Scar Prevention and Treatment

What is Scar Tissue?

Scars. It's the body's natural internal band-aid. Scars form when there is injury to soft tissue and/or skin. Scars can vary in severity, color, form, height, and duration. They have these variations based on the severity of the wound, age, race, medication, and aftercare.

After injury, the body creates cells that are not organized like those of the skin or muscle. Imagine a tangled ball of yarn and you can picture the structure of scar tissue. Scar tissue can be a blessing and a curse. It's the body's natural defense to the wound and part of the healing process, but it's not ideal. Our body tries to create a permanent natural suture.

Different Kinds of Scars

Scar tissue is the lying down of proteins called collagen fibers. Sometimes the structure is more disorganized than others. It's the flat, pale scars that we don't need to worry about. Abnormal scars are:

  • Hypertrophic - this scar is generally raised and pink or red in color.

  • Kyloid - (pronounced key-loid) this scar is not only raised and discolored, but continues to grow and contains benign tissue.

Treatment for hypertrophic and kyloid scars should be directed by your physician.

Topical Treatments

For general scars, there are several products and schools of thought. Research does not show that topical treatments like vitamin E provide any benefit. Cocoa butter also has little medical evidence to back up it's use on scars. Keep in mind that not everyone heals the same way, and while some bodies may respond to these products, most may not according to research.

Mederma is a newer topical over-the-counter treatment that has proven to be somewhat effective. Mederma is a lightweight, gel-like coating that dries on like liquid band-aid. Consult with your health-care professional prior to use.

Silicone pads are now available over-the-counter. Silicone is believed to have softening properties for raised scars, and if applied with the right amount of pressure, can assist in the reduced appearance of raised scars.

Massage Techniques

Treating scar tissue at home usually involves some type of massage. Consult with your doctor or therapist before beginning a regimen. Scars often "adhere" to the tissues beneath, like gluing the skin to the muscle. This can restrict motion, cause pain and discomfort, and irritate surrounding tissues.

  • Cross-Fiber Technique - Simply place your fingers along the side of the scar, and gently pressing down, push toward the scar. This is not a gliding technique - your fingers are stationary and you are mobilizing the structures beneath the skin. The protocol is to hold this for at least 90 seconds. Reposition fingers along the other side of the scar and repeat.
  • Petrisage - Gently grasping the skin and tissue around the scar, lift upwards with a light, squeezing motion. If your scar is new, do this very lightly the first few times. As you proceed over several days, you can become more aggressive. You may feel a burning or itching sensation, which generally indicates that the scar tissue is releasing.

While cocoa butter and vitamin E may not be necessary for scar treatment, they can be nice mediums for the scar massage you will do at home. Choose a lotion or cream that is right for you.

These massage techniques do not apply to the treatment of hypertrophic or kyloid scars. Do not massage any raised scar without the direct consent of your physician.

Medical Treatments

Several medical treatments are available today. They vary from laser light therapy to pressure garments to surgical release of scar tissue. Ask your doctor or therapist which treatment is right for you.

Prevention Methods

Preventing the scar in the first place is the best thing to do. If you have a scratch, wound, new surgical incision, etc., be sure to keep it moist and covered at all times.

  • Drying out wounds is an old method that leads to more scarring and slower healing.
  • Be sure to use a topical ointment or cream, and use gauze or band-aids.
  • Change dressings daily.

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Comments 28 comments

funride profile image

funride 8 years ago from Portugal

Great tips! I´ll need them in future cause I already have my fair share of scars on my arms and face :(

Thankfully I usually recover well and fast from scars.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

I've heard and tried some of these. I'm curius what you think. Vitamin E rubbed on scars takes FOREVER to even lessen their appearance. And, depending on the area of the scar Mederma irritates my skin. Example- something made my shoulde break out leaving scars, so since they are new scars, I tried Mederma, but that made my shoulder break out more. This is the same with underarm irritation bumps that scar. I can use it on my face, but that's about it.

Would yous suggest?


