How to Get Rid of Eczema Scars
Eczema is a common skin condition that causes skin itching, inflammation and sometimes, eczema can lead to skin discolouration and scars over time. Unfortunately, scarring can be a common problem in people with eczema, particularly after a bad eczema flare-up. The marks left behind by a particularly aggressive eczema flare can be just as distressing as the flare up itself, especially if the eczema scarring is on the face.
So, why does eczema leave scars and is there anything we can do to avoid them? As difficult as it can be, the best thing we can do to avoid eczema scarring is to avoid scratching our skin. This is because repeated scratching of our eczema is one of the main reasons for skin damage and scarring.
Here, we look at how eczema rashes cause scarring, what eczema scars look like and some effective ways to lighten them. Plus, if you’re looking for ways to naturally heal eczema scars, we’ve put together a list of home eczema care remedies for you to try.
Why Does Eczema Leave Scars?
Eczema can be incredibly itchy and it can be difficult to avoid the temptation of scratching, especially in our sleep. But if we scratch so much that we cause a wound and our skin starts to bleed, the normal skin healing process will begin - and it's this process of scratching your eczema inflamed skin and the healing afterwards, that results in a scar.
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How the Skin Heals Scars
There are four stages to skin healing from any kind of wound, including in skin that's experiencing eczema; haemostasis, inflammation, proliferation and remodelling.
- Haemostasis - as soon as we create a wound, the immune system kicks into action, releasing the chemicals needed for blood clotting. These chemicals thicken the blood in the area, eventually stopping the bleeding.
- Inflammation - inflammation might sound bad, but actually, a low level of inflammation is good for healing as the immune system fights any infectious bacteria that might be colonising the wound. This is why healing skin sometimes appears red and swollen and feels warm - it’s the immune response in action and it’ll be protecting the area for the next few days.
- Proliferation - during this stage, the skin is repairing itself using the protein, collagen. New collagen fibres are released to cover the damaged area, causing it to appear pink and shiny.
- Remodelling - also called the maturation phase, remodelling begins around three weeks after the initial damage and can last for up to a year depending on the level of damage. Remodelling causes the formation of scar tissue and in the case of eczema, is why scarring happens.
What Do Eczema Scars Look Like?
The colour of our skin is largely determined by the level of melanin in our skin. Melanin is our skin pigment, the more melanin we have, the darker our skin. Eczema scars look different on different people, and the colour of your eczema scars will depend on your skin colour and level of melanin.
What Colour Are Eczema Scars?
Wounds that have healed will usually leave some level of scarring, that over time, tends to blend in with our skin tone. But eczema scars can behave differently, with different levels of pigmentation, causing eczema scarring to appear more visible than the surrounding skin.
Scarring caused by eczema may be more noticeable earlier in lighter skin, where they appear pink or red. In darker skin, they may appear purple, brown or grey.
Eczema scars can also appear darker if they have more pigmentation, or ‘hyperpigmentation’, or lighter if they have less pigmentation, or ‘hypopigmentation’.
Over time, you may experience skin swelling associated with eczema and your skin may also start to thicken - a condition called lichenification. This is a form or eczema scarring that can appear pink on light skin and grey on dark skin.
What Shape Are Eczema Scars?
Eczema scarring can also appear different in shape from other scars, too. Many types of scar flatten out against the skin over time, but two other types of scar tend not to go through this process - hypertrophic scars and keloid scars.
Hypertrophic scars stay raised above the surrounding, unaffected skin, staying the same size and shape of the original wound to the skin. Sometimes, they do flatten out over a number of years. Keloid scars also remain raised above the skin, but they become larger than the original wound and will never flatten out.
Do Eczema Scars Go Away?
It very much depends on how extensive your eczema scarring is, whether it will go away completely or not. Light scarring is likely to disappear over time, using the right products to manage eczema and taking steps to treat the causes of your skin health condition.
Sadly, if your eczema scarring is very dark and aggressive, you may only be able to lighten the scarring and then use effective cover up makeup to hide the rest. But all skin is different, even eczema prone skin, so don’t give up hope.
