Scars can take up to two years to settle down to a permanent appearance, but is there any way you can make them fade faster? We take a look at strategies for supporting scars to heal as quickly and as well as possible.
How long does a scar take to fade? Unfortunately it's one of those “how long is a piece of string?” situations.
The answer depends on a long list of factors that affect healing and appearance, some of which you can have influence over, and some (like your age, ethnic background, where the injury occurred) you can't.
Although after two years it’s unlikely to change very much in appearance without cosmetic treatment, a scar can be helped along (and hindered) in its healing. Let’s take a look at what you can do to help your scar heal well and fade quickly.
Keeping the wound moist
In the early stages of healing, a wound likes to be kept moist and clean so it can work to repair the damage. This stage can last up to three weeks, and current advice from dermatologists is to use an ointment to keep the area moist.
Moisturise surrounding skin
It’s also important not to let the surrounding skin dry out and get tight. You can use an ointment like Skin Salvation to hydrate surrounding skin while the actual wound is healing. Use meticulously clean fingers or a little spatula to get the salve out of the jar and apply to the skin around the healing wound.
Keep infection at bay
Infection can really slow down the healing process, and can cause lasting damage, so it’s vital that you keep the wound clean. Change dressings as directed by your doctor or nurse; don’t touch the area unless you have to, and make sure your hands are totally clean if you’re applying creams or changing dressings.
Look after yourself
According to medical advice one of the best ways you can support your body to heal is to provide it with the nutrients it needs to repair and regenerate itself.
Drink plenty of water, and make sure you get a good supply of vitamins and minerals from your diet; you might consider supplementing with Vitamin A, B and C, as well as zinc, copper and iron. Doctors also advise against smoking or heavy drinking while your skin heals.
Avoid the sun
Make sure your scar is covered with clothes or high factor sunscreen if it is likely to get exposed to bright sunlight, as sun damage can affect its appearance dramatically. Scar tissue isn’t like normal skin, and can burn easily.
Look after your scar long term
After the initial few weeks of healing, and once the broken skin is completely healed over, your wound moves into the longer stage of healing.
Inflammation settles down and a deeper healing process gets underway. During this stage, you can apply nourishing emollient oils or salves (like Rosehip Scar Oil or Skin Salvation salve) to the area, feeding the skin with the nutrients your skin needs to rebuild and repair itself. Apply twice a day, using your fingers to gently but firmly massage the oil or balm into the skin, helping the collagen to settle smoothly.
For more information about why we’d suggest using rosehip oil to massage into scars, see our blog Is Rosehip Oil Good for Scars?
Balmonds Skin Salvation
with hemp and beeswax
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.