How To Manage Your Eczema Scars | MyEczemaTeam

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How To Manage Your Eczema Scars

Medically reviewed by Steven Devos, M.D., Ph.D.
Updated on January 2, 2024

  • Ask your doctor about eczema treatments that can help reduce symptoms such as dryness and itch, thereby minimizing potential scar formation caused by scratching.
  • Appropriate sun protection, moisturizing products, and procedures like laser resurfacing can help treat the appearance of scars.
  • Talk to your dermatology provider before trying any new product or treatment for your eczema scars.

“I have to wear long sleeves in 90-degree weather because my scars are so horrible. I’m embarrassed,” said one MyEczemaTeam member. Another member shared, “I know there is no cure for eczema, but I at least want a really good treatment for my marks and dark spots it has left on my body.” Scars left behind after bouts of itching and scratching can be a frustrating aspect of living with moderate to severe eczema.

Although everyone’s skin may react differently to treatments, there are effective options for managing eczema scars. Finding ways to address scarring can be tricky when you have sensitive skin, so work with your dermatologist to find the best approach for treatment and prevent further scarring.

How To Prevent Eczema Scars

The best way to reduce eczema scars is to prevent them from developing. Eczema scars are the result of picking and scratching skin. When you’re experiencing an eczema flare-up and itchy skin, reach out to your dermatologist for prompt treatment. Often, a prescription eczema treatment is enough to ease the itchiness and minimize damage from your skin condition.

If you develop open wounds from scratching skin with eczema, keep the area clean and covered to help reduce the risk of skin infections and scabbing. Use petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) to help keep a wound moisturized. When wounds scab, they may heal more slowly and be more likely to leave a scar.

It may seem simple, but drinking plenty of water and using a humidifier to keep your skin hydrated can go a long way toward preventing dry skin and reducing the itch-scratch cycle.

How To Treat Existing Eczema Scars

Reducing the appearance of scars may involve several approaches to skin care, including sunscreen, nutrition, moisturizers, and dermatologic procedures.

Use Sun Protection

Sunburns and sun exposure can prevent scars from fading and make them darker, so be sure to cover up affected areas until they have healed. Wearing loose-fitting clothing and staying in the shade can offer some protection if using heavy sunscreens further irritates your skin. Once the area has started healing, apply a skin-friendly, fragrance-free, broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to help minimize discoloration and encourage the scar to fade.

Eat for Skin Integrity

The nutrients you consume can play an important role in promoting skin health from within, and well-nourished skin is more likely to heal faster and more completely. Vitamin C, zinc, and protein are essential nutrients that may help your body rebuild its skin barrier. Foods rich in vitamin C include broccoli and strawberries, while zinc can be found in proteins and fortified grains like seafood, beans, chicken, and beef.

Talk to your doctor before trying any new eating plans for your skin health or eczema. They can provide advice, refer you to a dietitian, and help you avoid nutritional deficiencies. Furthermore, some skin conditions and wounds may require specific nutritional recommendations, so it’s best to speak to an expert for guidance.

Try Topical Moisturizers, Lotions, and Creams

Several prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) creams are available to help reduce scarring from eczema or other causes. For OTC options, preparations with onion extract, aloe vera, or vitamin E have shown mixed results for wound healing but are generally considered safe and may be beneficial for some people.

Plant Derivatives

Some plant oils and ingredients have been shown to help protect and moisturize the skin while it heals, which can help reduce the chance of scarring. Promising ingredients for eczema may include:

  • Borage oil — This substance has been shown to help the skin barrier function in children with atopic dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis (types of eczema).
  • Coconut oil — This edible oil helps encourage wound healing and improve skin barrier function.
  • Oat oil and colloidal oatmeal — This combination has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to help reduce inflammation.

Hydroquinone

Another common product for scar treatment is a skin-bleaching chemical called hydroquinone, which may reduce scar pigmentation. You can find hydroquinone in 2 percent concentrations over the counter, and higher potencies are available by prescription.

When combined with a topical retinoid (a vitamin A derivative), hydroquinone is more effective. There are some health concerns about the long-term use of hydroquinone, however. It’s important to use hydroquinone with sunscreen, avoid contact with eyes, and discontinue use if your skin isn’t tolerating it well.

Silicone Dioxide

If some scars are thicker or bumpy, topical silicone dioxide may help soften the skin. Silicone is a popular ingredient in OTC scar gels.

Although these products may work for some people, they may cause irritation or worsening of eczema symptoms in others. It’s important to remember that everyone’s skin is different. There are some risks and potential side effects that come with trying new topical products and treatments. It’s best to talk to your health care provider or dermatologist before trying any new OTC products. They can help advise you on what might be best for your skin and what products won’t negatively interact with your current treatment plan.

Look Into Medical Procedures

Older eczema scars may sometimes be treated with procedures like laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, microneedling, cortisone injections, or chemical peels. You’ll need to consult an experienced dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to determine if any of these are a good choice for your needs. Although lasers can improve the look of scarring, they can’t get rid of scars altogether. These procedures are also costly.

The results from procedures like laser treatment take time to become noticeable. Take necessary precautions to get the best results. This includes quitting smoking at least two weeks before the procedure, avoiding retinoids and glycolic acid products, steering clear of blood thinners like aspirin, and ensuring proper sun protection for your skin. Ask to see before-and-after pictures to get a realistic idea of what to expect from any procedures.

Talk With Others Who Understand

MyEczemaTeam is the social network for people with eczema and their loved ones. On MyEczemaTeam, more than 50,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with eczema.

Do you have eczema scars? What tips do you have for others for managing scarring? Share your experience in the comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.

Updated on January 2, 2024
All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.

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Steven Devos, M.D., Ph.D. received his medical degree and completed residency training in dermatology at the University of Ghent, Belgium. Learn more about him here.
Anastasia Climan, RDN, CDN is a dietitian with over 10 years of experience in public health and medical writing. Learn more about her here.

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