Burns alter the makeup of the skin, leaving scarred skin that is hardened, leathery or puckered when healed, according to the MayoClinic.com. How you treat the scar depends upon the degree of the burn—a measure of how deep the skin injury extends. Discuss any treatments you are considering using with your physician to ensure you are not using something that could harm your healing process. Once you have the go-ahead, treatment to soften the scar and encourage new cell growth can help to minimize a burn scar’s appearance.
Apply a moisturizing lotion that also cools the burn scar, advises the MayoClinic.com. This treatment is best when the scar is new because it helps to soften hardened scar tissue. Options include aloe vera gel or an anesthetic cream—cocoa butter and other moisturizers are not appropriate burn treatments because they can retain heat instead of releasing it.
Apply a pressure bandage to the burned area, recommends the American Academy of Dermatology. These place added pressure on the scar tissue, which can break up tightly compacted cells and reduce the appearance of raised burn scars. Another option that has a similar effect is to massage the burn scar daily.
Massage a silicone gel into the burn scar. Because burn scars tend to be raised on the skin, silicone gels are helpful in reducing thickness. Wait until your burn has completely healed before applying this gel.
Undergo a laser scar revision, which can help to lessen burning sensations or itching that can often accompany a burn scar, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. A physician should evaluate your scar and skin color to determine what laser type may work best. A pulsed dye laser may be effective for treating burn scars as it reduces scar size and color.
Ask your physician if skin grafts may be necessary to reduce the appearance of your burn scar, recommends the MayoClinic.com. These grafts use your own skin in order to stimulate healing and improve the scar’s appearance. However, they are most often used in the treatment of severe burns—using this treatment for minor burns may not be suitable.
- Always apply sunscreen to a burn scar before going outside for at least six months after the burn has occurred, according to AskDrSears.com. The sun can cause added discoloration to the scar. The sunscreen will help to prevent further damage.