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Kids and Scars: Avoiding Long-Term Image Issues

Dr. Robyn Silverman

Falling down and getting cuts and scrapes are a common part of every childhood. Most children, however, aren ’t worrying about the scars that can result from their childhood antics. However, as your children enter their teens, they may feel differently about their scars.

It ’s important for you to care for these scars to ease possible frustrations and any long-term impact on his or her body image. By instilling good skin and scar care habits early to help reduce the appearance of your child ’s scars and ease their concerns about their appearance. With this in mind, I ’ve compiled some easy, at home tips for caring for your child ’s skin, including how to best reduce the appearance of a scar.

General Skin Care:

  • Make sure your child washes his or her hands regularly to help prevent the spread of germs. Use gentle, fragrance-free cleansers and soaps that won ’t irritate their skin. After bathing, apply a gentle moisturizer to prevent dry skin and rashes.
  • Childhood is the ideal time to instill safe sun habits in your children. Whenever they are outside, be sure to apply sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher, and reapply regularly. Additionally, children should wear protective clothing such as hats and long-sleeve shirts when possible. Wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when outside will help prevent hyperpigmentation of scars as well.

Skin Care:

  • Properly caring for cuts and scrapes is important to reduce the appearance of a resulting scar. If your child has a cut or scrape, the most important step is to keep the wound clean, moist and covered while it is healing. Using an antibiotic cream will also help to minimize the appearance of a scar while it heals.
  • A topical cream or gel that is applied directly to the skin may help reduce the appearance of scars. I recommend using a product that is kid-friendly and can be used on most types of scars (for more information about the different types of scars, see Scars 101). Mederma® for Kids is one example of a topical product that helps improve the overall appearance, color, texture and softness of scars, and is safe for use on kids 2-12 years old. Not only is it the #1 pediatrician-recommended product for kids ’ scars, but kids will also love that the gel goes on purple, dries clear, has a fun grape scent, and with adult supervision they can even apply it themselves. As a parent, you ’ll love that it is non-toxic and non-staining.

It ’s important to remember that scars never go away completely. The goal is to be as diligent as possible with your child ’s scar care routine to ensure the health of his or her skin while reducing the size and appearance of scars as much as possible. By caring for scars early, they are less likely to be contributors to body image frustrations later on in life.

All information in the Mederma® Learning Center is intended for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice. You should seek professional medical care if you have any concerns about your skin.