Kat07 profile image

Kat07 8 years ago from Tampa Author

Scar treatment takes time. Sometimes it can take months or even years. Vitamin E is said to cause further skin irritation in some people. Cosmetically, a doctor could help you dissolve the appearance faster. For underarm bumps, there are 2 products that can help with the bumps and hopefully prevent them from turning into scars: BikiniZone and Tend Skin. BikiniZone can be found at most drug stores. Tend Skin is harder to find, but it works wonders - I've added an Amazon link below.

Ultimately, the best way to tackle this is to prevent the scar in the first place. If you have a rash or open areas, be sure to treat them 24/7 with Neosporin or something similar. Wounds (and that's what they are - tiny wounds) should always be kept moist and protected. Scars will then be minimal.


Whitney05 profile image

Whitney05 8 years ago from Georgia

Cool thanks Kat! I'll definitely have to purchase a bottle! With Tend Skin does it help reduce scarring or just minimize the likelihood of scars in the tender areas?

I used to use the Vitamin E, but quit when I swa little improvement. Plus I hated going to bed feeling sticky.


Kat07 profile image

Kat07 8 years ago from Tampa Author

Tend Skin is sort of like aftershave - the bumps are likely from shaving. The scars are likely from shaving over the bumps later. It will dry quickly, no sticky! : ) It will help reduce the bumps, therefore reduce the scars.


TwoCansMom profile image

TwoCansMom 8 years ago

Thanks for the info. I've been using Vitamin K cream on recent acne scars (not raised [or sunken] but discolored). I just realized today that I should start applying it with a Q-tip so I can target the exact area--I've been fading the surrounding skin as well! (The realization was a combination of a sunny day, a stop light, and a rear-view mirror.) I wonder how long it will take that lighter patch of skin to blend in again!


Po Ah Ching 7 years ago

my mother has a large scar on her chest which grew and connected her two breasts!! She saw a doctor and was given some painkillers as well as some anti-biotics as the scar was swollen...a little hole then appeared on the scar a few days later..Now the puss has been flowing out of this hole so she is currently visiting the hospital everyday to change her dressing...

Do you think she is taking the right medicines? or do you have better suggestions?


me 7 years ago

About how long does a bright red scratch on the face take to heal? Will there be minimal scaring if I keep it moist with Neosporin 24/7? I put Mederma on the open wound before I read the instructions not to use on open wounds. Will this affect my healing?


Kat07 profile image

Kat07 7 years ago from Tampa Author

Po Ah Ching - it sounds like your mom has a kyloid scar and that the underlying tissue did not heal properly before closing and forming the scar.  Antibiotics are very important any time pus is involved.  Make sure they check to rule out an abscess - these are more serious.

 

Me Says - I emailed you my response to your questions - I really hope your scar minimizes over time.  Good luck with it and be diligent with your treatment methods!


Taniya 7 years ago

um... I actually just had an incident yesterday where i fell and slipped off the stairs. It ripped the skin on my nose, it was bleeding A lot! I tried not to trying panic. Im was then rushed to the hospital and it is small but still. Will it leave a scar???? :( the cut was like redish pinkish i got it glued instead of stiches. this is a question of my lifee ???? im scaredd! ???? please help thxx..


Kat07 profile image

Kat07 7 years ago from Tampa Author

I really hope it's healed up nicely now - it all depends on your skin type - hopefully any scarring was minimal. My skin doesn't scar badly, scratches on my nose disappear quickly. But then my husband has darker skin and is scars show more readily. Everyone is different!


When123 6 years ago

I have a scar on my face below my eye, caused by a fingernail scratch. I applied mederma and after 3 weeks since the injury, it is still very red. Can you help? Thanks.


thousandlegged 6 years ago

Few days ago, my 1 1/2 years old newphew had fell from the sofa and got his forehead hit on the edge of the sofa table, which caused an one-inch cut on his forehead. Please advise what we can take precaution, do or apply to minimise the scar? Thanks.


Kat07 profile image

Kat07 6 years ago from Tampa Author

I'd really suggest that if you can't manage your scarring with any of the techniques or products above, to consult with your physician or dermatologist.


Larry F 6 years ago

I work for a board certified plastic surgeon

Mederma is usually what he recommends to his patients BUT some of them experience an adverse reaction to the cream, like redness, itching and having it not help at all.

