Burns: Scar Management

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Scars form as a normal part of healing when the skin is damaged from a burn, trauma, or surgery. Everyone forms different scars.

It can take up to 2 years for scars to heal completely. It is important to use scar management techniques on your child’s scar. This will help to make the scar more flat, smooth and flexible. The more flat, smooth and flexible a scar is the less painful and noticeable it is for your child.

Daily care of the burned area

  • Wash the child’s healed burn daily with mild soap, rinse well and pat dry.
  • Apply ______________ moisturizer to the burned areas at least 3-5 times each day.
  • Perform scar massage and range of motion exercises as instructed by the therapist.

Scar massage and lotion

  • Massage in all directions (see Picture 1): up, down, side to side, circular, pulling apart, pulling outward, folding together, and crisscross.
  • Fragrance-free lotion and oils can be used to moisturize and soften the scar during massage (i.e. Aquaphor®, Eucerin®, Cocoa butter).

Sun protection and outdoor activity

  • Your doctor will answer any questions you may have about your child’s activities. Encourage your child to take part in typical play at home and school.
  • An extra or old garment may be worn for water play because chlorine in pools and the sand in ocean water can weaken the elastic in the garment.
  • Replace wet garments with dry ones directly after water play.
  • A sunblock/sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater should be used on all healed burned areas. It is best for the child to play outdoors in the early morning or later afternoons to decrease the chance of sunburn.
  • Your child can get a sunburn through the garment. Sunscreen should be applied to all burned areas and additional clothing (i.e. swim shirts) may be worn over the garment.

Massage Directions

Burns: Scar Management (PDF)

HH-IV-198 3/18 Copyright 2018, Nationwide Children’s Hospital