Cuts, and abrasions as a result of bumps and falls are a natural part of children’s lives. Many times the wounds are superficial but in some cases stitches or sutures are needed. In these cases, as well as in case of lacerations and chicken pox, parents may become concerned about scars. Children may become self-conscious. Especially when a child’s scar is located on a prominent location such as the face. Read on to learn about the best way to treat scars on children.
Here are some things for parents to know:
Children are known to pick off scabs. This should be avoided if possible. In fact, scabs should best be prevented at all. Scabs contribute to scar creation. After a scab has fallen off the scar commonly stays red and bumpy for a while (this redness may last for a few months). When a wound is kept covered and moist it won’t scab, and heal more quickly which diminishes the risk on scarring. More info here.
The best non-invasive option available are silicone sheets or gels. Silicones have demonstrated to help to reduce itch, pain and sensitivity and render scars flat, soft and
supple. Especially useful for kids who are more prone to keloids such as children with dark skin because silicones help preventing such scars.
A difficulty of using silicone sheets on children is adherence. Silicone sheets can be difficult to keep attached. Especially in toddlers because they are so movable. I commonly recommend using ScarAway sheets but for young children you might want to use Cica Care sheetsbecause these are stickier.
Another solution is to use a silicone gel cream (a liquid that dries to a thin transparent film). According to medical evidence these ointments are (slightly?) less effective than sheets or patches. According to many this is because sheets apply pressure but medical science isn’t convinced about that. Here’s a list of commercially available silicone gel creams.
Polyurethane Dressings and Pressure Garments
Other over the counter products backed by clinical evidence are polyurethane dressings (although less evidence available and probably slightly less effective), and compression garments (the formerly used method, especially in case of burn scars)
Gently massaging on and around the location of the scar tissue is thought improve circulation, which should minimize scarring. Massage is also used to make surly tissue more supply and pliable.
Don’t forget to protect your child’s scar against sunshine with sunscreen and/or clothing. This is important because UV radiation will worsen the scar and may reduce the distortion of skin color and texture. Thin clothing only has a very low SPF so in most cases sunblock is a must. It is commonly recommended to apply sun block on the area for a prolonged period. Some dermatologists recommend to apply sunblock every day for a year because scar tissue pigments differently. Sometimes it’s the change in pigmentation that is more visible than the scar itself.
A popular product is Mederma for Kids. Although there’s minimal evidence this onion-extract based product really fades scars, there is a vast amount of positive anecdotal reports. But this is also the case for vitamin E oil.
Avoid Vitamin E Oil
Pure vitamin E oil, e.g. from capsules should be avoided. Especially when wounds or scars are fresh. Studies have shown vitamin E oil to cause rash or other skin irritation in about one third of the test persons. In the worst case this may worsen scar appearance.
Do children scar more easily?
Well, the opinions differ. I think they don’t, except for the fact that they may be injured more easily because it’s a part of growing up. I guess it depends on the severity, depth, of the wound and the healing process. Also genetics are of major influence because the tendency to scar is hereditary. On the other hand I think wounds and scars tend to heal more quickly in children and thus scar appearance may be less prominent. This because children have a young, elastic, and resilient skin.
Upcoming innovative medicine designed to prevent surgical scars
In the near future a new medicine designed to prevent post-surgery in children will be launched. Read more about it here.
Photo by wsilver