If you’ve recently cut or injured yourself, particularly if it’s in a highly visible place, you may be worried about the formation of a disfiguring scar. A deep cut or wound that penetrates into the dermal layer of the skin can be a real concern. Scar formation is part of the natural healing process as the injured dermis tries to repair itself by laying down new collagen. While most scars are flat, some individuals overproduce collagen in response to injury, which results in the formation of a hypertrophic, raised scar or keloid. Most commonly seen in dark skinned people, this type of scar can be quite disfiguring. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help reduce the risk of scarring.
AVOID UNPROVEN HOME REMEDIES
When faced with the prospect of treating a laceration, it's important to avoid using unproven home remedies such as the application of vitamin E or honey to the affected area. A study published in Dermatological Surgery showed that administering vitamin E to a scar after skin surgery not only didn’t improve its appearance but lead to the development of contact dermatitis in some cases. Avoid utilizing these so called “natural remedies” as they don’t appear to prevent scar formation.
CONSIDER USING SILICONE SHEETS
The regular application of silicone sheets to a cut may help to prevent scar formation in some cases. Neosporin makes a version of these silicone sheets which are easy to apply and may even aid in preventing hypertrophic scars or keloids from forming at sites of burns, cuts, and other minor injuries. Silicone sheets are a worthwhile investment if you have a deeper cut or are predisposed to scar formation.
MASSAGE THE AREA AS NEW TISSUE FORMS
Scars form when new collagen is laid down on the surface of the skin. Massaging the injured area after collagen formation has started to occur can help to break up some of the dense collagen bonds which may give rise to an unsightly scar. Massaging the area several times a day may help to lighten the appearance of the scar even if scar formation still occurs.
PRACTICE GOOD WOUND CARE
Practicing good wound care can help to reduce the risk of scar formation. Make sure the area is kept lightly covered with a protective bandage and apply an antibacterial ointment such as Bacitracin to reduce the risk of infection. The bandage should be loose to allow air to circulate over the wounded area. Use an antibacterial soap to clean the wound at least once a day.
Take a special interest in your diet as good nutrition is necessary for aiding the healing process. If you smoke, it's crucial that you stop until the wound heals as this can reduce oxygen delivery to the injured area. Avoid exposing the cut or wound to direct sunlight as this can slow down the healing process.
If despite your best efforts, a scar formation still occurs, visit a professional healthcare provider. There are ways to reduce the appearance of a scar such as dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. Although expensive, these can be quite effective in improving the appearance of wounds.
If you have an injury, Urgent Clinics Medical Care skillfully administers sutures (stitches), skin glue or steri-strips depending on the severity of the injury. You’re welcome to visit any of our clinics which are open from 8 am to 9 pm daily and are conveniently located in Champions Forest, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes. Our Pearland Clinic is open from 8 am until midnight every day, 7 days a week. Repairing a wound correctly can greatly reduce scar formation providing a wound the best opportunity to heal quickly with minimum disfiguration.