Scars aren’t anything unusual and occur as a consequence of skin injury. In other words, this is how the body heals. There are various kinds of scars that vary in colour, shapes and sizes. However, there’s one common aspect despite the different forms, which is itchiness. If itchy scars have been disrupting your life, keep reading to know the causes, treatment options, and prevention tips.
What Causes Itchy Scars?
Old as well as new scars both tend to be itchy. Here are some of the reasons that lead to scars being itchy.
Scars that are a minimum of two years old are known as old scars. At times, scars make the skin feel extremely tight. It usually happens after a skin burn as stretched and tight skin is often itchier. Suppose you are one of those who has undergone sudden skin or weight-related changes, your chances of having itchy scars increases. It may also occur with people who have dry skin.
New scars form in your body because of acne blemishes, stretch marks, cuts and scrapes etc. A skin injury can damage your nerve endings too. Consequently, turning the nerve endings sensitive and causing itchiness with the start of the healing process.
Scars after surgery are usually deeper than typical injuries. However, as it begins to heal, it can become itchy.
What are the Treatment Options for Itchy Scars?
The treatment for your scars would depend on the kind of scar you have. There are two ways to treat scars which are as follows:
If your scar is causing discomfort, looks strange, and at-home treatments aren’t showing any improvement, a doctor may suggest invasive treatment.
To boost healing, doctors may use lasers to damage or burn the layers of your skin that lie below the scars.
Intralesional Corticosteroid Injections
Your doctor would inject a corticosteroid into your lesion (injury) that can aid in decreasing inflammation.
For raised scars or keloids, your doctor may suggest radiation therapy. Generally, doctors recommend this as a last option when no other treatment has worked, as there are significant side effects associated with it.
Surgical excision is when a doctor performs surgery to reduce or improve the appearance of a scar. It is a risky procedure, and doctors do not suggest it to everyone.
Silicone Sheeting Bandages
You can easily get them from nearby drug stores. It can be placed over the injured area or used as an adhesive.
Moisturizing Creams or Oils
You can use vitamin E oil or cocoa butter on older scars. Providing moisture to the area will help with the healing process. Though, it will not remove the scar. As you massage while applying the cream or oil, it helps soften and flatten your scar. Also, remember to apply sunscreen to the affected area as it aids in preventing the scars from turning darker in comparison to the rest of the body.
Special Compression Bandages
You can get these bandages from your doctor or nearest pharmacy. They work by putting continuous pressure on the scar and prevent it from hardening.
Steps for Prevention
You may wonder if there’s even a possibility of preventing it. Contrary to perception, some things can help minimise skin damage and scars. Itchy scar prevention can start before the scar forms.
Keep the Injured Skin Clean
Always use mild soap and lukewarm water to wash an injured area. Leaving the dirt as it is or not cleaning it properly can increase infection and inflammation.
Maintain Moist Skin by Applying Ointments
When the skin starts healing and turns dry, it can cause scabbing. Subsequently, you may have itchy skin and an increased healing time. A good option is to apply petroleum jelly with clean hands.
Using Silicone Gel or Hydrogel Sheets
For itchy skin due to injuries, you can use silicone gel to maintain the skin moisture. These can keep the skin moisturised, especially itchy injuries. Speak to a doctor if you have tried these and see no results, or it starts to hurt.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Often, itchy scars aren’t severe. Though, excess scratching can lead to inviting infection-causing bacteria. You may experience symptoms such as swelling and redness as well. Consult a doctor if you face any of these symptoms or under the following circumstances:
- Your scar is turning painful and feels tight.
- It is hampering your daily life.
- If the appearance of your scar is bothering you.
There is no need to be worried about itching as it is nothing but a process of healing. However, ensure that you follow the tips mentioned above, like avoiding scratching, keeping it clean, and following other essential advice mentioned by the healthcare provider. In addition, there are varied treatment options that your doctor may suggest if necessary.
- Is it normal for scars to itch?
Yes, it is normal for scars to itch as it’s a natural healing process of the body after an injury.
- Should itching be considered a good sign of healing?
After the wound starts healing, you can expect it to itch. However, if you notice redness, discharge or soreness, reach out to a doctor.
- What is hell’s itch?
Hell’s itch is painful itchiness that occurs after a few days of sunburn. Unfortunately, though, limited research makes it challenging to understand the condition better.
- Can your scar become infected years later?
It’s rare for a scar to get infected years later, but there is a possibility that you may have developed an infection in the skin fold.