How to Reduce Hypertrophic Scars
A scar is formed at the site of physical injury, as the injury heals it is usually red and raised. Later, with time the scar becomes flatter and paler in color. Tension around the site of injury results in a hypertrophic scar. Hypertrophic scar occurs due to exuberant healing response and it is usually challenging to manage them. A hypertrophic scar is a wide, thickened, often raised and develops after few months of an injury or any surgery. A hypertrophic scar is a result of an unusual and abnormal response to the injury.
These scars extend beyond the boundaries of the actual wound, they are a result of an abnormal proliferation of fibrous tissue. They are erythematous and pruritic lesions, they are reddish brown initially and become pale age. They normally begin to form after 6 to 8 weeks after an injury. They usually occur over extensor surfaces like shoulders, cheeks, elbows, and knees. Scaring is often related to the location and depth of the injury. The hypertrophic scar may cause functional and cosmetic deformity leading to psychological stress and dissatisfaction.
How wound Heals Normally
The normal cascade of healing of a wound is divided into 4 stages:
• Hemostasis phase –
it involves stopping of bleeding, platelets come into contact with collagen. A fibrin mesh is formed because of activation and aggregation. This strengthens the platelet clumps into a clot.
• Defensive/ Inflammatory phase –
It focuses on destroying bacterial growth with the help of neutrophils and removing debris with the help of macrophages.
• Proliferative phase –
it involves filling the wound with granulation tissue and connective tissue, contraction of the margins of the wound and covering of the wound with the help of epithelial cells.
• Maturation phase –
it involves reorganization of collagen fibers leading to maturation and remodeling of the tissues.
In the case of hypertrophic scar too much collagen is produced during healing. Hypertrophic scar has the following characteristics
• They decrease flexibility in the skin and are responsible for restriction in movements
•Healing tissue formed is thicker than the usual skin
•They are red and raised initially, may flatten with time.
Few treatment options can help in the healing process of hypertrophic scars.
• Pressure dressing
Compression, especially in burn injury, helps in healing. Pressure helps in weakening the scar, apply pressure with the help of tape or bandage.
• Essential Oils
Essential oils support healthy skin, they enhance the better appearance of scars. They are natural products and are derived from aromatic plants. They have multiple health benefits like – disinfection, anti-inflammatory, relaxation, stimulants regeneration of cells. Few oils have demonstrated healing properties and prevent scar formation. Following is a list of essential oils, you can use any one of them as per your availability and convenience – Rosehip seed oil, Vitamin E oil, Helichrysum essential oil, Frankincense oil, Geranium oil, lavender oil , cedarwood oil, Hyssop oil, coconut oil, tea tree oil, almond oil, neroli oil, and carrot seed oil.
You should always dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil. A concentrated essential oil can irritate your skin. Examples of few carrier oils are as follows – grape seed oil, avocado oil, sweet almond oil, olive oil, apricot kernel oil, jojoba oil, hazelnut oil.
Avoid using oils on open wounds, burn area should also be eluded. You can dilute a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil and apply on the affected area. You can apply this multiple times in a day. It might take a few days to months for complete healing of the scar, so patience and regularity are key to healing.
Always look for pure essential oils without any additives. Always consult your doctor before using any home remedy. Do not expect immediate and complete healing of scar. It is likely that scars will be less visible with home remedies.
Dr Reena Prajapat is a dentist, she post graduated in hospital management from Apollo Institute of hospital Administration, Hyderabad. Her strong belief in natural and home remedies lead her to Pursue bachelor in naturopathy.