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October 05, 2020
Impetigo is a skin infection that can be spread through close contact with an infected person, such as through physical contact, or by sharing clothing or towels.
Impetigo causes sores and blisters, which can heal in a few weeks with or without treatment. It is most common in young children, but any person can contract it.
There are different types of impetigo, and they manifest and heal differently.
The most common type is the non-bullous impetigo, which begins with the appearance of blisters and sores. They usually occur on the face but can quickly spread to the other parts of the body because of touching and clothing.
The sores and blisters rupture, fester for a few days and eventually form a yellowish crust. The crusts are superficial marks and should heal and clear without leaving scars. The skin’s affected area will look reddish for some time after the crusts have cleared, but the redness will also fade within a short time.
The other type of impetigo is called bullous impetigo. It is less common, but it causes larger blisters that occur in the trunk area. The blisters can measure up to 2cm across. They burst after a few days leaving a huge crust that should also heal without scarring.
However, proper management of the sores and crust is essential. If you continually scratch at the blisters, crusts, or sores, they will develop into scars. This is a rare occurrence but possible nonetheless. And this is how impetigo scars form.
The most severe form of impetigo is called ecthyma. Ecthyma develops if the bullous or non-bullous impetigo is left untreated. It affects deeper layers of the skin and causes painful pus-filled sores that grow into deep wounds. If not well managed, these wounds may develop into scars, some of which may be impossible to get rid of.
The treatment of impetigo scars is less intensive compared to other types of scars. Even just using natural or over-the-counter treatments should be enough to treat the scars, especially if they are smaller and younger.
However, the results will take some time to manifest, so you need to be patient and consistent. It is also essential to seek your dermatologist’s guidance first before starting any treatment.
1. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is one of the most widely used natural skin treatments. It helps in reducing the severity of impetigo and even prevents impetigo scarring because of its antibacterial properties. Tea tree oil also helps to improve the appearance of your scars.
To treat your scars, just put a few drops of tea tree oil in water and apply the solution as a topical wash on impetigo blisters and scars.
Cucumbers are great for improving the appearance of scars on the face or body. You can use them to lighten the scarred area of the skin.
Cucumber extract also helps to reduce the redness that follows impetigo sores. They are rich in vitamin C, promoting cell growth and repairs skin damage caused by the blisters and scars.
You can crush the cucumber into a paste and then apply it directly to the scar. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse with a lot of water.
3. Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera works wonders on impetigo scars. It brightens the scarred area and will also help you eliminate the redness left behind by impetigo crusts.
Aloe vera also has antimicrobial properties that can help to manage impetigo and prevent scarring. It also enhances collagen production, which stimulates the repair of damaged skin.
You can apply the aloe vera gel straight from an aloe vera plant leaf to the scar for the best results. Alternatively, you can buy an ointment that contains a high amount of aloe vera extract.
4. Lemon Juice
Any skincare expert will tell you that lemon juice is a very effective natural skin treatment. Lemon juice is widely known for its bleaching action that diminishes any dark discolorations on the skin. It is also rich in vitamin C, which aids the production of new skin cells.
For the best results, massage fresh lemon juice onto the scar and leave it on for up to 15 minutes and watch your scars gradually fade away.
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda is another effective remedy for scars. It is a great lightening agent and is also a natural exfoliant and will gently scrape off the scar tissue layer by layer, improving your skin’s appearance.
Baking soda also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, and you can start applying it on the impetigo sores early enough to aid healing and prevent scarring.
To use it, make a light paste by mixing one part of baking soda with two water parts. Scrub the paste gently on the scars for about a minute and then rinse it off with a lot of water. Do this regularly for you to get noticeable results. Be careful not to over scrub as you might end up damaging your skin further.
Here are a few impetigo scars removal options to try:
Remedies containing silicone, such as silicone sheet pads or silicone gel, effectively prevent and treat scars. They help to keep the scarred area hydrated and also offer protection from bacteria.
Silicone products soften and flatten scar tissue and are effective even with old scars.
In case there is a risk of developing scars after the impetigo sores have healed, you can start applying the gel as soon as possible.
This should be done twice daily for effective results. The silicon pads should be worn for at least 12 hours a day over a minimum duration of three months.
Many over-the-counter creams and lotions contain exfoliants that are effective in treating scars and skin discoloration. Impetigo scars are not an exception. Exfoliants help to remove the outer layers of dead skin creating space for new smoother skin. This will significantly reduce the appearance of impetigo scars.
The best over-the-counter exfoliants contain glycolic acid and/or a salicylic-mandelic acid. These compounds are great for removing scars and treating pigment damage and should help you get rid of your impetigo scars.
However, exfoliants should be used with caution to prevent the risk of overtreatment, which can be harmful to your skin. Exfoliants will not give you immediate results; they require daily application for any noticeable change to occur.
Sunscreen can help to minimize the severity of your impetigo scars by shielding the scars from exposure to aggressive ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays slow down the process of regeneration, meaning your scars will take longer to clear.
Also, UV rays support pigment production, which may lead to discoloration of the scars, making the area look even worse. Sunscreen will prevent this discoloration and ensure your skin does not have any dark spots after the scars have healed.
Natural or over-the-counter remedies may not be effective in treating deep, old impetigo scars. In such situations, professional treatment might be the only solution.
1. Laser Treatment
Laser treatment is one of the best and most effective ways of treating scars. It may not completely eliminate the scar, but it will significantly improve the scarred area’s appearance.
Laser therapy uses focused light technology to remove the damaged outer layer of the skin. It also boosts the production of new skin cells to cover damaged cells. The cost will depend on the size of the scar and how long the treatment will take.
Cryotherapy is ideal for stubborn ecthyma scars that may be located on the face or the trunk. This treatment involves the gradual destruction of the scar tissue through freezing.
It helps to reduce the size of a scar and minimize hardness and discoloration. After just one treatment, your scar can reduce by 50 percent or more. However, the effectiveness of this treatment will depend on the size and age of the scar. Scars that are younger and smaller respond well to cryotherapy.
If the impetigo scar is not responsive to the treatments suggested above, you might want to consider surgery. This can be done in a variety of ways.
The size of the scar may be surgically reduced to make it less noticeable. Alternatively, the surgeon may also decide to smooth the scarred area to correct a deep scar and make it blend well with the rest of the skin.
It’s easier to prevent an impetigo scar than to treat one. Ensure that you exercise the right care of the impetigo sores and blisters to reduce the risk of scarring and minimize the severity of the scars that may develop. Also, resist scratching your impetigo sores to prevent scarring. Lastly, treat it early enough before it develops into ecthyma, leading to permanent impetigo scarring.
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