Injuries and surgery: how to take good care of scars


to meA skin tumor swelling on the face or body, an accident or injury that requires stitches, surgical intervention … Wounds leave marks on our skin, and we generally want these scars to heal quickly and be as invisible as possible.

The majority of them are formed within the first six months after infection. If we want to minimize the consequences, we must first take care of scarring. This complex process consists of three main phases: inflammation, reproduction, and remodeling. It is regulated by specific chemicals that act on the different layers of the skin.

It is possible to intervene at every stage of healing to promote healing and reduce consequences. but how ?

inflammation stage

This stage occurs immediately after infection. It kills bacteria and improves blood flow to the wound.

Killing bacteria is also the primary goal of wound cleaning and disinfection. Indeed, if microbes penetrate the body, the quality of healing can change. In order to eliminate bacteria (and their spores) in particular, the patient’s skin is disinfected prior to surgery. But not all wounds are “programmed”. What do you do if you accidentally cut yourself?

Read alsoNew cancer miraclesIn this case, cleaning must be done within two hours of the accident. This step is essential for good healing. After a fall to the ground, for example, it is important not to leave dirt inside the wound, even if that means scrubbing it with soap and water.

An application of povidone-iodine (a water-soluble chemical compound of iodine and polyvinylpyrrolidone, sold under the brand name Betadine) will also help reduce the risk of bacterial reactivation.

In the event of an infection, our body naturally produces a substance with antiseptic properties, hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂). Unfortunately, the external application of hydrogen peroxide can slow wound healing. Only the use of weak antiseptic solutions, containing for example silver, can have a positive effect on the formation of scars. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on this matter.

propagation stage

During this phase, there is a proliferation of vascular cells, epidermal cells, and fibroblasts (collagen-producing cells located in connective tissues, which serve as a “support” for other tissues). These cause scar tissue to contract which can “wrinkle” the skin.

Collagen also plays a role in the appearance of scars. This protein, the most abundant in the body, particularly contributes to the firmness of the skin. They are constantly produced and broken down by our bodies. This can affect the appearance of the wound for at least six months after the scar forms.

Once the redness subsides, the scars tend to be white and somewhat shiny.

Reconstruction phase

The formation of hypertrophic scars (which rise above the level of the skin but slowly regress) or keloid scars (which extend beyond the site of injury and do not retract later) is often genetically determined. In people who develop these scars during the remodeling phase, the signal to stop collagen production within the wound is disrupted.

The occurrence of this type of scarring is related in part to the type of injury sustained and the care given.

For clean, uninfected wounds, the use of a hydrogel (a polymer that retains moisture and does not dissolve) can speed healing. In fact, when the wound is kept moist, the proliferation of superficial skin cells is enhanced. On the other hand, under the hard shell, their growth slows down.

Gels containing antiseptics and preservatives should be avoided, not only in case of allergies, but also because antiseptics can hinder healing. For example, it is best to use a hydrogel that is suitable for application to the eye.

Silicone bandage

You should also know that there is an intimate relationship between blood vessels and fibroblasts that produce collagen. As a result, scars that look red (so they’re irrigated hard by blood vessels) and that itch are likely to get larger, thus leaving larger marks.

In a situation like this, keeping the scar covered to improve hydration can make all the difference. This is why it is advisable to cover the scar with a silicone and hydrogel pad for as many hours as possible.

If you are prone to scarring, consult your pharmacist, who can advise you on hydrogel formulations that you can use daily, once a day, alternating weeks with use and weeks without application. Use this product under a silicone pad to help reduce scarring. Your doctor may also suggest a bleaching cream.

Read alsoThe declared revolution of cancer-killing virusesA dermatologist equipped with a vascular laser (a tool that targets abnormal blood vessels in the skin to reduce redness) can also help, especially during the early stages of a scar.

Note that keeping the scar moist with oils is more difficult than a silicone bandage, but it does help reduce excess scarring, which is sometimes called “scarring”.

Finally, it is important to avoid exposing the scar excessively to sunlight. It happens that scars become much darker than the rest of the skin, and ultraviolet radiation is the main avoidable factor regarding this risk.

Wound healing is a complex process. However, do not hesitate to ask your doctor, pharmacist or dermatologist for advice: they will be able to provide you with the most appropriate advice for the specificity of your injury!

* Michael Freeman Associate Professor of Dermatology at Bond Private University in Robina, Australia.


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