Scars are a natural response to damage in any part of the body. Their visibility can be distressing for many people, especially when they are located on exposed areas like the face. Various techniques can be used to reduce the appearance of scars, but these methods often focus on reducing the heat of scar tissue, which can lead to a softening of the scar and a reduction in its appearance.
Scar tissue doesn’t behave like healthy tissue. When it comes to handling heat, scar tissue is more sensitive and can easily become dehydrated. This is because scar tissue lacks the oil glands that healthy skin has to keep it moisturized naturally. This leads to tightness and heat that you feel over your scar. Also, the blood vessels in scar tissue are not as plentiful or efficient as those under normal skin, causing it to heat up faster.
To alleviate this, one of the primary ways to reduce scar tissue heat is by keeping it moisturized. Moisturizers, especially those containing silicone, are highly effective in cooling down the scar. Silicone has been shown to mimic the skin’s natural barrier function, reducing trans-epidermal water loss, keeping the scar hydrated, cool, and flexible. It also soothes itchiness and discomfort that often comes with the healing process. Moisturizers should be applied at least once daily, but always follow the instructions on the product’s packaging or your doctor’s advice.
One effective technique that often gets overlooked is massage therapy. Gentle massage on and around the scar can help to break down bands of collagen that make up scar tissue, reducing its size, color, and texture. This subsequently reduces the heat it generates. Always ensure your hands are clean before massaging your scar, and apply a moisturizer to reduce friction. Use the pads of your fingers to rub the scar in circular, vertical and horizontal motions for several minutes at a time, a few times each day.
Avoiding excessive heat to the scar area is also crucial. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible, as it can cause the scar to darken and heat up. If sun exposure is unavoidable, apply a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to the scar. Wearing protective clothing, like long-sleeve shirts, pants, or wide-brimmed hats, can also help protect the scar from the sun’s damaging rays.
Finding a cooling technique that works for you is also important. Something as simple as a cold compress can provide temporary relief from the heat of scar tissue. Apply a cold pack wrapped in a soft cloth to the scar for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Never apply ice directly to the skin, as it can cause tissue damage.
The process of scarring and its treatment is complex and varies from person to person. It’s important to remember that while these techniques can help reduce the heat and visibility of scar tissue, they are not guaranteed to completely remove scars. Before starting any new treatment, it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it’s appropriate for your particular situation.