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September 07, 2020
Most people get chickenpox at least once during their lifetime. Chickenpox is a highly contagious virus common during childhood. The disease is curable, but it leaves pockmarks visible on certain parts of the body.
The disease makes the skin itchy, and when a person scratches or picks at the rashes, scars develop. These scars may be temporary or permanent.
The temporary scars can take 6 to 12 months to fade. But the permanent ones remain as a constant reminder of the scourge. In a severe case scenario, the scarring damages the upper layer of the skin.
The scars may appear sunken. While these scars are not painful, they are bothersome to some people especially if on the face or legs.
Getting rid of chickenpox scars that don’t seem to fade can take lots of time and effort. However, several over-the-counter (OTC) remedies, a handful of home remedies, and clinical procedures may help minimize the scars’ appearance.
Research shows that some scar treatment methods can work for one person and fail for another. Nevertheless, there are several treatment methods to try on your chickenpox marks and see how it goes.
To start with, here are a few home remedies to help remove the scars:
Most home remedies’ effectiveness has no evidence and is largely anecdotal. Only a few studies are available to support their use. However, this does not mean that they do not work, only that their results are not predictable. Before you proceed using any natural product, first consult with your dermatologist to ensure its safe for you.
Some of the home remedies for chickenpox scar removal include:
While there is little to no evidence on some home remedies’ effectiveness, researchers have proven that the following professional ingredients can remove the pockmarks:
Though costly, clinical treatments are effective in treating chickenpox scars. Consult with your doctor on the best professional remedies for your skin. Some medical treatments are safe when used in small doses or when not combined with other medications.
Here are the best professional options include:
Several OTC remedies can help fight the chickenpox scars. Before you try any cream, ensure that the wounds are completely healed. The ingredients to use include:
According to a 2016 study, vitamin E can minimize the severity of scars and improve the appearance of dry and damaged skin around the scars.
However, some studies claim that it has adverse effects on the skin, including itching and rashes. If you wish to try it, talk with your dermatologist to better understand whether it’s safe for you.
Daily application of Rosehip oil improves the scar appearance, reduces discoloration and scar redness according to a 2015 research. Further research is necessary to determine whether it is a reliable treatment for scars and its side effects.
Before applying any essential oils, you should dilute it in a carrier oil to avoid adverse reactions. Rosehip oil, including KORA Organics Noni Glow Face Oil, is available in some online and health stores.
Exfoliating a scar removes rough or discolored tissues. This helps reveal the younger tissue beneath the skin.
Exfoliants such as glycolic and lactic acid are ideal in removing dead skin and promoting healthy cell growth.
Exfoliants can either be chemical or mechanical:
Exfoliating scrubs work by removing dead skin cells and enhancing cell regeneration. This eventually makes the chickenpox scars slowly fade away. Using facial scrubs at least once to twice a week can help achieve maximum results.
Retinol can speed up the scar healing process as it promotes the regeneration of healthy new cells. The product contains an antioxidant formula that makes the skin more sensitive to the sun, and therefore you need to use sunscreen when going outside.
Scar ointments such as Mederma help fade old scars. To be effective, you’ll need to use them for 3 to 6 months to start experiencing the results. Mederma improves the overall scar appearance, color, and texture, making them smoother, softer, and less noticeable. This product won’t help much if your chickenpox scars are severe.
Silicone products like silicone gel and sheet are designed to shrink, fade and flatten both new and old scars. These products work best by making the scarred tissue hydrated. Silicone strips are effective in flattening the scars.
For maximum results, you’ll need to use silicone sheets daily for at least six months. Throughout this period, use sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 and above when getting sun exposure to minimize scar hyperpigmentation. Silicone products are available at online pharmacies.
Bleaching agents are ideal if the chickenpox scars have some form of hyperpigmentation. This helps them fade and achieve a more natural skin tone.
For severe scarring, medical treatments are the best. Here are some of the best medical treatments:
Chickenpox scar removal surgery is the most effective method for severe scarring. This can ve either a skin graft or excision.
A skin graft that involves transplanting skin from another place to fill in the scarred area. It can either be autograft, allograft, or xenograft. Autograft involves obtaining skin from the patient’s donor site, Allograft involves getting skin from another person, and xenograft is from other species such as a pig.
Excision involves cutting away the chickenpox scar. The doctors can cut out the skin section that is scarred and then stitch the wound back up. Though this method leaves a new scar in the region, those with deep pockmarks would trade their old scars with that new linear scar.
Steroid injection can help reduce the appearance of the scar. Injecting steroids directly to the scar tissue minimizes redness, itchiness, and any burning sensation.
Soft-tissue fillers can help add shape to the scarred area. If the pockmarks appear sunken, then this would be the best method to use. The process involves injecting a safe material such as hyaluronic acid or fat into the scar to fill up the indentation. A repeat treatment about once in six months will be necessary.
Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are effective techniques used to improve the scars tissue appearance. Dermabrasion uses a stiff and rapidly rotating wire brush to scrape away the dermis and other deeper scar tissues.
Microdermabrasion, on the other hand, involves using a device to blow sodium bicarbonate and zinc oxide particles onto the skin to remove or loosen the scar tissue. Also, the skin therapist may use a tool with a covering of diamond particles to brush the scarred area. Then, the therapist can use a vacuum to remove the residue that remains on the skin.
Chemical peels involve the same concept of dermabrasion, but it uses chemicals and strong acids to loosen or break down the skin’s outer layer.
The skin beneath the scars gets exposed after the procedure. It looks younger and the scar tissue is less visible. Also, it tends to be tenderer, and thus, you should cover it or use sunscreen to protect it from damage several days after.
Though some chemical peels are available over the counter, they are not as effective as the doctors administer.
Micro-needling may also be an effective chickenpox scar removal method. It involves rolling a small tool with a covering of tiny needles over the scarred area. This helps puncture the skin repeatedly and increase the collagen (protein responsible for healing a wound) production levels.
Before performing this procedure, the doctor first applies anesthesia to numb the area around the scar. After the procedure, the skin looks smoother. To see better results, go for multiple sessions of the micro-needling process. This procedure disadvantage is that it causes some bleeding.
Laser therapy is another standard method of getting rid of chickenpox scars. Chickenpox scar removal laser therapy involves exposing the scarred area to high-energy light to minimize scar appearance.
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