How to help a wound heal without scarring

Unless you’re a Hollywood villain or a pirate, the prospect of being scarred is pretty unappealing.

Scars are the by-product of injuries and wounds. They can be unsightly, continue to cause pain and some can even limit your movement.

There are ways to minimise the size of scars and rehabilitate them so your range of motion returns.

What causes scarring?

When the body’s tissue is impacted by surgery, infection, injury or radiation,  it creates collagen or scar tissue as a repair mechanism.

There are a range of factors that influence how the scar tissue grows and how visible it is. These include the severity of the injury; the size; depth and location of the wound; skin colour; ethnicity; the technique used to repair the wound; and the person’s age, weight and health.

If there are any complications during the healing process, like infection, inflammation, bleeding or delayed healing, then the scar tissue can become more noticeable.

Tips to minimise the risk of scarring

If a wound requires stitches, this will be vital in minimising the scar you eventually carry.

Letting a wound heal naturally when it requires stitches will likely result in a pronounced scar because of the volume of collagen used by the body to heal the open cut.

Keeping the wound moist with substances like petroleum jelly and covering it with a non-stick bandage can assist the healing process and reduce the size of the scar. Take those steps, avoid the sun, keep the wound clean and you should come through the injury with minimal scarring.

Don’t waste your money on over-the-counter scar minimising products, as research has shown they do next to nothing to impact the size of the scar.

Why do wounds take longer to heal as we get older?

The healing process is one of the more complex activities our body has to undertake.

Imagine your skin cells are the workers that are rebuilding your body, while your immune cells oversee the operations and direct traffic.

As we get older, these two cells communicate with each other at a slower rate, which makes the healing process slower as well.

Can massage therapy assist with wounds and scarring?

Once the wound is healed and you are left with scar tissue, there are options to reduce the size of the scar. Laser therapy can improve the appearance of scars but this is not a cheap treatment and comes with significant risks.

A more affordable option is massage therapy, but don’t expect this treatment to make your scar vanish. What this treatment does is improve the mobility of the impacted area, giving better motion, less stiffness and improving sensory impairments that may have come along with the scar tissue.

The best way to treat a wound and minimise scarring is to have it stitched if necessary, keep it clean and avoid infection. If in doubt about the severity of a wound, seek immediate medical attention.

Category: HealthWellness

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Article by: Defence Health