What is a scar? Eczema most of the time will not leave a scar-like you have when you fell off of your bike and sliced open your knee. But depending on your skin color you may be left with some discoloration known as postinflammatory hypopigmentation (skin lightening) or postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) after the acute flare resolves.
More extensive eczema scarring could occur as a result of excessive, long-term scratching on itch-prone skin. Untrimmed long nails can cause deep erosions on skin that has already been weakened by eczema.
Will Eczema Scars Go Away?
Eczema scarring often fades on its own over time, depending on how extensive the scars are. Light scarring or hypopigmentation tends to occur because after skin is irritated it produces less melanin. Melanin is what gives us our skin color. Hypopigmentation is more obvious in people with darker skin, as the lightened area will stand out more. Also when the affected area is exposed to sunlight the skin that has functioning melanin surrounding the zone of eczema takes more color and the lightening of the skin in the zone of eczema is more pronounced.
Dark, hyperpigmented, scars tend to happen in people with darker skin tones. This kind of temporary scarring happens not just in eczema but in other conditions like after getting bit by an insect, with acne, and any other condition that causes skin inflammation. These lesions may feel like they take forever to go away, but they usually start to fade in 4 to 6 months if the itch-scratch cycle is stopped. It is possible to lighten dark scars with the same methods used to remove lighter scarring, and it is also possible to cover up hyperpigmented eczema scars with makeup or clothing.
How to Lighten Scarring from Eczema
Use a sunblock that is made for sensitive skin. Find a product that avoids irritants like parabens with broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Using sunblock every day will protect skin and also prevent surrounding unaffected skin from getting darker thus reducing the contrast between affected an unaffected skin.
Prevent and Treat First
The best way to reduce scarring from eczema is to prevent it in the first place. Three effective preventative measures for eczema in babies, children, and adults include:
- Skin Care – The right skincare routine can help soothe eczema symptoms and prevent future flare-ups. Daily baths in warm water in which you cleanse skin with a gentle baby eczema shampoo, rinse away all suds, and gently pat skin dry are key. Using a moisturizing cream for eczema after bath time and throughout the day will also go a long way towards preventing eczema scarring and relieving symptoms. If your eczema is not improving with regular skincare mentioned above, you should see your health care provider. Prescription steroid creams or ointments and non-steroidal prescribed topical medications are frequently needed to bring an aggressive eczema flare under control.
- Sunblock – Even when using a sunblock keep up with your twice-daily moisturizing cream routine.
- Itch Control – Scratching eczema rashes can cause scarring, further irritation, and infection, so it’s vital to control your baby’s itching. Keep your baby’s nails clipped short and prevent itching during the night or naptime by placing cotton mittens on your baby’s hands. If you or your child are still unable to sleep due to itching you should consult your healthcare provider.
- Manage Triggers – Triggers are environmental factors that can cause or worsen an eczema flare-up. Common triggers include extreme temperatures, restrictive clothing, irritating materials like wool or polyester, and harsh products like soaps, fragranced detergents, scented dryer sheets, and household cleaners.
You can also soothe eczema symptoms and prevent further irritation by using Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo and Body Wash, an eczema shampoo specifically designed for sensitive young skin. Happy Cappy Moisturizing Cream avoids irritants like parabens, and other preservatives and fragrance additives that are known to worsen already sensitive skin.
It’s important to begin treating your baby’s eczema as soon as you notice it. Early treatment will not only reduce the risk of scarring in the form of hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation but will also greatly improve the quality of your little one’s life.