Summertime is full of shorts, suntans, and skinned knees. Summertime is also when the majority of scars are formed or are made worse. Injuries can occur anytime throughout the year, yet it is the summer sun that often sets them in place and makes them difficult to fade.
Scar prevention is very important for any scars that you do not want to be prominent and visible for a lifetime. Not all scars can be completely erased or prevented, but there are steps that you can take to reduce the appearance of scar.
Scars occur when the deeper, inner layer of the skin is damaged. A scratch will rarely leave a scar because it only damages the outermost layer of the skin – and this layer of skin replaces itself every 90 days or so. However, if the inner layers of the skin are injured, the damage will leave permanent signs of the injury. Scarring is a natural part of the body’s healing process. Any time the skin is injured it will produce collagen in response to the injury to “plump up” the injury. However, there is often an overproduction of collagen that causes the skin to heal at an uneven rate. This is how scars are formed, but there are still some things that you can do to reduce their visibility.
Sunscreen, sunscreen, and more sunscreen. The sun’s damaging rays will discolor fresh tissues of skin, causing them to appear darker than the surrounding skin. By applying sunscreen daily, and in excess any time you plan on being outside, you are protecting your skin and preventing your scars from becoming permanently darker.
Do not pick at an injury that has scabbed over. This is especially tempting when the injury is in its last stage of healing and the scab becomes itchy. Picking at scabs disrupts the healing process, and it will tear off the skin that has healed making the body once again produce collagen.
Keep your injury moist. In the past it was advised to let a cut “air out,” but it is now well known to dermatologists that keeping the injury covered and coated with a petroleum jelly type product will prevent scarring. After cleaning your injury each day, apply an ointment to keep it moist.
At Medical Dermatology Specialists, we know that your skin is personal to you. Our practice offers a specialized solution for your skin care needs. Call us today.