Massage, Preventing and Treating Scar Tissue
Preventing and Treating Scar Tissue
Though there is no way to entirely get rid of scar tissue aside from avoiding a skin injury, there are ways to minimize its appearance both while the wound is healing and after a scar has formed. Except for keloid scars, most scars will fade on their own even without treatment.
While the wound is healing:
Covering the wound with a bandage — This is particularly important before going out in the sun, since UV rays can cause the newly formed tissue to get discolored and may slow down the healing process.
Cleaning wounds properly — Doctors recommend cleaning a wound with a gentle soap and lukewarm water. Cleaning with hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, or iodine can all damage the newly forming cells and lead to a more noticeable scar.
Soothing gels — Rubbing aloe vera gel on the skin after the wound has closed can help lessen redness. Vitamin E gels are not recommended, since studies show that they are not very effective are minimizing scars.
Anti-itch cream — This can help with the urge to scratch or touch the healing wound, which could irritate it and make a more noticeable scar.
Pressure bandages — Some doctors say that putting a specific type of pressure bandage on a wound can help prevent the appearance of elevated scars since it pushes the collagen down. There are several different brand name versions of these bandages, which are often called scar therapy bandages or scar sheets.
Ways to minimize scars after they form:
Massage — Massaging a scar with lotion or a doctor-recommended gel can help fade many types of scars. This is particularly recommended for keloid scars, since this can keep them from getting sensitive and painful, and can help break down some of the built-up collagen.
Injections — Steroid injections may help with hypertrophic or keloid scars, and atrophic scars can sometimes be filled in with collagen injections. One downside to this type of treatment is that it is almost always temporary, and has to be repeated regularly.
Skin resurfacing — This can be done with lasers or with equipment that works like very fine sandpaper in a procedure called dermabrasion.
Cryotherapy — This is a technique of freezing the scar, and can reduce the appearance of keloid and hypertrophic scars.
In extreme cases, a doctor might recommend surgery. Though surgery can’t get rid of a scar, it can make it less noticeable. Surgery is not recommended for hypertrophic or keloid scars though, since it can make them worse. Another type of treatment for severe scars is radiation therapy, which can sometimes reduce keloid and hypertrophic scars.