Any wound or incision that injures the deep dermis layer of the skin has the potential to become a scar. Everyone’s skin is different in how it scars and how it heals. Winter weather is especially tough on the skin, scarred or not. Here are some ways to minimize the harsh effects of wintertime on your scars.
Stay hydrated. Skin that is moist and wounds that are well hydrated heal faster. Cold and windy weather causes your body to dehydrate more quickly. The air is drier, and a stiff breeze whisks away the moisture on your skin. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. Remember that the higher the altitude, the drier the air.
Keep in mind that your body has to work harder to moisten and warm cold air to match your body temperature. Stay warm when possible and keep up proper nutrition if you plan to be outdoors a lot. This way, your body can spend its energy on healing, instead of on keeping itself warm and hydrated.
Avoid wearing restrictive clothing that will rub against healing scars or slow blood flow to the area. Avoid clothing like wool or mohair sweaters that shed fibers that can get caught in wounds. When using scar medicine such as Scarfade, consider using silicone sheets instead of scar cream to prevent the scar cream from rubbing off and from discoloring the fabric through contact.
Ultraviolet light slows healing and radiation from the sun’s rays can cause the color of scar tissue to be more prominent. Keep healing wounds and developing scars out of the sunlight. Sunscreen can be worn for added protection. Look for SPF of 15 or greater.
When scars are located on joints and parts of the body that expand and contract frequently, like the hands, knees and elbows, healing skin can be re-injured and reopened. This slows down the healing process and may make scars more prominent.
Keep the wound clean and protected from infection. Covering it during the first week or so with a bandage or dressing prevents exposure to bacteria and infection.