Whether it’s a child bumping his head on the edge of a table or an adult slipping with a kitchen knife while cutting up vegetables, accidents happen no matter how careful you are being. Injuries and scars often- abound. After a cut it is impossible to not have a scar, but there are things you can do to lessen the severity of any lasting marks. Some scars are called sexy at times but for the most part people don’t like scarring.
Scar Prevention: Do’s and Don’ts
To help heal the skin with as little residual scarring as possible, there are steps you may take, and mistakes to avoid. “The key to lessening scarring is to decrease the amount of work the body has to do to heal the scar,” Krant says. Here’s how:
- Stitches can be used if needed. Often times when you have a cut that is spread apart or deep its always better to have them stitched by a medical professional. Always keep in mind that when the wound or injury is fresh, stitches must be sewn as soon as possible. If you let too much time pass by since the injury, the wound can become contaminated with bacteria, germs, and the doctor will not want to stitch it closed because of the risk of infection. But the wound may start to heal, which can obstruct successful suturing. When having doubts if whether stitches are in order, contact a doctor in a timely manner and let him decide the best treatment for the wound.
- Applying petroleum jelly to the wound and covering it with a non-stick bandage, and alsokeeping the wound moist, can speed up the healing and minimize scarring, says Krant.
- Scar Creams and Ointments – There will always be advertisement for scar creams, don’t fall for them. You may have herd that vitamin E can help with reducing the scarring, but this actually has been proven in high-quality studies (a double-blind, placebo-controlled trail). As a matter of fact, there is no over-the-counter product claiming to prevent scars that has been scientifically shown to significantly improve scarring.
- Massage the wound – Krant claims, that by massaging the scar daily with vitamin E may help promote a less visible scar.
- Avoid the sun – By keeping the scar away from sunlight it can help minimize discoloration.
- Let it heal naturally – When using hydrogen peroxide constantly on a wound it would cause irritation and slow down the healing process. Krant says “Scabs are nature’s biologic dressing, Picking off a scab repeatedly when a wound is trying to heal will slow healing and increase scarring.” So it would be best to not pick on scabs.
- Healing takes time, perhaps a long time. So be patient. The first stage of healing takes three months, followed by the second stage that lasts another three months. One year after the injury the injury has already been formed, but the scar still may change in the following year. “The truth is, that scars never stop changing and improving unless they are keloid scars, which continually worsen unless treated by a physician,” says Krant.