How to care for existing scars

Exposure – Scars, in particular new scars, should not be exposed to UV light and extreme temperatures (intense sunshine, sunbeds, saunas and extreme cold).

Chemicals – Scars can be particularly sensitive to chemical ingredients such as those contained in detergents, perfumes, herbal or botanical extracts.

Clothing – Tight clothing should also be avoided, to prevent irritation and further injuring to the scar tissue.

Activities – Exercises or activities that cause tension on your scar should be avoided so your scar may heal without further disruption.

 

How to avoid abnormal scars

It is important to remember that a wound does not become a scar until the skin has completely healed. Until that point a clean, warm, moist environment should be maintained and consultation should be sought from your health professional should you have concerns.

The main principles of wound management for optimum scarring include the following:

Defining the cause of the wound – in most cases this is obvious, but in some cases this may prove more difficult – for example, defining a pressure ulcer from a diabetic ulcer or ulceration due to a reduction in peripheral blood supply.

Control factors affecting healing – some of these factors are defined more clearly below, but should also include the health of the tissue surrounding the wound, infection risk, blood sugar management, medication interactions etc.

Select the appropriate dressings – the type of dressing chosen should be dependent on factors such as the amount of dead tissue involved with the wound, the amount of moisture or exudates being produced by the wound, signs of infection, the type of wound and current stage of wound healing.

Plan for management – if the wound healing aim is not being achieved, it is important that you are under direct supervision of your healthcare professional who has the clinical knowledge and skills to manage each individual wound scenario.