ABC7’s The More in the Morning team spoke with Dr. Michael K. Kim, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon, about wound care and how scars heal.
After suffering an injury, the body’s first step in healing is to stop the bleeding. Your blood coagulates and the body will go through an inflammatory phase where white blood cells fight bacteria, and then the beginnings of scar tissue forms as a scab.
There are a few things you can do to minimize scarring listed below:
- Medicated Creams or Gels - Corticosteroid cream can help prevent scarring and has been shown to reduce the appearance of scars over time.If your scar is itchy or sensitive, antihistamine cream may stop the itch while helping your scar heal.
- Silicone Gel - Silicone gel keeps the skin hydrated and lets it breathe, so scars can soften. Research shows that silicone gel reduces a scar’s texture, color, and height.
- Zinc Supplements - Zinc is a mineral that is important for helping wounds heal. It helps reduce inflammation and generate cell growth, which may help scars heal. More is NOT better.
- Scar Massage - Once a wound has healed, gently massaging the scar may help. It breaks up the collagen building in the tissue underneath. Some types of scars may develop cords, or tight strands of rope-like tissue just under the skin. Massaging and pulling the cords can stretch and relax them, which helps improve the scar’s texture and flatness.
- Injections - Different types of shots can make scars less noticeable. For example, if you have acne scars, fillers such as collagen or fat may even out bumps or indents in the skin. Botox or similar injections can smooth the skin and the appearance of scars. Corticosteroid shots can make scars less visible. But steroid injections may have side effects, such as thinning the skin or changing its color.
- Chemical Peel or Dermabrasion - These procedures can reduce the look of severe scars. They remove the top layers of skin to get rid of surface scars and bring deeper scars closer to the surface. When the skin peels off, the new skin may temporarily be reddish, sore, or swollen. It can take a week or more for that skin to go back to normal.
- Microneedling - Microneedling uses a roller with tiny needles to poke very small holes into your skin’s top layer. This process spurs your skin to make collagen, which plumps your skin and improves the texture of scars.
- Coconut Oil - This tropical oil has several skin benefits. It’s a moisturizer, and early lab tests show it may help wounds heal faster. Plus, it has fatty acids that encourages cell reproduction. One of those fatty acids, monolaurin, has been shown to guard against bacteria. All of these things might help when it comes to shrinking scars.