Scar Massage 101: Should I Massage My Scars?
Whether you’ve had a recent surgery, fallen out of a tree as a child, or suffered an accident that required a few stitches, you’ll know that scarring is just a part of life. Any wound that is significant enough will require scar tissue to reconstruct the surrounding area, and this is largely unavoidable. However, there are a few different tactics we can take to help a) speed up wound healing and b) facilitate scar tissue reconstruction and replacement.
In this blog, we’re going to take a look at one method in particular that can help minimize scars, a scar massage, and how it can be effective when used in tandem with silicone scar products. We’ll answer common questions like does massaging a scar help, what are the benefits of a scar massage, and talk about how to do a scar massage.
What Is A Scar Massage?
A scar massage is just what it sounds like: a light massage to the scar tissue. Gentle pressure is used to rub the tissue and stimulate blood flow. Just like how a back massage can get your blood and lymph fluid flowing, so can scar massage. We’ll go into more about why this is beneficial below.
How To Do A Scar Massage
To do a simple scar massage, use three or four clean, dry fingers and any sensitive skin-safe oil or scar cream to massage your scar. Only use gentle pressure, and always go in a circular motion. Your goal is to reach the underlying layers of tissue without stretching out the scar too much.
A Word of Caution:
You’ll see many other scar massage techniques online, like stretching and pulling at the scar, but these should only be done by a licensed physical therapist. You can do more damage than good to your wound if you massage it improperly.
Does Massaging A Scar Help It Fade?
First, let’s think about what a scar actually is: it’s a collection of extra-fibrous skin filaments that were exuded by skin cells during healing. Scar tissue is formed during the proliferative phase when a wound is big enough to require extensive healing. You can think of it like a pothole or a large crack in the road: something is going to be needed to fill that gap. Regular skin growth isn’t horizontal like that, so scar tissue comes to the rescue!
With this in mind, we can start to understand why scar massage can help your scar fade and physically soften. These fibrous bands of scar tissues are not cells and they’re actually really irregular compared to normal skin. Our bodies have a process that replaces scar tissue over time, but it takes time for new skin cells to grow into the scar area. We can speed this process up by stimulating blood flow and lymphatic flow to the scar area.
How To Maximize Your Scar Healing Remedies
After a cut or surgical incision, the wound closes and a scar begins to form. Your skin heals itself by “filling the gap” with scar tissue as described above. At this time, your skin is also experiencing a lot of water loss, which can cause the surrounding cells to produce extra collagen. This extra collagen is what causes the look of raised & textured scars. This is where silicone products come in.
Silicone scar products help form an occlusive barrier over a scar, limiting the water-loss occurring. This (especially when paired with a scar massage) can help minimize the appearance of your scar tissue, leading to a flatter, softer, smoother scar.
What Are The Benefits Of A Scar Massage?
As you might imagine, a scar massage helps to heal scars faster. The act of massaging stiff tissue can also provide quite a bit of pain relief, especially for patients whose scar feels tight and uncomfortable. Plus, there’s the consideration for underlying scar tissue, within the musculature, from surgical procedures. Massage of these areas can aid with healing, too.
When Should You Start Massaging A Scar?
You can start massaging your scar as soon as your wound has closed completely and your scab has fallen off naturally. It’s incredibly important to not massage or stretch a wound that is still healing. This can worsen your eventual scar, making it larger and raised.
Can Scar Massage Help Old Scars?
Scar tissue continues to form and restructure up until about 2 years. After this point, scar massage will not be helpful. After this point, you’ll be relying on great scar creams, like our Scar Esthetique Silicone Scar Cream, to help you soften and reduce discoloration in your scar. So, make sure to pick up some scar cream or a Scar Heal Kit soon after your injury or surgery for maximum effects!