Scars are a fact of life. If you’ve been injured, and skin has broken, you may wind up with a scar once you heal. Depending on its location, a scar can be unsightly – and it might seem like it takes forever for one to fade. If you have a scar on your leg or your feet, you might find yourself eschewing shorts in favor of long pants, or never wearing your beloved sandals again.
The good news is, it is possible to reduce the appearance of scars. Eventually, they may become less noticeable on their own – but that takes time. Why not give nature a boost?
First things first: You need to know what specific kind of scar you’re dealing with, before you can use safe, natural methods to reduce its appearance.
Types of Scars
You might assume that a scar is simply a scar. But there are actually several types of scars. Here are some of the more common ones:
Hypertrophic scars –
These will usually look red with a raised surface, and then will eventually become paler and flat as healing occurs. They typically stay within the boundary of the wound, and they can take up to six months to grow to full thickness. Hypertrophic scars usually develop as the result of too much collagen being produced at the wound site.1
Keloid scars –
These are rounded, thick areas that often spread beyond the area of the skin where the wound occurred. They are also usually red. Keloid scars can take up to a year to fully develop.2
Contracture scars –
Contracture scars are often painful and usually caused by burns. They get their name from the fact they make the skin contract, or tighten. In many instances, a contracture scar can actually restrict movement of the affected area. The reason is that it can interfere with nerves as well as muscles.3
Ways to Speed the Process Up
Most of us want to reduce the appearance of scars on our legs, or anywhere else on our bodies, as fast as we can. But you might be one of those people who would rather not use powerful medications or undergo a potentially painful surgical procedure to make that happen. Here are some gentle, safe options that may help:
Pressure garments –
Pressure garments have been used to help wounds heal since the 19th century. The process usually entails wrapping the wound in a crepe bandage before applying the garment. One study suggests that pressure garments can help reduce contracture scars in up to 85 percent of burn patients.42
Tea tree oil –
Tea tree oil not only has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, it also helps protect the body against viruses and fungi. It has been shown to be effective in helping reduce the appearance of hypertrophic scars associated with acne. Rub 2-4 drops of tea tree oil into the affected area each day.5
Coconut oil and shea butter –
Both of these substances can help keep a wound moist. They might also keep a scar from getting bigger or becoming itchy. Coconut oil and shea butter both contain antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These help inhibit the development of keloid scars and also help hasten skin repair.6,7
Onion extract –
Onion extract may cause a little stinging, but according to one study, it does a great job at reducing the appearance of scars. Participants applied the extract to their scar once a day for four weeks. According to the results, the extract significantly reduced scarring.8
Silicone gel –
Silicone gel sheets are often used to limit scarring. This option isn’t for everyone, however. They can be difficult to apply, and they sometimes cause excessive sweating in the treated area. Many people with facial scars are hesitant to use silicone gel sheets due to the effect on their appearance. But for many people with scars elsewhere, including the legs, this solution works. In one study, researchers found that silicon gel substantially reduced scarring when applied twice a day for six months. It was particularly effective in reducing keloid and hypertrophic scars.9
There are a couple of things that you should not do if you want to prevent the formation of a scar in the first place. For example, don’t use hydrogen peroxide to clean an area that is actively healing. The reason is that while hydrogen peroxide is very effective at sterilizing a wound, it also destroys new skin cells. These cells are very important to the healing process. Also, make sure that you keep the wound from sun exposure. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause discoloration and also delay healing. This may lead to a more prominent scar forming.10
Wrapping it Up
If you’re frustrated with your scars and want to make them less noticeable, there are safe, natural remedies that you can try at home. Give these tips a try and see if they help reduce the appearance of your scar.
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