29 December 2022

Scar Care and Prevention

5 min read


Let's talk about this topic that affects everyone of all ages!



First Phase

In the first phase after a wound or surgical cut, the wound should be disinfected and maintained, as instructed by a doctor or nurse. Often, the wound needs to be covered with a dressing in order to prevent invading microorganisms and potential infection, or simply washed with products of a pH suitable for the skin and disinfected.


Second Phase


When the crust falls off, there begins the second phase of the healing process. Unfortunately, this is an area that has been somewhat abandoned by science. There are no drugs for scar prevention and treatment, and the products mentioned below also do not have as systematic or robust studies as we would like.

It is also important to talk about the variability between individuals and racially. We all know people who heal quickly, while others tend to take longer. For example, more melanized skins, such as Fitzpatrick IV-VI, incur a higher risk of hyper pigmentation in scars, having exactly the same care as a skin of a lower phototype.

We can divide most cosmetic products on the market that aim to accelerate healing into two major groups: moisturizing creams with some components that help with skin healing, and silicone gels.


Fattier creams

Starting with the first group, these creams are usually fattier creams, which even allow a massage to be done on the wound that is already closed, avoiding keloids (growth of scar tissue in excess, forming "bumps" on the skin). This massage should be done as soon as possible, at least once a day, in order to stimulate the synthesis of elastic fibers such as collagen and elastin by cells called fibroblasts. Massage promotes healing because it increases the blood supply to the area that is being massaged. The more the wound that is already closed is stimulated, the greater the blood supply and the greater the renewal of tissue. These creams are perfect for this situation because they are fatty enough to make the fingers "glide" during the massage, and they also have ingredients that favor healing such as: panthenol, madecassoside, ectoin, betaine or humectant ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin or urea.




The second class of products includes ointments (or even pacthes) of silicones that have an occlusive action. The way these products act is to prevent trans epidermal water loss so quickly, maintaining in the skin its natural moisturizing factors and creating the ideal environment for competent healing. Some preliminary and weakly robust studies indicate that these products can prevent hypertrophic scarring or the formation of keloids.



Sun Protection

So let's get to the last pillar of care you should have with wounds/sutures: sun protection. This step is rarely talked about or thought about, but it is extremely important that there is extra care for sun protection during the healing process and preferably beyond.


While the healing process is taking place, the skin is more susceptible to permanent hyperpigmentation. The solution to the problem should be to cover the area as well as possible and to use sun protection. In these situations, it is recommended to use a sunscreen of the broadest possible spectrum, preferably opaque (hence the recommendation of mineral filters), even to allow a control of application in the area and a visual check. However, two points should be reinforced: just because the sunscreen is mineral and we still see white, does not mean that it is not necessary to reapply constantly (at least every 2/2h during sun exposure) and, this indication does not exclude all other types of filters, the so-called chemical or organic.

There is no evidence that the use of these filters is harmful to scars. Additionally, opting for a more pasty texture such as sticks, for example, can help reinforce the protection of a scar.



Spray Healers

Additionally, spray healers can be handy for when the scar cannot yet be manipulated or the scab has not yet fallen off. These are excellent products and are moisturizers similar to the first creams mentioned, but in spray format and more watery, much less fatty.


All these tips will help a recent scar or suture, in the case of older and whitish scars, or even scars that present "depressions" in the skin, as is the case of acne scars, do not dispense with a visit to a dermatologist, because there are solutions to improve the appearance of some older scars.

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