Burn survivors often become frustrated when they have scarring issues after their initial burn injury has been healed. A scar formed on the area of the source of the burn, also known as Hypertrophic burn scars, can limit the survivor’s ability and change the body image.
Scars though not variable from person to person, it becomes very tough to identify which person will develop a scar out of the burn.
Typically, it is seen that scars that heal within two weeks have no scarring issues. However, severe burns generally take more than two weeks and, healing around a month, have an excellent probability of forming scars. Unfortunately, one should avoid burn injuries at any possible rate and cannot prevent accidents. So one must know how to prevent burn scars when they have one.
A scar will form thick and discolored skin raised from the damaged skin cells. The damaged skin cells happen when someone faces a burn injury or when their cell dies. These damaged skin cells or dead cells are repaired or replaced with other cells. Sometimes the burn scar may require skin grafting to eliminate it.
When the body repairs these damaged cells, the protein in the human body forms collagen, which helps repair the damaged cells and thus forms a scar. Let us know in detail about the burn scar.
Cause of Scar Formation
Scarring is often related to the age group, intensity, location of the burn, and ethnicity; as said earlier, scar forms when the body produces a protein called collagen to repair the damaged cells of the burnt area. The collagen fibers produced by the body are laid down in the burned area decently.
However, in hypertrophic scars, the collagen fibers are disorganized, which is the main reason for giving the new skin or the scar a different look and texture than the actual body texture.
The healing process of a scar takes a long time and usually develops within the first few months after a burn injury. The peaks of a scar appear within the first six months and then again will resolve and mature in the next six to nine months. The scar will fade away with its color and become flatter, less sensitive, and softer.
What Are Hypertrophic Scars
Hypertrophic scars form when a person faces severe burns. It can be concluded in this way
It stays in the area of the original burn injury
it can develop during the first few weeks after the injury has occurred
forms with a deep red to purple color appearance.
the raised scars appear on the surface of the skin
it is warm to touch, a lot itchy, and super hypersensitive
hypertrophic scars are very prominent and can be easily noticeable when formed around the joints and other areas when the skin tension happens, and the movements are high.
Problems Faced From Hypertrophic Scars
One can face some common problems when one faces hypertrophic scars.
These types of scars occur in any joint then, and they can reduce your range of motion and ability to move freely. This condition is often known as contracture.
People who have visible scars feel self-conscious and try to avoid any social situations. It often causes depression and isolation, and most importantly, it lowers the quality of life.
Scars can be dry in their matured form, leading to cracking or breakdown of the skin in that area.
They are susceptible when coming into contact with the sun, especially with chemicals. So, if you are a chemist and have a scar, then avoid joining your work for a few months since it can cause you severe itching and other complications.
This type of scar affects the ability to move your joints. If it happens on your legs, it can be challenging to do squats, sit, climb stairs, or walk. Moreover, if the contracture scars involve your arms and trunk, it can put you in worse situations.
It will be tough for you to groom, dress, bathe, eat, and work with your limbs. In severe contractures, the scars formed are unavoidable, but you can prevent them with some rehabilitation program. You can try
Stretching your body at least 6-7 times a day. You can make it easier by moisturizing your scars as recommended by your doctor.
Your therapist can ask you to cast or split to stretch your body and position your scars. After using your cast, or split, you need to give reviews to your therapist if it is painful or causes skin irritation.
It would be best if you try to do s much as possible and get dressed and self groomed. However, it can take a long time to recover and get habituated to this, but it will not restrict your movements somewhat. It will improve, and you will be able to take care of yourself.
When collagen is used by the body to heal the skin, it traps the nerve endings and causes itching. A burn survivor can notice that their oil glands have been destroyed and their skin is getting too dry. In minor first-degree burns, the oil glands are not destroyed, but in fourth-degree burns, the oil glands get wholly damaged and thus lead to dry skin.
Some patients face severe itching after their burns. Doctors often recommend moisturizers for not to let the skin get too dry. Moisturizers with high water content can soak in the skin layers faster and need to be applied frequently.
- How to choose your moisturizers?
Remember that moisturizers in tubes are generally thicker and have less water than those in a bottle. However, while you purchase moisturizer for yourself, make sure you approve it from your doctor, and you must not be allergic to it.
Burn survivors must avoid their healing scars coming in contact with the sunlight. The scars, which are still discolored and have not reached their mature stage when coming into contact with the sunlight, can cause serious complications. However, one cannot stay isolated in the house.
