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Every scar has a story behind it. But, when it is your child who has a scar, obviously you will be worried. As a parent, you will think of the possible reasons behind it, bad and worse, but you need not worry. Scars are a normal part of life, particularly for children as they often play outside in the grass and dirt and are likely to fall and get wounded. Some scars heal fast, too, in kids. But do you know what a scar actually is and how does it form? Know everything about scars and ways to get rid of them in this post.
What Is a Scar?
A scar is characterised by a mark that is caused by the damage and subsequent repair of skin tissue. Damage to the skin can occur from a cut, burn, scrape or sore.
How Does a Scar Form?
When the skin suffers a wound, connective tissue that is made up of collagen in the body covers up the damaged area. The collagen repairs and restores the skin over the course of some days. While this restoration of skin is happening underneath, the upper layer dries up, forming a rough, dry, dark patch of covering, called a “scab”. When the skin is fully repaired, the scab is shed off. The ‘repaired’ skin usually has a distinct appearance as compared to the skin surrounding it. This is called a scar. However, every wound doesn’t necessarily cause scarring. Extremely shallow wounds sometimes heal without causing a visible scar formation and scars themselves fade over time.
Medical Treatment for Scars
The formation of a scar is a part of the natural healing process, hence it does not require any treatment. Still, a commonly asked question from new parents is – will my baby’s scar go away? Treatment of scars to minimise their appearance or remove it completely is purely aesthetic. Commonly used medical treatments for scars in children are:
- Scar removal creams: These can be bought from pharmaceutical stores. You should apply it when the wound is freshly healed. Use special scar removal creams specifically created for babies, as normal ones contain steroids that could be harmful to your baby.
- Steroid treatment: Steroid injections are used to treat bumpy and raised scars like keloid scars, which sometimes even expand from the original wound. This type of treatment is rare for children.
- Surgical removal of scars: A surgical procedure is generally done to remove a protruding scar. This is an expensive method, but it usually gets the best results as far as aesthetic appearance is concerned.
- Laser treatment: A highly energised beam is used to burn and remove large scar tissue. Unlike surgical treatment, laser treatment does not remove the scar, but it is very successful at reducing the appearance of scars. However, laser treatment is not recommended for children.
- Silicon sheet therapy: In this type of treatment, a plaster containing silicone gel is stuck on the scar. This therapy can be used on fresh wounds as well as bulging scars. It applies pressure to the wound and prevents the formation of scabs while protecting the inner layers where the collagen is rebuilding the skin tissue. This way, the development of a raised scar is negated.
- Cryotherapy: This is a method that employs freezing cold temperatures to heal. To remove bulging scars or other outgrowths in cryotherapy, the extruding portions are frozen solid and crumbled away.
All of these treatments, including scar removal cream for babies, shouldn’t be tried without the doctor’s approval. Your doctor is in the best position to determine if the probable side effects of these treatments could be too high for your baby. So, consult with your doctor before you go for any treatment.
How Can Scars Be Prevented?
Scars can only be improved in appearance once formed. there are no ways it can be prevented. Wounds in children heal at a rapid rate. However, a boost in nutrition is always a help. Vitamin C is essential for healing a scar, so include vitamin C in your baby’s diet.
What If the Scar Gets Bigger and Does Not Fade Away?
The formation of scars is unpredictable; however, they fade away rather quickly in young ones. For example, simply try remembering how many scars you still have, that you got as a child? Only deep scars remain for years.
There are two types of scar formation that actually get bigger instead of fading.
- Hypertrophic Scar: These scars are bumpy and raised from the surrounding skin. They do not spread outside the site of the initial wound. Hypertrophic scars mostly form on burn wounds.
- Keloid: Keloid scars are smooth and raised, and resemble blisters. This kind of scar could spread beyond the original wound, over the surrounding skin to form large, unsightly patches.
If such a scar appears on a prominent part of the body, like the face, you should refer to your dermatologist. The dermatologist will be able to identify the type of scar and give further advice on how to improve the appearance of scars on a child’s face through medical treatment.
As parents, we always want the best for our children. Children also get an inferiority complex if they have scars on their faces thinking that people may stay away from them. Though we cannot control how other people react, we can only show love and support to our kids and encourage them to look beyond their scars.
Also Read: Burn Injury in Children