Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Miami, Florida

Miami Personal Injury Blog

Get a free consultation now

How To Prevent Scarring After a Burn Injury

How To Prevent Scarring After a Burn Injury

Burn injuries can have a profound impact on both the body and mind, whether they happen in a household accident, car crash, or workplace accident. Burns are one of the most painful injuries you can suffer, and these injuries often leave scars that serve as a constant reminder of your accident. Scarring after a burn isn’t just traumatizing; it can limit mobility and have other consequences.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimize or even prevent scarring after a burn injury.

Will My Burn Leave a Scar?

About 70% of burn injuries result in a scar. However, this includes scars that fade or improve over time. There are many factors that affect whether your burn will leave a scar.

First-degree burns, which affect only the outer layer of the skin, typically heal without significant scarring, if any at all. However, second-degree burn scars are more likely as deeper layers are damaged. Second-degree burns usually heal in two to three weeks and may scar, but the scar may fade over time.

Third-degree burns penetrate all layers of the skin and may affect underlying tissues. They are almost certain to scar.

The severity of the burn alone isn’t the only factor that affects whether your injury will leave a scar. The depth and size of the burn, the location on the body, and how the wound is cared for during the healing process all play crucial roles in determining the extent of scarring.

Even genetics affects burn healing. Genetics strongly affects scar vascularity (redness) based on the volume of red blood cells in the tissue. Vascularity affects the type of scar that forms and the best treatment method.

Types of Burn Scars

Burn scars heal with thick fibers of collagen, not skin cells like the epidermis. However, there are different types of scars that may develop depending on the depth of the burn,  how the skin is affected, and genetics. 

  • Hypertrophic scars: These are raised, red scars that develop within the boundaries of the burn injury. They can be itchy, sensitive, and warm to the touch. Hypertrophic scars may improve over time. Hypertrophic scarring is common and occurs in 32% to 72% of burn victims.
  • Keloid scars: Unlike hypertrophic scars, keloid scars extend beyond the original injury site. They’re typically thicker and more prominently raised with a shiny appearance.
  • Contracture scars: These thick scars cause the skin to tighten and contract. They often affect mobility, especially if they form over joints.

It’s very hard to predict scarring from a burn injury. Even with similar injuries and treatments, people may develop very different types and levels of scarring. Understanding the type of scarring is critical for choosing the most effective treatment option.

Treating Burn Injuries

Once your initial wound has healed, your medical team will recommend long-term treatments designed to prevent or manage scarring. Effective scar therapies may include:

  • Pressure garments. These garments are worn for 23 hours per day and for up to two years. They can soften and flatten scars to make them less noticeable when they are used properly and soon after the injury.
  • Silicone gel sheets. This flexible, medical-grade silicone is placed over the burned area. It’s designed to keep skin hydrated and decrease itching with a breathable layer that also reduces the risk of abnormal healing. Silicone sheets are effective for hypertrophic and keloid scars.
  • Custom inserts. A physical therapist or other specialist may recommend custom inserts that can be worn under bandages or garments to increase pressure on the scar.
  • Scar massage. This treatment can relieve tension in muscles and skin to alleviate a common side effect of burn injuries: limb stiffness and soreness. Research shows scar massage therapy may be effective at treating hypertrophic scars by reducing itching and pain while improving the scar appearance.
  • Scar revision. Scar revision is a procedure done specifically to improve the appearance, size, location, or other characteristics of a scar. It may be recommended to restore function after contracture or make a scar less visible. Scar revision can involve surgery, a laser procedure, steroid injections, or cryotherapy.
  • Skin grafts. Very large or deep burns may require a skin graft to heal. Skin grafts themselves can scar, and there can be scarring around incisions.
  • Tissue expansion and flap surgery. This treatment option may be used for a contracture. It involves increasing the amount of tissue for reconstructive surgery. It may be done along with flap surgery to replace damaged tissue.

Many of these treatments are combined to manage how a burn injury heals and reduce the risk of complications and scarring.

How To Reduce Scarring After a Burn Injury

Along with getting proper medical treatment, there are steps you can take to help your wound heal and reduce the risk of a scar.

  • Perform a range of motion exercises multiple times per day. These exercises keep joints and muscles flexible and reduce the risk of contracture.
  • Do as much as you can for yourself, even if it’s time-consuming. This movement helps keep your skin stretched.
  • Moisturize regularly. Scar tissue does not have oil glands and gets dry very easily. Moisturizing keeps the scar flexible and improves healing.
  • Avoid sun exposure while your scars are maturing. Always use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher protection and wear protective clothing before going outside. Using sun protection can help reduce the discoloration of the scar and help it fade faster.

Finally, follow your doctor’s recommendations and the full course of treatment.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in Miami, FL

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Miami, FL and need legal help, contact our Miami personal injury lawyers at Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers
20900 NE 30th Ave Suite 715
Aventura, FL 33180
(305) 937-0191