The way you treat a cut, both in the immediate aftermath of an injury and in the days and weeks that follow, can determine whether what kind of scar you are left with and how much it will fade over the passage of time. To ensure you have minimal scarring, here’s how you should treat the wound.
Clean the wound
The more quickly a wound heals, the less likely a scar is to develop. To promote healing and reduce the chances of disfiguring damage, make sure all your cuts are thoroughly cleaned of all dirt and debris immediately after the injury and before you apply any kind of dressing.
Failure to do so will not only impede the healing process but also increases your chance of contracting an infection which could ultimately lead to your injury becoming far worse.
Use petroleum jelly
Scabs form when wounds dry out too quickly, and wounds with scabs tend to take longer to heal. A thin layer of petroleum jelly can prevent the wound from drying out in this way and will further reduce the chances of a scar.
The cells of your body will also regenerate much faster if they are in a moist environment so you shouldn’t leave the cut open to the air.
Use a transparent dressing
If the wound is too large or in a place where it needs some protection, choose your dressing with care. Unlike traditional cotton plasters, using a Tegaderm dressing means you can see your wound as it heals giving you far more control over the process while still allowing the skin to breathe and keeping it free from infection. The dressing is also fully waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about it coming off when you get in the bath or shower. Being able to see your wound throughout the healing process means you won’t need to remove the dressing to see what is going on, reducing your chances of ending up with an unsightly scar.
Protect it from the sun
Once your wound is well on the way to being fully healed, you may still see a significant difference between the site of your injury and the surrounding skin. It is likely that your skin in this area will be particularly sensitive to UV radiation damage and may tan or discolor at a different rate to the rest of your body. If you want to minimize the effects of this, try using a thin layer of sunscreen to protect the area.
You’ll need to use a cream with an SPF factor of at least 30 and reapply on a regular basis. With luck, your scar will fade away far more quickly as a result.
If you want to give your body the best possible chance of healing itself, you need to make sure it is supplied with the right fuel. Start out by eating a well-balanced diet full of food that is rich in protein and vitamins. You’ll want to ensure you have plenty of foods that contain high levels of the mineral zinc as this pays a particularly important role in the healing of wounds. Good sources of zinc include lean beef, Brazil nuts and sunflower seeds.