Health: You Ask - Flare Magazine - June 2005
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What’s up, doc? Our experts give an Rx for your wellness questions.

Q: “Is there anything I can do to prevent a wound from scarring?” 

According to Toronto-based dermatologist, Dr. Lisa Kellett, one of the best ways to prevent scarring is to properly care for the wound. Wash your cut with soap and water after the injury has occurred. It’s very important to keep the cut moist to let it heal properly (contrary to the “let it breathe” theory). 

Apply some antibiotic cream with a cotton applicator (to make sure you’re not infecting your cut with a dirty finger) and cover the cut with a bandage. Keep it covered for about a week, or until it’s no longer oozing or has started to close. Then, if you’re concerned that you will have a significant scar, apply a product such as Polysporin Scar Solution, a bandage-like strip that uses silicone technology to mimic the skin’s natural barrier function to either prevent a scar from occurring or reduce the appearance of an existing scar. 

The two most common types of scars are hypertrophic, where the skin is raised and slightly puffy (this type is more common in people with lighter skin), and keloidal, where the raised, puffy skin goes beyond the perimeter of the original wound (this type is more common in people with dark skin). If the appearance of your scar still hasn’t improved after trying a silicone treatment, see your doctor, who can inject the scar with an anti-inflammatory steroid to help flatten and reduce the scar. 

Lastly, if the scar still persists, a doctor can use a laser treatment to remove it. This is a pricey option, as most people need about five treatments, and costs about $350 and up. (And is not covered by provincial health insurance.)

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