How to Prevent Scarring

DrSugar Answers: Can I Prevent Scarring?

DrSugar is in the house! This week she explains how best to minimize scars.

DrSugar,
About a month ago, I caught my leg on the corner of a metal daybed, and now have a nasty 3-inch scar below my knee. I have several weddings in the next few months where I wanted to wear a short dress, and was wondering if there is any natural or commercial product that would help the scar fade quickly.
Scared of Scarring

I'm so sorry that you had an injury that has left you with a scar and that you asked this question. Scars are a natural part of the healing process after skin injury. However, various factors can influence how your skin scars. First and foremost, the depth and size of the wound and its location can affect how the scar looks. But, even your age, sex, ethnicity, and genetics can influence how your skin will react and ultimately what the scar will look like. Also, I must point out that scars will never completely go away, but there can be some treatments to minimize their appearance and size, if those are of concern to you. To learn more about scars and different treatments for scars, keep reading!

Keloid scars are a special type of scar that are the result of an overly aggressive healing process. The scar basically ends up extending past the borders of the original injury site. Keloid scars are more common in people who are African-American. The keloid scar tends to be firm and rubbery and can vary in color – from pink to flesh-colored to red to brown. Keloid scars can also be painful or can itch in some people.

Contracture scars are scars which cause tightening of the skin that can impair one’s ability to move. These types of scars are seen typically from skin that has been burned. These scars can affect the deeper layers of the skin and may even go deep enough to affect muscles and nerves. Hypertrophic scars are similar to keloid scars, but are not as extreme. These scars are raised and typically red in color, however they do not extend beyond the initial borders of the injury site.

Treatments for scars will vary based on multiple factors and based upon what type of scar is present. Scar treatments can include: over-the-counter or prescription creams, ointments, or gels, surgical removal or treatment, and injections. Over-the-counter or prescription medications can be used to treat scars that are caused from surgical incisions or other injuries and wounds. In the case of protruding scars, such as keloids or hypertrophic, your doctor may choose to do injections on the scar, typically with some type of steroid medication. Web MD recommends waiting for at least one year before considering surgical options as treatment for scars, as many scars fade and become less noticeable over time. Surgical treatments depend on the particular case and may include: skin grafts, excision, dermabrasion, or laser surgery.

Ultimately, I can't recommend a certain over-the-counter or commercial product for you because I am uncertain of what type of scar you have, so you may want to consult with a physician (primary care physician or dermatologist) for treatment options based on the appearance of your scar. I hope that they will be able to give you recommendations based specifically on what your scar looks like so that you can get the best results possible and feel comfortable wearing your dresses to the weddings you are attending!

Have a question for DrSugar? You can send it to me via private message here, and I will forward it to the good doctor.

DrSugar's posts are for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment recommendations. Click here for more details.

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