Burns that leave scars are a possible consequence of exposure to certain chemicals, UV rays, or fire accidents. While some burn scars disappear on their own, others take a long time to heal and can even become a permanent part of the skin. Therefore, it is necessary to know how to handle burns to prevent scarring as well as the immediate steps to take after burning to avoid suffering cosmetic loss lesions later
1. Why do scars form after burns?
Burns that leave scars are evidence of damaged cells and die off, after which the skin produces a fibroblast protein for self-healing. This fiber is called collagen. When the skin heals, the lesion area will leave patches of skin that change color, are usually thick and are called scars. Depending on the depth of the burn, these scars can be temporary and sometimes permanent.
2. Types of burn scars
The formation of burn scars depends on the types of burns:
First degree burns – First degree burns usually associated with damaged epidermis located on the surface of the skin. Patients may also notice some redness, pain, and local inflammation.
Second degree burns – Second degree burns damage both layers of the first skin. This causes the skin to redness and inflammation. At the same time, the person can also be very painful.
Third degree burns – Third degree burns are the more severe types of burns. Not only does it damage the entire skin layer, the post-burn wound can also penetrate through the skin to get into the tissues and muscle structure below. After healing, burn scars of these burns can also cause limited joint movement.
The following are the types of scars that can be left by burns:
- Hypertrophic scars – These scars are usually red or purple. They tend to rise to the surface of the skin and cause itching.
- Contraction scars – These scars often tighten the skin and muscles. Sometimes a shrinkage scar located near the joint also makes it difficult for the person to move.
- Keloids – These types of scars form glossy, hairless bumps on the skin.
3. How to treat burns?
The ideal burn scar treatment depends on the severity and extent of the burn.
For first-degree burns, it is necessary to apply antibiotic cream on the burned area. This will help the wound heal faster and will also alleviate inflammation as well as unpleasant sensations. At the same time, it is necessary to use a gauze to cover the burn again to prevent infection or dirt from the outside.
For second- or third-degree burns, wearing compressed clothing can help heal the skin faster. These are usually tight clothes that may have to be worn for months until the burns heal. Some severe cases may even require skin grafting. This technique involves using the skin from another area of the body to cover the burned area.
4. Ways to improve burn scarring
Here are some other burn treatments or treatments that focus on preventing later scar formation:
Laser light therapy uses UV rays to target blood vessels in excess scar tissue. This can help reduce the swelling and redness associated with burn scars.
The use of laser therapy is carried out by an experienced doctor in scar removal treatments using the same methods.
Corticosteroid injections can be used to blur scars. The mechanism of action of these drugs is anti-inflammatory, which helps to reduce the appearance of some hypertrophic scars and keloid scars.
Cold pressure method
This technique uses liquid nitrogen to freeze growing scars. The role of cold pressure methods that can be used on keloid scars is to help soften this growth structure before they completely float to the surface of the skin causing less aesthetics.
Surgery can be used to treat burn scars if the scar is very prominent on the skin or to deal with cases of shrinkage scars, which improves movement.
However, compared to the above interventions, surgery is highly invasive so it may not be suitable for everyone. Based on the doctor's recommendation, the patient can choose to perform surgery or not.
Physical therapy can help improve movement in areas of contraction after burns. At the same time, encouraging early movement after the burn has just healed can help prevent the formation of contracted burn scars.
These substances help to effectively soften scars. Silicone gel can be used on healing scars but not open wounds. This is an effective way to prevent burn scars and has become a popular method in recent times.
Moisturizer may not help treat scarring. However, with the nutrients that provide the skin, moisturizer can soften the appearance of the scar structure, thereby indirectly preventing burn scars.
Accordingly, moisturizers should be used continuously for three months with application of about 12 hours a day. It is advis recommended to consult a dermatologist about the choice of lotion suitable for the characteristics of your skin as well as your scar.
5. How to handle burns to prevent scars from forming?
As soon as a burn occurs, the following steps should be taken quickly to help minimize the risk of permanent burn scar formation later on:
- Rinse with cool water and let it dry
- Take antibiotic ointments
- Cover this area using non-stick tape and a clean gauze pad
- Gently stretch the damaged skin every day so that the young skin does not stick together
- Sun protection for the affected area for several months to prevent the harmful effects of the sun
At the same time, regularly see a doctor until the burn heals completely. If the burn appears redness, water balloons, pustules or discharge, blood, pus and no signs of healing, see your doctor as soon as possible.
6. Complications associated with burns
A burn is an open wound that allows bacteria and other germs to easily enter the body if not treated properly. This can lead to mild or severe infections. Even skin infections at burns can lead to sepsis if these bacteria enter the bloodstream and can also be life-threatening.
When burned skin, the body fence loses integrity so it will easily lose a large amount of fluid. If not treated, burns can also cause dehydration.
Shrinkage and movement restrictions
This condition is usually a consequence of third degree burns and then burn scars in the form of contracted scars.
If scarring occurs on a wide area of skin, it can cause the skin to stretch. Complications that limit movement occur when scars shrink near the joints.
Muscle and tissue damage
Severe burns can sometimes damage the structure of muscle tissue beneath the skin and, if severe, can cause a part of the body defect, causing loss of motor function.
The appearance of burn scars or any other complications not only affects physical health, but also greatly affects the psychology – mental well-being of the victim.
At this time, the help of psychiatrists if burn scars affect the quality of life or mental state is essential.
In summary, the treatment of burns to prevent scarring is to include the treatment of burns according to classification and the treatment of scars that form later. However, if the correct treatment of burn wounds, avoiding complications of burns including spasms, infections, emotional health problems, muscle damage and dehydration, the problem of improving burns leaving scars will also become simpler, especially with the development of today's means of skin aesthetic intervention.
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