Scars are part of the body's natural healing process, as the injured skin or other organ creates new tissue to knit together the wounded pieces. While every wound will create some bit of scar tissue, copious collagen production or improper wound care can result in thick, unsightly scar formation after injuries to the skin. Some ointments can help prevent scarring from becoming excessive after burns, cuts, or acne outbreaks.
Prevent Burn Scarring
Ointments should never be placed immediately on the open wound of a serious burn, advises the University of Maryland Medical Center 1. After cooling minor first degree burns or sunburn with cool running water, or in the later healing stages of second or third degree burns, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that calendula ointment can be gently rubbed on the burn area to promote healing and minimize development of scarring 1. Calendula is an extract from the plant Calendula officinalis, and is used in homeopathic ointments for skin wound healing treatment. Calendula ointment is available at natural food stores, and is made by numerous homeopathic treatment companies including Hylands, Boiron, and Nature's Remedies.
Acne Scar Ointments
How to Minimize Scarring After a Burn
Acne can created pitted scars on the face, especially in severe outbreaks where pimples become infected. The best way to prevent acne scarring is by prompt, early treatment, according to the Brown University Student Health Services 2. Wait until the active acne breakouts have cleared up, Brown Health Services advises, then apply vitamin E or cocoa butter ointments, or use Mederma (NOTE: INSERT REGISTERED TRADEMARK SYMBOL) brand scar cream 2. Brown Health Services reports that Mederma (REGISTERED TRADEMARK SYMBOL) is used in the medical field to soften and minimize surgical scar appearance, and has been demonstrated to have a positive effect on acne scars as well 2.
Ointments for Wounds
Appropriate wound care treatment minimizes the risk of unsightly scarring at the sight of a cut or wound, according to Dr. Kristie Leong writing for the HealthMad website 3. In addition to covering the cut or wound site with silicone sheets during initial healing, and then massaging the cut to break up heavy collagen bonds that form as scar tissue grows, Dr. Leong recommends keeping the injury site lightly covered with a protective bandage placed over a thin layer an an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin brand First Aid Antibiotic Ointment. Reducing the risk of infection and allowing air to circulate around the wound will help minimize the risk of unsightly scar formation.
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- University of Maryland Medical Center: Burns
- Brown University Student Health Services: Acne
- HealthMad: How to Prevent a Scar
- Tanghetti EA. The role of inflammation in the pathology of acne. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013;6(9):27-35.
- Shi C, Zhu J, Yang D. The pivotal role of inflammation in scar/keloid formation after acne. Dermatoendocrinol. 2017;9(1):e1448327. doi:10.1080/19381980.2018.1448327
- Mari W, Alsabri SG, Tabal N, Younes S, Sherif A, Simman R. Novel insights on understanding of keloid scar: article review. J Am Coll Clin Wound Spec. 2015;7(1-3):1-7. doi:10.1016/j.jccw.2016.10.001
- Gozali MV, Zhou B. Effective treatments of atrophic acne scars. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2015;8(5):33–40.
- Kwon SY, Park SD, Park K. Comparative effect of topical silicone gel and topical tretinoin cream for the prevention of hypertrophic scar and keloid formation and the improvement of scars. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2014;28(8):1025-33. doi:10.1111/jdv.12242
- Al-Kathiri L, Al-Najjar T. Severe nodulocystic acne not responding to isotretinoin therapy successfully treated with oral dapsone. Oman Med J. 2018;33(5):433-6. doi:10.5001/omj.2018.79
A freelance writer since 1978 and attorney since 1981, Cindy Hill has won awards for articles on organic agriculture and wild foods, and has published widely in the areas of law, public policy, local foods and gardening. She holds a B.A. in political science from State University of New York and a Master of Environmental Law and a J.D. from Vermont Law School.