Can I Lighten Scarring from Eczema?
If your eczema scarring is particularly raw or aggressive, focus on trying to lighten your scarring, rather than ways to get rid of it completely. Both aloe vera and cocoa butter can help to lighten eczema scars when used overnight every night. See below for more tips on using aloe vera and cocoa butter on eczema scarring.
Makeup meant for covering scars and blemishes will also help to hide the scarring caused by eczema.
Treatment Options for Eczema Scars and Dark Spots
Prevention, as they say, is better than cure, and one major step in scar and dark spot removal is to know your triggers and treat your eczema symptoms as they occur. Sadly, if our type of eczema gets as far as damaging the skin, there are no fast or overnight ways to get rid of eczema scars. But that's not to say it's impossible, it just takes time.
Just like lightening eczema scars, getting rid of dark spots caused by eczema will depend on your skin type and the extent of the dark spots.
Treatment of Eczema Scars on Black Skin
The science suggests that those with black skin are more likely to develop more severe eczema than those with lighter skin. Once it clears up, it can leave behind dark patches of skin. Treating and lightening these areas naturally is the same though, for all skin types, and there are plenty of effective home cures for eczema scarring.
Interested to know more about how eczema affects different skin tones? Why not read our blog on the effect of eczema on people of colour.
How to Get Rid of Eczema Scars
There are lots of treatments available for reducing the appearance of scars, including those caused by eczema.
To learn more about the kind of treatments you can try in a skin care salon or clinic, you can read our blog about scars and scar treatments. These include laser and skin peel treatments.
How to Heal Eczema Scars Naturally
It is possible to reduce the appearance of eczema scars using non invasive or surgical methods.
Below, we'll take a look at treating eczema scars with natural products you may already have at home, and then we'll take a look at some topical creams for eczema scars that may be beneficial.
Home Remedies for Eczema Scarring
There are some remedies that can be effective in soothing and minimising the appearance of eczema scars. So here, we’re going to look at how to start to remove eczema scars using natural products.
Some may work for you whilst others may prove less effective. But since they’re all natural and may already be in your cupboards at home, it can be good to experiment. Plus, we think the best skincare ingredients often come from our kitchen cupboards, and they'll also serve to soothe eczema symptoms too!
Castor oil is rich in essential fatty acids (ricinoleic, palmitic, linoleic, stearic and oleic acids) and because of that, and because it absorbs rapidly into the skin, it’s also a master scar healer.
It breaks down internal and external tissue damage and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin. Massage a little castor oil into eczema scars for 3 to 4 minutes each evening before bed to help soothe the skin and reduce scarring.
Blue Cypress Oil
Used by the Australian Aborigines for centuries, this is an unusual essential oil with healing properties.
It’s also the only tree-based essential oil that is bright blue in colour and when rubbed onto scar tissue twice a day over a period of several weeks, damage gradually disappears. Make sure you mix this essential oil with a carrier oil such as coconut or castor oil before application.
Lemon juice can be great for lightening and brightening areas of skin that have been left red or darkened by eczema. The high level of vitamin C encourages your body to produce healthy new skin cells whilst the acidity works as a lightening agent.
Once your eczema flare up has cleared up, apply fresh lemon juice to the affected area twice daily and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can exfoliate the skin with a mixture of one-part lemon juice and one-part bicarbonate of soda a few times a week before bed.
Pure cocoa butter applied to dark scars once or twice a day has been shown to lighten dark scars and even skin tone over time. Just be sure to use it pure, rather than finding a cream or salve that contains it.
Shea butter is a great source of vitamins A and E as well as the protein keratin. It helps to promote the production of new skin cells, fading scars and generally helping achieve an even, glowing complexion. Apply straight to the affected areas twice a day for the best results.
If you had eczema as a child, there's a chance your parents stuck you in a bath full of oatmeal once or twice. Well, they were right to do so! Oatmeal not only soothes the skin, reducing the chances of accidental scratching, but is also a natural cleanser, great for reducing scars.
Blend 2 cups of oatmeal to a fine powder and add to a warm bath. Soak for 30 minutes, ideally twice a day for a particularly aggressive form of eczema and scarring.
