No matter how careful we are, accidents inevitably happen. Whether you’re preparing food, gardening, doing sports and leisure activities – life in general can result to injuries. And with injuries, scars form. It’s a natural part of the healing process.
The size of the scar will depend on the severity of the injury and how well it heals. Shallow cuts and wounds may only affect the top layer of the skin, but scrapes may leave some scars. The appearance of the scar will also depend on how well the wound healed. Scars from surgery or those over joints like the knees and elbows are difficult to avoid, but scars caused by minor cuts and scrapes will become less noticeable over time and when properly healed.
Here are some ways to prevent scars from minor, everyday injuries:
Avoid getting injured.
The best way to prevent scars is by taking precautions. Be careful when handling things that can injure you. Wear proper safety equipment when being physically active, such as knee and elbow pads. Wear a helmet when you ride a motorcycle or a bike, and wear your seatbelts when driving.
Treat injuries right away.
Whenever you get cuts and scrapes, it’s always a good idea to treat it right away with basic first aid. Serious or large wounds may need stitches and require the attention of a medical personnel.
Keep your injury clean.
Gently wash the injured area with mild soap and water to keep out dirt, debris, and germs. Leaving these things out may cause an ugly scar on your skin, not to mention potential infections. Not cleaning it out may extend the inflammation period, which enhances the formation of scars. You don’t need to use anti-bacterial ointments as long as the wound is cleaned up daily.
Use petroleum jelly.
Apply petroleum jelly to your wound to keep it moist. Doing this prevents the wound from drying out and forming a scab, and wounds with scabs take longer time to heal. Keeping the injured skin moist reduces the chance of getting a scar that is too large, deep, or itchy.
Cover your wound.
After applying petroleum jelly, keep your cut or scrape covered with a bandage to protect it from infections or getting injured once again. If the scrape is too large or you got sores, burns or persistent redness, a hydrogel or a silicone gel sheet is a better alternative for covering the wound.
Change your bandage daily.
Changing your bandage daily can help keep your wound clean while it heals. It also allows you to monitor your healing daily. If your skin is allergic or sensitive to adhesives, use a non-adhesive gauze pad with paper tape. If you will be using silicone gel or hydrogel sheets, follow the instructions on the label for changing the sheets.
Avoid picking on your scabs.
Leave your scabs alone. Healing wounds and scrapes may itch, but avoid the temptation to scratch them and pick on them. Scratching and picking at the scab causes more irritation, inflammation, and bleeding. Touching and scratching can also introduce bacteria that can cause infections.
Apply sunscreen to the scar after it has healed.
As much as possible, keep the scar away from sunlight to help minimize discoloration. But if you do need to get out under the sun, use sunscreen to help reduce red or brown discoloration and help the scar fade faster. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply frequently.
See a doctor for deep or wide cuts.
If your wound is deep or wide, see a doctor. Cuts that are spread apart or are too deep often heal better when stitched by a medical professional. Remember, the stitches must be sewn as soon as possible while the injury is still fresh. If too much time passes, the wound may become contaminated with different kinds of bacteria and germs, and the doctor may not close it due to threat of infection. Also, some of the wound might have healed, which will hinder successful suturing. It will also leave an ugly scar after it has healed.