How to Prevent Burn Scars: 7 Effective Ways

Burn survivors often become frustrated when they have scarring issues after their initial burn injury has healed. A scar formed on the area of the source of the burn, also known as a hypertrophic burn scar1, can limit the survivor’s ability and change the body image.

Scars have a tendency of staying, and sometimes the hundreds of things you try won’t work, but don’t give up! Read on to know how to prevent burn scars2 for better healing.

How to Prevent Burn Scars?

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.3

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 discoloured 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 cells or dead cells are repaired or replaced with other cells, and 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 cells4 and thus forms a scar. Let us know in detail about the burn scar.

Causes 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 fibres produced by the body are laid down in the burned area decently.

However, in hypertrophic scars5, the collagen fibres 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 colour and become flatter, less sensitive, and softer.

7 Ways to Prevent Burn Scars

You can prevent burn 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 a sterilized applicator to prevent infection and minimize scars
  • contact medical care immediately when the wound healing is not taking place.
  • 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 get the dead skin cut by 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 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 eliminate 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, 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 healing.6

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. Once your wound has healed, simply add a thin layer of gel twice daily to flatten the area and reduce redness.

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 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 mase therapy.

Different techniques are used in the burn scars in this therapy, including skin rolling, stretching, stroking, and kneading. Your healthcare provider will give you the proper treatment to repair the muscle and tissue damage caused by the second-degree burn.7

Though your therapist will suggest the techniques to use at home, do not massage over the fragile skin 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 management8, 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.

Placing pressure on the burned scar tissue can break up tightened cells and reduce the appearance of burn scars.  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 smooth, thick, raised, and rounded scars often spread out of the burnt area. Corticosteroids9 are injected into the scar, which shrinks them to the level of the body’s 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.

6. Laser Therapy

Laser treatments are not used for minor first-degree burns damage. They are used to relieve discomfort and tightness. This therapy can also promote healing from burn scars and smooth the scar and lower their redness.

This technique is used for exaggerated hypertrophic scars, but it can also benefit patients with wrinkles, acne scars or sagging facial tissue.

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.

These side effects include:

  • redness
  • hyperpigmentation
  • itching
  • swelling
  • 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 the skin, 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.

Sun Exposure

Burn survivors must avoid their healing scars coming in contact with the sunlight. The scars, which are still discoloured 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. So, 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.

In the end, that’s all you have to do – prevent those scars from coming back by following these 7 methods.

After that, it’s key to keep an eye on your skin and use proper products regularly. You can even see a dermatologist for massage techniques in case of any issues. Scar Massage 4 /12 Once a wound has healed, gently massaging the scar may help.

Choose a vitamin that contains vitamin A, C, E, and B complex to help prevent and reduce scars from forming. But if you haven’t had a bad experience in the past, all these methods should work wonders for your skin!

Bottom-Line

The burn scar look is determined by the severity of the burn and how to speed up your treatment. However, you can still use some natural remedies to remove the scar from your body. Placing pressure on the burned scar tissue can break up tightened cells and reduce the appearance of burn scars.

Aloe vera is a perfect option for your skin. Applying this can let your skin heals faster and provide you with better and normal.

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.

Also read: What is blood blister in the mouth?

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  1. Friedstat, Jonathan S., and C. Scott Hultman. “Hypertrophic burn scar management: what does the evidence show? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials.” Annals of plastic surgery 72.6 (2014): S198-S201. ↩︎
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  5. Wolfram, Dolores, et al. “Hypertrophic scars and keloids—a review of their pathophysiology, risk factors, and therapeutic management.” Dermatologic surgery 35.2 (2009): 171-181. ↩︎
  6. Lindhe, Jan, et al. “Healing following surgical non‐surgical treatment of periodontal disease: A clinical study.” Journal of clinical periodontology 9.2 (1982): 115-128. ↩︎
  7. Akita, Sadanori, et al. “Basic fibroblast growth factor accelerates and improves second‐degree burn wound healing.” Wound repair and regeneration 16.5 (2008): 635-641. ↩︎
  8. Del Toro, Drew, Raj Dedhia, and Travis T. Tollefson. “Advances in scar management: prevention and management of hypertrophic scars and keloids.” Current opinion in otolaryngology & head and neck surgery 24.4 (2016): 322-329. ↩︎
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