Chickenpox scars are more likely to develop if a person picks or scratches at the rash. The scars may be bothersome for some people, especially if they are on visible parts of the body, such as the face.
Removing chickenpox scars takes some effort and patience, but there are many over-the-counter (OTC) treatments and medical procedures that may help reduce them.
Chickenpox scar removal or reduction
A range of home remedies and medical treatments may help reduce the appearance of chickenpox scars.
Some people recommend natural skin products for chickenpox scar removal. While many of these products may be beneficial for skin health overall, it is common for manufacturers to make bold claims regarding their effectiveness.
It is best to speak to a doctor before using a natural product for scar removal.
Natural products that people may try using to remove chickenpox scars include:
- aloe vera
- cocoa butter
- argan oil
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- jojoba oil
- shea butter
- lemon juice
- baking soda
These ingredients may be helpful for keeping the skin healthy or supporting scar treatment, but there is little research to confirm that they are effective.
However, researchers have tested the ability of the following ingredients to remove scars:
A 2016 review of studies on vitamin E as a treatment for scars noted their mixed results. While some studies have shown that vitamin E leads to a significant improvement in the appearance of scars, others have not reported any benefits.
Some studies also found that vitamin E causes additional adverse effects, such as a rash and itching.
People who wish to try using a vitamin E cream should speak to a dermatologist first. Vitamin E creams are available in pharmacies and online.
Research from 2015 found that the daily application of a particular brand of rosehip oil to scars for 12 weeks improved their appearance, reducing redness and discoloration.
The study was small, however, so further research is necessary to determine whether it is an effective treatment.
Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion are similar techniques, both of which can be effective for improving the appearance of scar tissue.
Microdermabrasion involves a dermatologist using a device that blows zinc oxide or sodium bicarbonate particles onto the skin to loosen and remove the scar tissue. Alternatively, they may brush the scarred area using a device that has a covering of diamond particles. The skin care specialist will then use a vacuum to remove the residue remaining on the skin.
Dermabrasion uses a stiff, rapidly rotating brush to scrape away the top layers and deeper areas of the scar.
Like dermabrasion, chemical peels also resurface the skin, but they use chemicals instead to break down the skin’s top layers.
Doctors use a strong acid, which breaks down the older layers of skin. The layers of skin underneath look more youthful so the scar tissue may not be as noticeable.
It is important to note that the skin will also be tender and prone to damage for several days after a chemical peel.
People can take some preventative action to reduce their risk of highly visible chickenpox scars. This may involve:
- Avoiding scratching: Scratching at chickenpox sores or scabs may lead to scar tissue. For most people, the temporary relief they feel from scratching the sore is not worth the long-term scarring.
- Wearing sunscreen at all times: Wearing sunscreen may help prevent a scar from getting darker. Darker scars tend to be more noticeable, so wearing a strong sunscreen of at least SPF 30 may help reduce their visibility.
- Moisturizing the skin: Keeping the skin hydrated may be beneficial during a chickenpox outbreak.
- Trying antihistamines: Some people may find that taking OTC antihistamines helps reduce the itchiness of chickenpox. It is also possible to purchase versions of common antihistamines that are safe for children.
Many treatments are available to help remove chickenpox scars. Home remedies may help people with mild scars, while medical treatments are available for more severe cases.
Anyone who has chickenpox should ask a doctor or dermatologist what their best option is for dealing with the open sores. It is vital to avoid scratching to help prevent scarring.
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