As irksome as the itch of eczema can be, sometimes the scarring it leaves behind as a painful reminder can be all the more distressing – especially when it’s hard to hide from the rest of the world, like on the face, neck, arms or hands.
Thankfully, time is a great healer for many things, and it’s no exception when it comes to the scars you’re left with from scratching your eczema; with that said, there’s no guarantee that they will ever completely go away on their own.
Depending on how severe it is, sometimes you may need a helping hand from at-home remedies, prescription treatments, or professional therapy to subdue those stubborn scars. Otherwise, these dark marks can slowly begin to take over your life; scratching away at your self-esteem, spoiling your social life, and leaving you desperate to find a useful treatment.
Order safe and effective treatment for acneView all treatments
If you’ve been looking for effective ways to brighten your eczema blotches, then look no further because we’ve got your back (and any other body part where they decide to set up shop). Keep reading to understand the causes of eczema scarring, things you can do to prevent it from appearing in the first place, and how to banish your existing burdensome blemishes.
What causes eczema scarring?
Eczema-induced scarring is partly caused by repeatedly and vigorously scratching affected areas. Such scratching only creates a vicious cycle; the more you scratch, the itchier the skin gets, causing damage to the skin’s barrier, worsening inflammation, and increasing the risk of infection.
The skin also loses moisture as a result of the constant scratching, which can make it become dry and hardened, thereby inducing scarring. The scars can look different, depending on a person’s skin tone. On light skin, patches may appear pink or red, while on darker skin, they look more grey.
Will, my eczema scars ever disappear?
There isn’t a simple yes or no answer to this question; whether or not your scarring will ever completely go away depends on factors like how dark or aggressive the scarring is, to begin with, your skin type, and how well you care for your skin.
Evidence suggests that those with darker skin are more likely to suffer from a severe case of eczema and, consequently, be left with darker scarring, but treatments to lighten such areas are the same, no matter the skin type.
While light scarring usually disappears over time and through proper skin care, darker patches will probably stick around for the long haul and become somewhat lighter at best – but you can always use makeup to cover them up if they’re bothering you.
The first rule to fight to the scar is to avoid scratching, no matter how intense it gets. Of course, this is easier said than done, and despite every effort to cease the scratch while you’re awake, there’s just no guarantee that you’ll stick to it whilst asleep. You could always try wearing eczema gloves at bedtime to prevent scratching and protect your skin.
Knowing your eczema triggers can work wonders for preventing future flare-ups and lessen existing ones. Whether its stress, allergies, soaps or lotions, or certain foods, steering clear of anything that aggravates your sensitive skin is essential.
A good skin care regimen is the key to improving scar appearance. Always wash your face with a light, soap-free wash – stay away from harsh, astringent products that strip the skin of essential moisture and disrupt natural pH levels. Also, focus on using emollient moisturizers that are specifically designed to repair and replenish the skin without clogging your pores and causing further inflammation. Make wearing sunscreen a daily habit, even on dull days, as harmful UV rays from the sun can darken your scars.
What treatment options are available for my eczema scarring?
There are a whole host of effective remedies to help soothe the skin and minimize the appearance of unsightly scars. Of course, all skin is different and what works for one person may not necessarily work for another – it’s all about experimenting with different treatments to figure out which one works best for you.
Before you pull out the big guns and go straight to prescription-strength treatments or abrasive procedures to treat your eczema scarring, it’s a good idea to start off light and natural in the form of at-home remedies, many of which you’ll find in your kitchen cupboard:
- Oatmeal: Not only does oatmeal protect the skin and soothes irritation from eczema, but it can also help maintain its surface pH to effectively guard against external bacteria, allergens or irritants.
- Aloe vera: As a natural antibacterial moisturizer, aloe vera hydrates the skin and reduces inflammation and the risk of infection.
- Honey: Manuka honey is renowned for its healing properties, making it a good option for treating the dryness of eczema and speeding the healing process.
- Shea butter: The hydrating properties of shea butter help soften and reduce scarring and can also reduce any swelling associated with eczema.
- Coconut oil: The fatty acid in this oil can provide a moisturizing barrier for the skin whilst killing any bacteria lingering on the surface that increase the risk of infection.
- Castor oil: Another oil that is high in essential fatty acids, castor oil can help heal scars by breaking down tissue damage and promoting collagen production.
- Chamomile: Owing to its antioxidant properties, chamomile can help fight scars whilst tightening the skin and improving complexion.
Prescription and over-the-counter treatments
If home remedies aren’t proving as effective as you hoped in fighting eczema scarring, then prescription treatments are your next weapon:
- Topical corticosteroids: An over-the-counter or prescription corticosteroid is a first-line treatment for minimizing eczema flare-ups and the associated scarring.
- Silicone: One clinically-proven method to help flatten or fade scars is silicone gel technology by helping to retain moisture and promote collagen production.
- Dermabrasion: This option may not be the one for you, particularly if you have active and severe eczema; however, by resurfacing the upper layer of the skin, it can be an effective treatment for lightening and fading scars.
- Laser resurfacing: Again, there is a chance that eczema can become aggravated by laser treatments. But if your eczema is well-controlled, low-intensity laser therapy can help remove upper layers of the skin and stimulate collagen production to help fade scars.
- Ultraviolet light therapy: This procedure involves the scarred skin being exposed to pulses of UV light to help it heal and relieve any inflammation.
For many sufferers, eczema is a lifelong condition that tends to fluctuate in terms of flare-ups. As uncomfortable as the itch can be, often the scarring it leaves behind can cause just as much psychological pain, especially when it’s difficult to cover up.
Thankfully, the above techniques have proven to help those dealing with dark scarring – clinically or anecdotally. Give them a go and see if they can help you; after all, you have nothing to lose - just be sure to try one at a time and give it a couple of weeks to see if the treatment works before moving on to another.
- Bular, M. 2017, 6 Ideas on how to get rid of Eczema Scars on Legs, Millennial Magazine, viewed 20th September 2020, https://millennialmagazine.com/2017/08/24/6-ideas-on-how-to-get-rid-of-eczema-scars-on-legs/
- Do, H. 2019, 13 Home Remedies for Eczema Scars, Itchy Little World, viewed 20th September 2020, https://itchylittleworld.com/13-home-remedies-for-eczema-scars/
- Pangilinan, K. 2020, How to Heal from Eczema Scars, Yoro Naturals, viewed 20th September 2020, https://yoronaturals.com/blogs/blog/eczema-scars
- Souter, E. 2014, 7 Best Ways to Heal those Eczema Scars, Café Mom, viewed 20th September 2020, https://cafemom.com/lifestyle/170470-7_best_ways_to_heal