Scars: What to Do

Very-minor-scarHow a wound heals depends on many things.

Here’s how to help the healing process.

Always clean wounds with lots of running water right after the injury. An infected wound doesn’t heal well.

Cuts that are deep and gape open will heal faster and with less scarring if they are sutured, glued or stapled.

Keep sutured or stapled wounds clean until it’s time to have the sutures or staples taken out. Get the sutures and staples removed when recommended.

Healing wounds should be kept out of the sun for 6 months. Cover up with a hat or clothing. Once the wound has healed, use sunscreen with a high concentration of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (some extra strength diaper creams are 40% zinc).
Silicone sheets are available over the counter to cover new scars as the body heals. These may be effective, however they are difficult to keep on children and parts of the body that move a lot.

Some specialists recommend liquid silicone like Scarguard.

Mederma is sold over the counter, but the research on its effectiveness is very limited.

It can take a full six months for the body to heal and remodel the injured area. At that time the result of scarring can be evaluated.





About Lisa M. Asta, MD

Lisa M. Asta, M.D. is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, for which she is also a Media Representative (she has been interviewed for “Kids Health” on Health Radio, and quoted in Parenting Magazine, USA Today, and the New York Times, among other publications). She is a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco and past pediatric chair at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. She graduated from Temple University School of Medicine and the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Asta is also a writer whose fiction has appeared in Inkwell, Philadelphia Stories, Schuylkill, and Zeniada. Her essays have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Hippocrates, the San Jose Mercury News, and The New Physician Magazine. She is an occasional contributor to KQED public radio’s Perspectives series, and has written articles for Bay Area Parent, Valley Parent, Parents’ Press, and Parents Express, as well as online at,, and She wrote a chapter in The Field Guide to the Normal Newborn, ed. Gary Emmet, M.D. currently has two how-to videos for parents in production which feature Dr. Asta. For more on Dr. Asta’s writing, visit
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