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Whether you’ve had an injury (mild burn or scrape), a sunburn, or a surgery resulting in an incision, you’re probably wondering how you should handle the area to keep it clean and minimize scarring.

The best advice is whatever you do, keep it simple.  New developing scars are easier to manage than old scars.  Once scars have been around for awhile it’s difficult to change them. 

For any wound, clean it with gentle soap and water once or twice a day.  In the shower, let the soap and water run down the wound.  Don’t scrub it with a washcloth.  If you’ve had surgery, your surgeon will tell you when you can remove the bandage and take a shower.

If you have a dry surgical incision, you should leave it open to air.  Don’t put anything on it such as lotion or a lubricant (for usually 2-4 weeks) until your surgeon tells you to.

If your scrape or burn is open with a small amount of bleeding, cover it with a non-stick pad or bandage until there’s nothing on the bandage when you take it off.  Once the bandage is dry, you can apply a small amount of Aquaphor (gently rub it in), Eucerin, Nivea, or Vaseline Intensive cream.  You can leave the injury open to air and keep it moisturized.

Aloe can be applied to an intact sunburn (no blisters) or radiation burn to cool it and increase comfort.  If there are blisters present, leave them to pop on their own.  They will dry once they drain.

There is no evidence that Mederma scar gel lessens the appearance of a scar.  It can be harsh for a fresh surgical incision.  Wait for 6-8 weeks to use it.

There is no evidence that cocoa butter, Vitamin A, or Vitamin E oil help with scar healing.  Vitamin E has been found to irritate an incision and cause allergic reactions.  Don’t apply hydrocortisone or antibiotic ointment to a wounded area or incision unless a doctor tells you to do so.

If you have a surgical incision or an open burn or scrape, don’t go swimming or take a bath.  With incisions, your surgeon will tell you when it’s safe to take a bath or swim.  For a burn or scrape, once the area is dry or scabbed, you can swim or bathe.

It usually takes months for a scar to fully healProtect your scar from the sun with sunscreen.

Once completely healed, if the appearance of your scar bothers you, you can speak to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon about injecting it with cortisone or doing a laser treatment.  These might help shrink the appearance of the scar.

Here’s to an invisible scar!

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