Eczema scars left behind after bouts of itching and scratching can be a frustrating aspect of living with the skin condition. One MyEczemaTeam member said, “I have to wear long sleeves in 90-degree weather because my scars are so horrible. I’m embarrassed.” 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.”
Although everyone’s skin may react differently to treatment, 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 to prevent further scarring.
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, reach out to your dermatologist for prompt treatment. Often, a corticosteroid cream is enough to ease the itchiness and minimize damage to your skin.
Keeping the area clean and covered can reduce the risk of skin infections and scabbing. When wounds scab, they can heal more slowly and be more likely to leave a scar.
It may seem simple, but drinking plenty of water or using a humidifier to keep your skin hydrated can go a long way toward preventing dry skin and reducing the itch-scratch cycle.
Read more about treating itchy skin.
Reducing the appearance of scars may involve several approaches to skin care, including sunscreen, nutrition, moisturizers, and dermatologic procedures.
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 clothing and staying in the shade can offer some protection if using heavy sunscreens further irritates skin. Once the area has started healing, applying a skin-friendly, broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 can help minimize discoloration and encourage the scar to fade.
Read more about the best sunscreens for eczema.
The nutrients you consume can play a vital 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 promote collagen repair and skin rebuilding. Oral vitamin E supplements are associated with skin benefits for atopic dermatitis, the most common type of eczema.
Several prescription and over-the-counter creams are available to help alleviate eczema symptoms and reduce scarring. Preparations with onion extract, aloe vera, vitamin E, honey, and green tea show mixed results for wound healing but are generally considered safe and may be beneficial for some people.
Various plant oils have been shown to improve the symptoms of atopic dermatitis and help protect the skin while it heals, potentially reducing the chance of scars. Promising ingredients for eczema may include:
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, hydroquinone is more effective. There are some health concerns about 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.
If some scars are thicker or bumpy, topical silicone dioxide may help soften the skin.
Older eczema scars may sometimes be treated with laser resurfacing or microdermabrasion. You’ll need to consult an experienced dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon to determine if either option is a good choice for your needs. Although lasers can improve the look of scarring, they can’t get rid of scars altogether.
The results from laser treatment take time to become apparent. Special care should be taken to help you get the best results, including quitting smoking at least two weeks beforehand, avoiding retinoids and glycolic acid products, staying away from blood thinners like aspirin, and protecting your skin from the sun. Ask to see before-and-after pictures to get a realistic idea of what to expect from your procedure.
MyEczemaTeam is the social network for people with eczema and their loved ones. On MyEczemaTeam, more than 42,000 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.