How to Minimize Scarring After an Injury
Your body has the amazing regenerative ability to repair itself. Unfortunately, the healing process often leaves unsightly scar tissue behind. If your skin has been scraped, burned, or cut, give your body a healing boost with these tips to minimize scarring.
How to Help Skin Injuries Heal
- Keep the injury clean: Wash the wound with warm water and mild soap as soon as possible to flush out germs and debris. Then, do your best to keep dirt, sand, food particles, and other irritants from touching the injury while it heals.
- Apply petroleum jelly: Wounds with scabs take longer to heal and tend to leave a more noticeable scar. Applying petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or antibiotic ointment keeps the wound wet, which helps prevent a scab from forming.
- Keep the injury covered: After cleaning the wound and applying petroleum jelly or ointment, cover it with an adhesive bandage. If your skin is sensitive to adhesives, try a gauze pad with paper tape. Silicone gel sheets may be useful for covering large scrapes, sores, or burns.
- Change your bandage daily: Wound coverings soak up blood and bacteria from the cut or scrape, so it’s important to replace the dressing every day to keep the wound clean and prevent infection. Follow the instructions on the packaging to wash or replace silicone gel sheets.
- Apply sunscreen: Once the wound has healed and closed up, apply sunscreen over the injured area to help prevent brown or red discoloration that sun exposure may cause.
- Apply aloe vera: Help a newly formed scar fade by applying aloe vera up to three times per day. This also has a nice cooling effect.
Things to Avoid That Can Make Scarring Worse
- Vitamin E: It’s a common misconception that applying liquid vitamin E helps scars heal. However, sensitive people may develop a rash or other skin irritation, so it’s best to avoid this method.
- Hydrogen peroxide: While hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic, it can destroy skin cells and inhibit wound recovery. Therefore, you should never use it to clean a wound or treat a scar.
- Leaving cuts uncovered: Many people believe you should let a cut “breathe” during the healing process, but this can inhibit cell growth. That’s why you should keep the wound moist and covered at all times.
- Frequent sun exposure: When you have an open wound, it’s important to protect it from sunlight. If it hasn’t healed enough to apply sunscreen, protect it with a bandage and wear clothing that covers the injured area.
If you’re worried about the appearance of a scar, especially if it was caused by acne, reach out to Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology. Our board-certified dermatologists offer a range of cosmetic and medical skincare services to help you look and feel your best, including Bellafill for treating acne scars. Call our Salt Lake City or South Jordan dermatologist office at (801) 682-4715 or contact us online for more information or to schedule an appointment.