If you got out in the sunlight, then it is highly recommended to:
sort out your work early in the morning, before sunrise, or late evening when the sunset.
Apply sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30, or wear some protective clothing from sunlight.
Apply your sunscreen frequently every couple of hours.
Other Types Of Burn Scars
The severity of a burn depends on how long the person was exposed to the heat source and the heat intensity. Depending on these two factors, others can be several burn scar types.
The scars are often classified based on the area of effect of the burn on the skin.
First Degree Burns
This type of burn often damages the outer layer of the skin since the heat source is not so severe that it can penetrate only the top few layers of the skin or the epidermis. The minor first-degree burns often cause redness and pain, and their healing time is generally six to eight days. Most importantly, these burns do not form any scar on the skin.
Second Degree Burns
The second-degree burn can affect the epidermis and the layer hidden under the top layer or dermis. This type of burn causes pain, redness, and severe blisters on the injured area.
The healing process starts within a few weeks, and people affected by these burns need emergency medical care to prevent infection. Since the burn injury is severe, it has the probability of forming a scar.
Full-thickness burns are the most severe burn, and the body temperature of the injured person needs to be cooled down immediately. Depending on the heat source, the burn is often referred to as a fourth-degree burn.
This burn damage is more significant than first-degree and second-degree burns damage. It not only affects the first two layers of the skin (both the epidermis and dermis) but also damages the bones and tendons, which further affect the never endings. If the person is not given protective clothing, it can result in immediate death.
The burn survivor can notice that the skin turns into white or black color due to the severity of the burn injury, and the healing process takes a long time to start. In this type of burn, the person will develop a scar.
The scar developed is categorized by the type of burns and their effect on the skin.
Hypertrophic Burn Scars
They appear red or purple and form raised scars above the skin.
This type of scar contractures formed due to second-degree burns or third-degree burns. It often restricts the regular movements of the skin and muscles. Also, it tightens the tendons and decreases the range of motion.
It forms a shiny and hairless bump on the skin.
How To Prevent Burn Scars
You can prevent scarring through several methods. However, though not applicable, one should always avoid any susceptible accident-prone situations.
After a burn incident, to prevent scarring, a person needs to:
covers the burn with some nonsticky bandage. It should be held in the burnt place with the help of gauze
and apply antibiotic ointment to avoid infections. It would be best to use some sterilized applicator to prevent infection and minimize scars
contact medical care immediately when the wound healing is not taking place.
To prevent post-burn scars, the survivor needs to:
stretch the skin of the burned area for a few minutes every day. It will prevent the skin from sticking together
do not take any action on your own on any blisters. Please wait for the blisters to burst open, and when it does, make sure to cut the dead skin from the doctor,
cover the damaged skin with some protective clothing or apply some sunscreen for the first few months.
However, make regular appointments with your doctor to ensure that the burn is healing. The doctors will recommend all the necessary things to prevent scarring.
How To Get Rid Of Burn Scars
A first-degree burn does to implant any scar on the skin. So, it can easily prevent minor burn scars. But if third-degree burns cause the burn, you cannot prevent the burn from developing a scar.
In this case, you can adopt some methods to get rid of the burn scars.
1. Use Of Moisturizers
Burn scars from constant itchiness. It leads to dry and itchy skin. It can happen due to burns impairing or destroying the oil glands of the affected area.
However, the moisturizers and emollients can help you deal with this itching of burn injuries or burn scars. While purchasing your moisturizers, it would be best if you do not get yourself fragranced creams.
You should gently apply it over the dehydration burns to let the skin stay hydrated. When the scar becomes more fragile, a little pressure can be applied while putting the moisturizer. It will help to prevent your scar stiffness and loosen up the area. Most importantly, it will not block your range of motion.
2. Silicon Gel Sheets
Silicone gel sheets are fragile sheets of medical-grade silicone worn over the skin to reduce burn scars. These silicone gel sheets are used for more severe burns over a more extended period. Also, they are an excellent know option for non-surgical skin healing.
However, silicone gel comes in different forms and has not proven itself to reduce the thickness of burns. It can very offer pain relief and itching free healthy skin. Moreover, this sheet is proper wound care since it can be used over the scars causing stiffness and blocking your movements.