For those patients, he recommends the Dr. Max Powers Scar Serum since it is organic and chemical free, which means its hypoallergetic. Most healthy people who do not want to use Mederma use the Dr. Max Scar Serum. If you have a reaction to Mederma, then discontinue use, and try the Dr. Max Powers Scar Serum

Scars that are pink are still healing, so using sunscreen is also VERY important. Scars turn white when they have finished healing.

Wishing you a smooth recovery! :)


Dean E 6 years ago

Ive recently cut my face with abit of steel nothing dramatic but i wish to avoid having a scar across my cheeck.. ive heard that vitamin A cream is also helpful is this correct?


Kat07 profile image

Kat07 5 years ago from Tampa Author

Vitamin A would be something you would take orally to attempt to help with the healing from a nutritional standpoint, but not something you would apply topically.


emiliaholloran profile image

emiliaholloran 5 years ago from New Zealand

Silicone has proved very effective you're right. The slightly creepy thing is that researchers don't know how it works… mind you that applies to just about all of modern medicine so we're probably ok :-)


Burn Injury Lawyer 5 years ago

Hi All, I find this article helpful to injury help .Good tips and comments here.

thanks


Burn Injury Lawyer 5 years ago

Hi All, I find this article helpful to injury help .Good tips and comments here.

thanks


Burn Injury 5 years ago

Help full article !!


Burn Injury 5 years ago

Help full article !!


Burn Victim 5 years ago

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Sebastian 5 years ago

Dear Kat07. ich habe viele der Eintrage gelsen und danke, dass du vielen Menschen auf diesem weg hilfst. Ich hoffe, dass du auch bei mir die eit findest, mir u antworten. ich habe gstern einen Unfall gehabt. ich haette mir gerne einen arm oder beine gebrochen, aber nein. es musste der gesichtsknochen seinr. Desweiteren arbeite ich in Kambodscha. Das erste krankenhau hat die wunde voellig falsch und sclecht genaeht. Desweieteren waren manche Wunden geneaeht, die keine Behandlung bedurften. Also wurden die wunden im gesicht wieder geoffnet und einige ieder geschlossen. Nur meine linge Gesichtshaelfte ist betroffen Sowie beine und haende, arme. Die Groesste Angts sind jett die Narben. Und due Behandlungsmoeglichkeiten hier. Die Sonne... meine Arbeit macht es mir fat unmoeglich nicht in die sonne zu gehen. Jezt habe ich pflaster auf den Wunden, Soll ich die wunde jeden tag reinigen lasen oder alle 2 tage? Die aerte hier meinten ich soellte die ersten 5 Tage oder bis die wunde u ist KEINE Creme auftragen. Ist das richtig?

Als ich eine verletung am bein hatte in kambodscha waren die aerte nicht in der lage die wund eichtig u behandeln. Bei jeder reinigung haben sie die wunde wieder aufgerissen und es bluetete. AEs ist eine 4 cm grosse wunde. Also kleiner und weniger schkimm als das was ich jett im Gesicht habe. Ich mache mir sorgen, dass dies wieder geschiet. Am ende war die bandage sogar eingewachsen und sie haben sie unter nakose raus geschnitten.... .

Vielen dank fuer deine Hilfe. Gruesse aus kambodscha. Sebastian


Kelly 5 years ago

Nutrapelle heals new wounds without leaving a scar.

It also heals burns without leaving a scar and sooths the pain on the burn.

It's just a body lotion but all of it's ingredients are healing to the skin

Best $20.00 you'll ever spend

nutrapelle.com


London Patient 4 years ago

I have a raised bump on my forehead from hitting my head on the corner of a table. The incident happened 3-4 yrs ago. The NHS advised that the raised bump is known as excess scar tissue and may flatten with time. I've used various creams, vitamin E oils and massages myself (haven't been consistent and maybe I haven't been doing this the right way) Please could you advise if you know of any London-UK based surgeons who are credited/industry approved for corrective surgery to remove similar types of scars. Or please let me know if there are any ways I could flatten this scar bump.? Any further advice will be greatly appreciated


rachel greenberg 3 years ago

can justin come see me in brunsville tonight?


Sandy 2 years ago

great tips and products but I got something from this website http://skinrepairsolution.com/ It's good but a bit expensive :3

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