How can I prevent scarring?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The best methods for preventing scars vary, depending on the types of scars you want to avoid. For example, to prevent scars caused by acne cysts and nodules, your dermatologist may prescribe medications to treat the acne. To prevent keloid scars if you are prone to them, your doctor may suggest that you avoid getting body piercings and any unnecessary surgeries. Since some skin infections can lead to scarring, your dermatologist may treat infections with antibiotics or other medications.
Mark Sisco, MD
Plastic Surgery
Since there are not many proven therapies that help prevent scars, try some tips that can help reduce the appearance of scars. Learn more from Dr. Mark Sisco on behalf of NorthShore University HealthSystem about scarring.
Tara Whitworth
Unfortunately, some scars, such as surgical scars, cannot be prevented. There are things you can do to help lessen the appearance of a scar. Don’t expose wounds to sunlight for at least a year, as sunlight causes the scars to turn a red or purple color. Keep the wound clean and do not pick at the wound or scab. Once the scabs have healed, and the wound is closed, you can use a scar treatment cream. Use gentle massage to apply the cream, as this will help to flatten out the scar. If you have a scar that has not healed properly or that you are unhappy with, talk to your doctor. You may be a candidate for scar revision.
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
After all surgical procedures a scar is the final product. That is, unfortunately, completely unavoidable. However, scarring can be worsened by poor postoperative care of the incision site. Infections, bleeding, and postsurgical trauma can increase scar formation by increasing the inflammatory process and collagen formation. Scar prevention postoperatively can include multilayer closure with adhesive Steri-Strips on the incision site in order to reapproximate the edges. Post suture scar management may include silicon gel spray or gel sheeting as well as small amounts of Kenalog (steroid injection) or possible use of vitamin E directly on the developing immature scar.
Daniel Kapp
Daniel Kapp on behalf of MDLIVE
Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
The best way to prevent scars are to use scar massage. The process of massaging the scar with a circular motion gently until it becomes red results in laying collagen fibers in a most favorable position. Additionally, the use of silicone sheeting has been proven clinically to reduce scarring. There are several different options with regard to silicone application to the scar. Typically the negative charge in the silicone results in rearrangement of the collagen fibers and reducing the scars.
Dr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Basic wound healing is the best prevention. Proper healing requires a slightly moist environment in which the cells can replicate and connect to each other properly. Clean the wound twice a day with soap and water, apply an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin or Neosporin), and cover it with a bandage. And never pick or scratch at a scab. This sounds obvious, but people do it all the time. By pulling off the skin, you are actually ripping off the dermis, and that leads to a scar. By the way, the old wives' tale of putting vitamin E on a scar or a scab is just that. How a wound heals is what generates a scar, and moisturizing the skin after the fact won't do too much in the way of prevention. It's not the vitamin E but the oily texture that helps.
Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

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Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman's Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin

What if a leading dermatologist just happened to be your best friend and you could ask her anything? DR. ELLEN MARMUR, a world-renowned New York City dermatologist, answers all your questions with...

Continue Learning about Skin Injury

Skin Injury

Skin Injury

Not all skin injuries are cuts and scrapes. Heat, friction and pressure can cause skin injuries like burns, sunburn and blisters. A burn is a traumatic skin injury caused by a heat source like scalding liquid or a hot pot, a radia...

tion source like the suns rays, an electrical source like open wiring or a chemical source like acid. Depending on the severity of the burn, treatment can include wound care and pain management, skin grafting, intravenous fluids or cosmetic surgery. Some burns can form blisters, which actually act as a protective, fluid-filled buffer for damaged skin. Blisters also form from skin conditions like eczema and friction sources like ill-fitting shoes. Keeping the area clean with antibiotics and a dressing or bandage is usually enough to heal a blister.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.