First-degree burns do not scar. Second-degree burns may scar. Third- and fourth-degree burns scar often and may require skin graft surgery to minimize scarring.
Patients who suffer severe burns (second-degree burns or worse) should talk with their doctor about treatment to help their burns heal, as well as to avoid scarring. Doctors may also instruct patients to continue home care after leaving a medical facility or hospital to prevent or minimize burn scars.
But a lot of patients look for alternative treatment or home remedies, some of which are not effective and might be harmful.
Which home remedies may doctors recommend?
Some at-home self-care treatments doctors might recommend may reduce the appearance of scars. Your home care treatment plan may include:
- Changing dressings regularly to prevent infection
- Pressure garments
- Physical therapy and at-home exercises (such as to prevent contractures)
Follow your doctor’s instructions and check with your doctor before starting any home remedy for your burn or to prevent scarring.
Will certain oils help prevent burn scars?
Unless specifically directed by a medical professional, do not apply oils on the skin or the burn wound right after the injury, as they can trap the heat in the wound.
If you are interested in using oil on your burn after receiving initial care, first discuss it with your doctor. Some believe that certain oils may hydrate and soothe burn injuries, which they believe may prevent scarring.
Debunked Home Remedies for Burn Scars
Some home remedies that promise to prevent scarring might be harmful. You should never use these home remedies for burns:
- Butter – Never slather butter on a burn wound, especially right after the injury. The butter will hold heat on the wound, which can make the wound worse, not better. Also, if you grab the stick of butter from your refrigerator, it will have bacteria on it, which can increase the likelihood of infection. Butter serves no useful purpose in healing your wound or preventing scars.
- Vinegar – Vinegar is an acid. It is not an appropriate treatment for burned tissue. Pouring vinegar on a burn can increase pain. It is not effective for the healing process or for preventing burn scars.
Again, follow any at-home treatment plan that your doctor gives you and talk to your doctor before trying any home remedy to ensure it is safe and to discuss its efficacy.