Because our skin is generally delicate and susceptible to damage, many of us will experience some type of burn at one point in our lives. Whether it be from a stove accident or an instance of sunburn, these burns can cause lasting effects in the form of damaged skin tissue and scarring. As a result, burns can be difficult both physically and emotionally – thus making treatment for such conditions all the more important. In today’s post, we’ll explore several tips for treating your burn scar so you can minimize its appearance if that’s something you’re looking for! Read on to learn more.
Burns can be very painful, and depending on the severity, the healing process can vary greatly. Various levels of burns may result from hot surfaces, chemicals, sun exposure, radiation, and electricity, which impact how deeply skin cells are damaged. To repair the damage and help the regeneration of new healthy cells, processes such as inflammation help to produce a protein called collagen. In turn, this helps to form burn scars.
Depending on the level of severity and size of the affected area, sometimes scarring may be more visible than other times. This is especially true when the burns cover larger areas on one's face or body. Such scars can cause physical changes, which may have a drastic effect on one's self-confidence and sense of self-worth. It is important to practice caution in situations where there is a potential danger of experiencing severe burns, and it’s certainly recommended to seek medical attention regardless of scarring intensity if necessary for pain relief.
Types of Burn Scars
- First-Degree Burn (minor burns): The outermost layer of the skin (the epidermis) endures destruction from first-degree burns, causing skin discoloration, redness, and intense pain. But if left to its natural healing process, it may heal within a week and will not leave any scarring behind.
- Second-Degree Burn: Second-degree burns are particularly harmful, penetrating through the epidermis and into the dermal layer of skin. Alongside redness and pain, these injuries typically cause blisters that may take two to three weeks to heal. These types of burns typically have a rather high probability of leaving behind scars.
- Third-Degree Burn: These are the most detrimental, as they damage not only the upper two layers of skin, but also tendons and bones beneath. Often these types of burns affect nerve endings, leaving a person's skin either an ash-white or pitch-black hue. Healing after so much destruction requires patience; more often than not, these types of burns lead to long-lasting scars that serve as physical reminders of the injury for years on end.
Burn scars, ranging from second to third-degree burns, are categorized based on their look and the effect they have on the skin.
- Hypertrophic scars are characterized by their visible red or purple hue and raised texture above the surface of your skin. Additionally, they may also become warm to the touch and itchy as they continue to develop.
- Contracture scars can have a debilitating effect on the skin, muscles, and tendons as they cause reduced flexibility of movement.
- Keloid scars form a shiny, hairless bump.
Ways to Reduce Burn Scars
Here are some tried and true methods for treating burned skin, and reducing the appearance of your burn scar:
Burn Treatment/Skin Graft
Burn scars can be a huge source of distress for those who are suffering from skin conditions due to burning injuries. Unfortunately, there is currently no surefire way to make them go away completely, but there are measures that can be taken to reduce their appearance and the discomfort they may cause. Skin grafts are an effective way to treat severe burns and replace scar tissue with skin from another area of the body.
For minor burns, skin grafts are often not necessary, as creams and other treatments may provide relief while helping regenerate skin. If you or someone you know is experiencing a burn injury, it's important to seek out medical attention as soon as possible; doing so can help minimize scarring and speed up the healing time.
Silicone Gel Sheets
Silicone gel sheets are a great way to treat raised burn scars. They work by gently lifting and flattening raised scars as well as providing long-term hydration for smoother, softer skin. Placing the sheet directly on the affected area for at least 12 hours a day is effective in helping to reduce the appearance of burn scars, many times with results that are visible within weeks.
Because silicone gel sheets are hypoallergenic, they often prove to be an excellent treatment option even for those with sensitive skin. Whether you need to fade a raised scar or are looking for an overall solution on how to treat burn scars, silicone gel sheets can provide you with the help and results you need.
Getting treated for burn scars can be daunting, but laser treatment offers a solution. Laser treatments to fade burn scars rely on the conversion of light energy into heat energy used to stimulate healthy skin growth. This type of laser treatment is commonly used to treat hypertrophic burn scars, reducing redness and fading the scar's appearance over time. Apart from treating existing marks, laser therapy also helps prevent further damage from forming by stimulating healthy skin regeneration that makes it harder for additional wounds to leave a mark.
One of the most effective ways to reduce the appearance of burn scars is to make sure you maintain a healthy diet rich in vitamins. Vitamin and supplements such as Vitamin A, C, and E can help improve skin's elasticity, while boosting collagen production and regeneration. This helps to promote faster healing and improve tissue repair.
Vitamin B can also be taken as it helps to restore skin moisture by retaining water content in the epidermal cells, reducing inflammation and calming itchy skin around a burn wound. While topical treatments are important for reducing the appearance of burn scars, including vitamins in your everyday diet can also have benefits for improving overall skin health.
Moisturizing is an effective way to reduce burn scars. When used regularly, moisturizers can help improve skin tone and texture and make scarring less noticeable. Routinely massaging the affected area with lotions, creams, or oils will increase circulation and reduce inflammation of the affected skin, while also aiding in collagen renewal and creating a smooth surface.
Applying sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to exposed skin will also protect it from harmful UV rays that can darken and discolor scars. However, it's essential to find the right solution for your specific skin type to ensure maximum effectiveness when reducing burn scars over time.