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The Positive & Negative types of Friction on a Healing Scar

Friction can have both positive and negative impacts on a scar during the healing process, depending on the intensity and duration of the friction. Here's how it can affect a healing scar:

Positive Impact: Think Post- Surgery Lymphatic Massage

  1. Increased Blood Flow: Mild, controlled friction, such as gentle massaging of the scar tissue, can stimulate blood flow to the area. Improved blood circulation can aid in the delivery of essential nutrients and oxygen to the scar, which may promote healing and reduce the appearance of the scar over time.

  2. Softening of Scar Tissue: Gentle massage and friction can help soften and break down the collagen fibers that make up scar tissue. This can make the scar tissue more pliable and potentially reduce its stiffness and tightness.

Negative Impact: Constant clothing contact creating friction.

  1. Irritation and Inflammation: Excessive or harsh friction on a healing scar can lead to irritation and inflammation. This can cause the scar to become red, swollen, and more noticeable. In some cases, excessive friction can even disrupt the healing process, leading to delayed healing or potential complications.

  2. Worsening of Hypertrophic or Keloid Scars: In individuals prone to hypertrophic or keloid scarring (abnormal scar tissue growth), excessive friction can exacerbate the condition, causing the scar to become raised, thickened, and more prominent.

  3. Scab Removal: Picking at scabs or repeatedly rubbing the scar can disrupt the formation of a protective scab. Scabs play a crucial role in shielding the healing wound and promoting skin regeneration. Premature removal of scabs can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of infection. It also makes it likely for skin pigmentation issues to occur.

Guidelines for Managing Friction on Healing Scars:

  • Minimize Excessive Friction: It's essential to minimize excessive friction on healing scars. Avoid rough handling, tight clothing, or abrasive materials that may rub against the scar.

  • Use Gentle Massaging Techniques: If your healthcare provider recommends scar massage, follow their guidelines and use gentle, circular motions. Applying a silicone-based scar gel or cream during massage may help reduce friction and improve scar appearance.

  • Protect the Scar: Consider covering the scar with a silicone-based scar sheet or dressing to protect it from friction and irritation. These products can also help hydrate and flatten the scar.

  • Follow Medical Advice: Always follow the specific aftercare instructions provided by your healthcare provider or surgeon for your particular type of scar and healing process. It is important to inform your esthetician of any scar history you have.

In summary, while mild, controlled friction can have some positive effects on scar healing, excessive or abrasive friction can be detrimental. It's crucial to strike a balance and take measures to protect and care for your healing scar to achieve the best possible outcome. Consulting with a healthcare provider or dermatologist for personalized scar management advice is advisable, especially for significant or problematic scars.


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