Get the maximum benefits out of silicon, get sheets, and use it over the skin for at least a year. While wearing the silicone sheet, it would be best to keep your skin clean to avoid irritation, infection, or skin rashes. Moreover, while wearing a silicone sheet, make sure not to use it over any unhealed skin or with any antibiotic ointment.
These sheets are widely used for burn treatment since they do not have allergic reactions to scar tissue. Even after this, if you start developing any reaction over your skin, stop using this sheet immediately and book an appointment with your health care provider.
3. Message Therapy
Message therapy is one of the most used methods to reduce pain, itchiness, and skin sensitivity, primarily from third-degree burns scars. In addition to this, it can also help reduce the bumpiness of your scar.
Message therapy involves manipulating the scar tissue which lies under your skin grafts. So, it can easily lessen the tightness and blockage of movements caused by minor burns. However, if you have trouble moving the affected areas, you must get yourself an adequately administered massage therapy.
Different techniques are used in the burn scars in this therapy, including skin rolling, stretching, stroking, and kneading. Your health care provider will give you the proper treatment to repair the muscle and tissue damage caused by the second-degree burn.
Though your therapist will suggest the techniques to use at home, do not massage over the fragile skin graft that is not mature enough or maybe still infected.
4. Pressure Therapy
Pressure garment therapy has been in use by humanity for decades. Since this was the first treatment option available for hypertrophic scar management, pressure garments therapy was the most widespread method.
Scars on the face are treated by applying pressure on the face with the help of a transparent face mask. It includes pressure garments or elastic garments, which are worn to apply pressure on the skin grafts for scar management. It is recommended to use pressure garments therapy for at least a year so that the user gets the full benefits of this therapy. However, it would be best if you do not wear this garment for 20 hours a day. Though it is beneficial for scar treatments, it also has some complications.
Wearing these compression garments can be very uncomfortable, which can further cause blisters, especially in the hot and humid climate.
The compression garments used in this therapy often cause overheating, wound breakdown, and itchiness.
This therapy starts when you are hospitalized and will continue at your home.
5. Steroid Injections
The steroid injections are mainly used for treating keloid scars. They are the smooth, thick, raised, and rounded scars often spread out of the burnt area. Corticosteroids, steroids, are injected into the scar, which shrinks them to the level of the body skin. Moreover, it helps to lessen the pain and itchiness, which are generally associated with burn scars.
However, this injection can cause some side effects. It can cause skin discoloration and thinness. Even allergic reactions to steroids are widespread. You must not use steroid at home, and it is strictly used in hospitals or clinics.
6. Laser Therapy
Laser treatments are not used for minor first-degree burns damage. They are used to relieve discomfort and tightness. Laser therapy can also promote healing from burn scars and smooth the scar and lower their redness.
Different kinds of laser treatments are used to treat burn scars. They include pulse-dyed laser, CO2 laser, Q-switched laser, and fractional laser.
When you have a laser treatment, make sure to avoid sunlight, and you must follow the post-laser treatments instruction given by your health care provider. However, there can be some side effects due to laser therapy.
formation of new scars
So, if you do not want to go for laser therapy, you must discuss it with your doctor pre-hand.
7. Surgical Treatments
Surgery is the last option for scars from burns. It is generally used for extensive area burns on skins, significantly seriously damaged, tight skin, and restricted movement.
1. Skin Graft
In skin graft surgery, a thin piece of skin is taken from other body parts and replaced with scarred skin. Through his surgery, you will be able to move freely, and other will be no blockage of movement due to scar formation.
2. Skin Flap
It is very similar to skin grafting, but the significant difference is that the skin is taken from some healthy body parts, their blood supply. The fat, muscles, and blood vessels are also taken with the skin. This type of surgery is used when the scarred skin is not getting any blood supply.
3. Z Plasty
A Z-shaped incision is made to the burn scar in this surgical procedure. Due to this incision, the flexibility remains, and it does not tighten the skin. The scars fade slowly due to this surgery and help in speedy recovery.
The burn scar look is determined by the severity of the burn and how to speed your treatment. However, you can still use some natural remedies to remove the scar from your body. Aloe vera is a perfect option for your skin. Applying this can let your skin heals faster and provide you with better and normal skin.
However, you should still look out for how to prevent burn scars and avoid them at any cost. Since first-degree burns do not form any scar, if the scar is formed from second or third-degree burns, then you will have to reduce the scar. Since it causes skin discoloration, you may need plastic surgery to hide the large burn scars.
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