Common Types of Scars
You might think that a scar is just a scar, but there are different types. Hypertrophic scars are thick and raised but do not extend beyond the area that was injured. Keloids are thick, red or brown scars that grow beyond the injury. Because they can be large and binding, they might need to be surgically removed. Steroid injections are often used to reduce the appearance of keloids and hypertrophic scars. A contracture is an irreversible tightening of the skin. This type of burn scar can give the skin a melted look and can severely limit mobility [source: WebMD].
How to Prevent Burns from Scarring
Scars are your body's response to trauma, and they're a byproduct of your body's healing process. They're made mostly from the protein collagen, which is found in the dermis, or second layer of your skin. After a burn, your body uses collagen as a framework for repairing your tissues. To minimize scarring, you'll need to take care of your body while your injury is healing as well as afterward.
Though severe scarring requires medical treatment, you can treat less serious scars by taking care of yourself both inside and out. First, be sure to keep the damaged area covered with a bandage, and keep the wound moist and bacteria-free. Also, for more serious burns, consider wearing a pressure garment. Your skin contains three layers; the fibers of the second layer form a mesh-like structure that pushes against the top layer. When the skin is badly burned and the layers aren't balanced, scars can form. Pressure garments restore this balance while the layers of skin grow back [source: Ohio State University Medical Center].
Topical treatments are commonly used to try to prevent scars from appearing. Aloe, for instance, is often used to soothe the burn and smoothe the skin. Applying it a few times daily might help the healing process. You might also try applying calendula topically. Propolis, a resin produced by bees, is a traditional natural burn remedy. As with all new ointments and creams, apply it to a small area first to make sure that your body is on board [source: University of Maryland Medical Center].
Another option is to massage the scar, which can help scars to flatten out over a period of months [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. Rubbing can help loosen webby collagen bonds. Use lotion and massage in a circular pattern several times a day once your skin is dry and there's no danger of reopening the wound.
Keep reading for more about types of burns and how they can be treated.