Very few of us make it through life without some scars. They are part of being alive! But do we really need to scar so badly, so often? Some scars can be preventable with correct wound care, leaving our natural skin tone, texture and general healthy appearance intact.
Scars are natures way of healing a wound. It is therefore impossible to completely avoid scarring. Some people scar more easily than others because their skin reacts differently to an injury. Scars also vary depending on the type of wound. Wounds that are wide and deep are more likely to cause bigger scars.
There are some occasions when you need to get medical attention for a wound. If the wound is very deep or covers a large area then you need to see a doctor. You may require surgical stitches to help hold the wound together as it heals. You may also have severed important structures like tendons and ligaments, and this needs to be investigated.
Scars are often much worse when a wound has become infected. This involves the surrounding tissue and so it is not surprising that the wound takes up a greater surface area. Here are some top tips that you can follow to minimise scarring.
Advice to prevent scarring
- The prevention of infection is vital and so wound cleanliness is essential. Bleeding will naturally clean the wound so just rest a clean cloth over the wound until it has finished bleeding. Then wash your hands before you go anywhere near the wound – you could transfer germs to the site. Clean the wound carefully and gently with a mild disinfectant or simply with some soap and water. It is not necessary to use alcohol or strong disinfectant on a wound.
- Dry the wound with a dry bandage, gently tapping it. It is best to not use cotton wool because it leaves fibres in the wound which can interfere with healing.
- Try to protect the new wound from bright sunlight while it is healing. To do this you could cover the wound with a bandage but do not wrap too tightly. It is important to protect the wound from infections as it is healing so it needs to be shielded from the environment. Change dressings every day. If you notice that your bandage is wet you should change it more often.
- Wounds heal better when the circulation is good. To encourage this you could gently massage the area in a circular motion. The blood will bring all the substances needed to repair and fight infection to the wounded area. This will accelerate the healing process.
- Scabs are nature’s way of healing so do not pick at a scab. Repeated picking makes an even bigger scar.
- Rose hip oil is very useful for the healing process. It should be applied to the wound every day for as long as it takes for it to heal over.
- Pharmacies stock a range of healing creams which can help. Pharmacists can also offer you some great advice on wound care, so ask them any questions you might have.
- Diet can play an essential part in proper wound healing. If your diet is unbalanced you will lack the necessary nutrients for the healing process.
The recommendations here are only for minor cuts and abrasions. If you have a deep or serious wound, or if the bleeding does not stop for several minutes, go immediately to your local Accident and Emergency Department.
Some wounds are so small and shallow that they may not leave any scar at all – it all depends on your skin type. Some of us have skin that heals more quickly and others have skin that takes a while to heal.
The above advice will help to prevent infections in your wound and these are a major cause of scarring. If you think that your wound is infected you should see your doctor because you may need antibiotics. If you have any questions, consult a medical professional.
If you have already got a scar that is bothering you then you should see your doctor because there are plenty of medical remedies.