It’s not just great for cooking. Packed with Vitamins A and C, when mixed with water or milk, nutmeg powder forms a thick paste that can be applied to your scars every day to both soothe the skin and reduce redness and inflammation.
All honey, but Manuka in particular, can help to stimulate wound healing. This means your flare ups are less likely to result in scarring. It’s also great for treating any pre-existing scarring that you might have.
For an effective at home salve, try mixing Manuka honey with Manuka oil (two parts honey to one part oil) and massaging directly onto your affected areas for 2-3 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil helps to reduce inflammation in the skin, too much of which can cause scarring to appear worse. It’s rich in essential fatty acids that help to produce healthy new skin cells and reduce scarring, itching and irritation.
It’s also thought that hemp seed oil can help to improve the elasticity of the skin as well as strengthening it’s defences against skin infections. Dilute hemp seed oil in a carrier oil and apply directly to scarring once a day.
A medicinal plant, chamomile is rich in antioxidants that can help to reduce eczema scarring without irritating the surrounding skin. In fact, some studies have revealed that chamomile skin cream can be just as effective as prescription strength hydrocortisone cream.
Apply chamomile cream to eczema scars every day, or use cold chamomile tea leaves after brewing chamomile tea.
Rich in antibacterial and antiseptic agents, lavender is an essential oil used to soothe, destress and promote wound healing. Apply lavender oil (always diluted in a carrier oil) to eczema scars each day.
Rich in the compound curcumin, turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Mix turmeric powder with Manuka honey and apply directly to eczema scars. Rinse off with warm water after 10 to 20 minutes.
Taking a lukewarm bath with added alkaline salts is an effective way of reducing acne scarring on the body. Do this for half an hour each day for 14 days. Alternatively, cover affected skin with clothing soaked in alkaline salt water for at least 30 minutes.
Things to Consider When Trying Home Remedies
If you’re going to try any of our home remedies, we would always recommend a systematic approach. Try one remedy at a time and give each one a couple of weeks to start taking effect. What works for one person might not be the same for you, so persevere.
Things to Avoid When Treating Scarring from Eczema
Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, has antiseptic properties and is rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s also able to remove dead skin cells when applied directly to the skin, since it has an exfoliating effect. However, we don't recommend using it on the skin to help treat eczema scarring since it can be very harsh and can strip the skin of beneficial oils.
Topical Treatments for Eczema Scarring
Severe eczema causes worsening scars, and natural solutions might not be enough. Here's some other options.
Ozonated Olive Oil
Ozone (O3) is an unstable form of oxygen making it rich in energy, and known as a ‘super oxygen’. Combining refined olive oil with ‘super oxygen’ creates something greater than the sum of its parts – ozonide, which is able to deeply penetrate the skin’s layers and release the active oxygen directly in the tissues that enables cellular respiration.
Through ozone therapy, an extra dose of oxygen is introduced to your skin cells leading to an increased rate of cell production, growth, and regeneration. This quickens the healing process of facial blemishes, wounds, or scars.
Developed by a group of plastic surgeons to help their patients recover from surgery, HealGel combines the ingredients they found most effective for skin rejuvenation and healing. It includes silicone, which is an essential for scar prevention and skin repair.
Invest in a pot of Snail Repair Perfect Cream from Korea! It helps to rejuvenate the skin and minimise scarring with smoothing, yet slimy, enzymes. The manufacturers have captured these enzymes and put them in a pot of innocuous looking white cream that gently removes dead skin cells, leaving the skin looking fresh, supple and youthful.
Can I Prevent Eczema Scars?
Packed full of scar reducing ingredients, our Overnight Replenishment Night Cream encourages healthy cell turnover while soothing skin and reducing the appearance of scars.
If your scarring is particularly aggressive or resilient to at home remedies and treatments, pay a visit to your doctor or dermatologist. You could also try some of the best supplements for eczema.
You may also be interested in:
- Getting Rid of Eczema
- How to Care for Your Eczema
- Foods that Cause Eczema
- The Effects of Eczema on People of Colour
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.