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Skin care for scars encompasses both the prevention of new scars and treatment of existing ones. Preventing a scar after a wound is incurred is not guaranteed, but the chances can be improved by taking care to clean the wound and treat it properly during healing. After a wound has healed, the appearance of superficial scars can sometimes be reduced by massaging the skin around them, shielding them from the sun, or treating the area with a silicon sheet. More severe or noticeable scars might be treatable by more drastic cosmetic procedures such as laser treatments, dermabrasion, or injections.
The starting point of all skin care for scars is carefully addressing new wounds with the goal of preventing a scar from forming. First, the wound needs to be thoroughly flushed with water to remove debris, and then it should be cleansed with water and a very mild soap. Harsh cleansers or strong disinfectants that might irritate the skin should be avoided. Deep wounds that require stitches should be attended to by a medical professional.
Mild cuts and scrapes need to remain moist to help prevent scars from developing. The best bet in skin care for scars is to keep the wound covered with a sterile bandage. Once the wound starts to heal, it should be treated with petroleum jelly twice daily when the bandages are changed to keep the developing scab moist. Scar prevention creams may or may not live up to their advertising claims, so the choice to apply one depends on personal preference and willingness to purchase a product that might not work as described. Using these creams may not have particularly dramatic effects, but they won't have a negative impact either so it might be worth the gamble.
Makeup can be used to conceal or reduce the appearance of scars. This type of skin care for scars is the most temporary since makeup will, of course, wash off, but makeup can be useful for small scars or special occasions. A thick concealer in a contrasting tone to the scar will cover most effectively. For example, a reddish scar should be treated with a green tinted concealer to cancel out the redness. Then, a foundation that matches the individual skin tone can be applied and the redness will be less likely to show through.
If a scar has already formed, there are still some skin care options available to diminish its appearance. Some scars can become less visible by massaging the skin around them a few times a day. Obviously if the wound is still open or sore, this is probably not the best option. Silicon gel sheets are available over the counter in most drug stores, and can help reduce the appearance of scars if applied faithfully every day for several weeks. Sunscreen is another important element of skin care for scars because it helps slow hyperpigmentation caused by sunlight that can darken scars and make them appear more obvious.
Remnants of wounds that are exceptionally noticeable may require more extreme forms of skin care for scars. Some people look to laser treatments or dermabrasion to remove the top layer of skin and diminish the look of scars, especially those that are raised. Injections of collagen or steroids can be used to plump sunken scars and flatten raised scars, respectively, but usually require multiple treatments since the effects may not be permanent.