How to Reduce Burn Scar Appearance

by Kay Ireland ; Updated July 18, 2017

Burn scars are the result of tissue that has been damaged and healed over. Burns usually cause hypertrophic scars -- puffy scars that stand out from the skin because they take a long time to heal, and therefore cause more damage to the skin. Due to their severity, burn scars are usually not improved by over-the-counter ointments and other remedies. Your dermatologist can help you identify various options to reduce the scar's appearance with time and treatment.

Use compression. Compression garments are worn over the scar for 18 to 23 out of 24 hours each day in order to decrease blood flow and protein creation near the scar site, two of the culprits for burn scars. Over time, you should see a reduction in the thickness of the scar, resulting in a more mature and pliable burn scar. Your doctor may be able to recommend the appropriate compression garment for your particular case.

Undergo deep tissue scar massage. Scar massage given by a rehabilitation specialist can help break up some of the thick fibers and protein that create a hypertrophic scar for a smoother appearance and a softer scar. Scar massage must be used in conjunction with anticollagen synthesis, which is a procedure that stimulates new collagen development, as the massage can sometimes cause the degradation of collagen.

Apply gel sheets and vitamin E to to affected area. A study published in a 2009 issue of the "Journal of the International Society for Burn Injuries" found that silicone gel sheets reduced the size of hypertorphic burn scars more than placebos, proving that gel sheets make for an effective way to reduce burn scar appearance. Gel sheets can be purchased over the counter or provided through your doctor.


  • Talk to your doctor about surgical procedures and treatments that may be appropriate for your scars. Surgical scar removal, laser therapy, microdermabrasion and skin grafting can all help reduce the appearance of your burn scars, notes the American Academy of Dermatology. Your doctor will need to examine the quality and severity of your scars, along with your skin composition and other risk factors before deciding on the treatment that is right for you.

About the Author

Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.