The short answer, of course, is that it depends on the scar. The correct answer is that it depends on a great many factors, including things like the person’s age and overall health, what environmental factors the scar is exposed to during healing (such as smoking or sunlight), the technique used by the surgeon if the scar is a surgical scar, and whether the wound was infected at any point during healing – to name just a few of the many things that can affect how long a scar takes to heal! It also matters what caused the scar in the first place and how extensive the injury was.
However, there are some general guidelines a patient can go by to help him or her know what to expect. For the first few weeks after a wound closes, the scar can appear red and raised; it gradually fades and softens over the next several months. Expect to see the final result in at least a year, sometimes two. That is how long it can take for a scar to stop changing or improving on its own. However, even after this point, there are methods you can utilize to encourage the scar to heal even further for a less obvious and more pleasing appearance. In children, the final appearance of the scar may not be visible for several years.
Read: Do Scars Grow With Age?
The first and most important thing you can do to help your scar heal as quickly as possible is to prevent the wound from getting infected. Any infection will delay healing and possibly worsen the scar’s final appearance. Make sure to keep the incision or injury site completely clean and follow your doctor’s instructions, if applicable, for wound care during the healing period.
Exercise, Massage the Scar Area, and Avoid Smoking
Making sure the scar gets plenty of oxygen is another effective way to make sure it heals quickly. Smoking actually works in two ways to delay scar healing. First, it decreases oxygen in the blood, which in turn decreases the amount of oxygen that gets to the wound. This oxygen is extremely important for complete healing, so you should be doing everything you possibly can to increase the wound’s oxygen supply – such as exercising. Not only does smoking reduce the amount of oxygen the wound receives – and thereby delay its healing – but it also increases the risk of the wound becoming infected. And keep the scar out of the sun; the sun can cause a scar to darken or redden.
Use Ingredients Proven to Promote Scar Healing
You can further speed scar healing by using a product designed to fade and soften scars. Avoid products that contain hydroquinone – although commonly used in scar healing, it is known to be potentially irritating and dangerous. Also avoid fragrances, preservatives, and alcohol in your scar healing product. Instead look for natural ingredients that are proven to help scars heal and improve their appearance, such as silicone, aloe vera, licorice, and vitamin C.
Be patient – scar healing is a slow process. However, you can move it along as quickly as possible by following these tips.
Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.
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