperpigmented, or darker than the skin around them.
If a scar fails to respond to at-home treatments and causes significant discomfort or an undesirable appearance, a doctor may recommend invasive treatments. These include:
- Intralesional corticosteroid injections. A doctor injects a corticosteroid into the lesion, which can reduce inflammation.
- Surgical excision. A doctor will only recommend surgical removal of a scar if they believe they can reduce the scar’s appearance without making it worse.
- Laser therapy. Doctors may use lasers to burn or damage the layers of skin below the scar to promote healing.
- Cryosurgery. This approach involves applying chemicals that freeze the scar tissue. This destroys the tissue and can reduce its appearance. Doctors may follow cryosurgery with injections of steroids or other medications, such as 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) cream or bleomycin.
- Radiation therapy. In some cases, doctors recommend radiation therapy for keloids, or highly raised scars. Because it has significant side effects, radiation is usually a last resort for scars that haven’t responded to other treatments.
Your doctor will consider if the treatment will help improve the scar or make it worse. They’ll discuss the risks and benefits to each intervention as well as recovery times.