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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
If home remedies aren’t proving as effective as you hoped in fighting eczema scarring, then prescription treatments are your next weapon:
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.