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how to massage skin to prevent hypertrophic burn scars

How to prevent hypertrophic burn scars

The International Society for Burn Injury (ISBI) guidelines recommend:

For superficial burns (where a wound heals within two weeks  ):

  1. Avoid sun exposure and use SPF 50+ sun protection.
  2. Massage the skin. This can increase skin flexibility around the scar. It can also help with itching and pain, so you feel better all round.
  3. Moisturise the skin. Hydration helps restore the skin’s barrier function and can reduce roughness and flaking. For burn scars, it’s recommended to apply an emollient (either aqueous cream or an emulsifying ointment) with firm circular movements multiple times a day until the skin is no longer dry or itchy.

For deep dermal burns (where a wound takes three weeks or longer to heal and there is likely to be some hypertrophic scarring):

  • Follow the three steps above but also include therapy with pressure garments and silicone. You can use medical-grade silicone products, such as silicone sheets like Mepiform, as soon as the wound has grown a thin covering of skin and is no longer open to the air. The silicone sheets are thin, flexible and self-adherent. They should be worn for between 12 and 24 hours a day.
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