Wounds are unavoidable, whether they’re from scraping your knee to having a routine surgery. However, scars can be avoided. Properly caring for a wound can help prevent it from scarring, which will ultimately keep your skin smooth and clear. While you can’t completely count on the prevention of a scar, it’s important to take the best possible care of a laceration and if necessary, let the professionals do the rest. Here are some simple tips on how to care for your wounds to lessen the potential for scars.
But first, what is a scar?
Good question. Scars come in different forms and vary completely due to the type, depth or severity of the wound. According to Everyday Health, a regular scar, one you might get from a surface-level wound or a fall on the sidewalk, is usually small, thin and flat against the skin. The next type of scar is known as a hypertrophic scar. These are thicker than normal scars, and are more raised and red in color. Very similar to the hypertrophic scar is the keloid scar. These are raised and red as well, but expand beyond the wound itself. Keloid scars are a genetic condition, causing raised skin surrounding the scar to produce an excess of scar tissue. This overproduction is hard to predict and even harder to control, so it is best treated by a dermatologist.
Now, how do I prevent scarring?
- Clean the wound: This is vitally important to prevent infection or the wound from reopening. Cleaning a cut can be as painless as applying a mild soap with water or dousing the wound with a bit of hydrogen peroxide.
- Apply petroleum jelly or an antibacterial gel: According to the American Academy of Dermatology, applying either of these will keep your skin moist. This way, the wound cannot dry out, thus preventing scabbing, which takes longer to heal. If you choose to use petroleum jelly instead of antibacterial gel, be sure to clean the lesion daily and give it air to breathe.
- Keep it covered: Make sure the wound is continually covered by an adhesive bandage. By doing this, the moisture from the previously applied gel will be locked in and the laceration will stay moist. Aside from trapping moisture, this also keeps the wounds protected from the elements or foreign objects that could infect it.
- Don’t get lazy: As your wound heals, don’t forget change the bandage daily, as well as reapply the petroleum jelly or antibacterial gel daily. Staying on top of your wound care will help in a quicker recovery.
My wound has healed, now there’s a scar!
Just because your cut is no longer visible, does not mean you’re done healing. There are still very important tips to follow to get your wounds to heal seamlessly.
- Stay out of the sun: The skin on a scar is incredibly sensitive. Make sure you keep it protected, whether that be by covering it with clothes, bandage or sunscreen. Discoloration can make the scar appear worse than it is.
- Doctor’s orders: If your wound required a doctor’s attention, be sure to ask them about wound care. They will be able to offer specific instructions to care for your wound, especially if stitches were necessary.
- Be patient: Scars can take months or even years to heal, depending on the wound’s severity. If you think you’ve waited long enough for scar-free skin, then it’s time to see your local dermatologist.
Are you fed up with pesky scars that just aren’t seeming to heal? It may be time to see a dermatologist to come up with an individualized treatment plan to help treat your scars. At Knoxville Dermatology Group, our doctors are committed to the best quality care and will always put you first. To make an appointment, visit our website or call us at (865) 690-9467.