Shingles is a common health condition that affects many people. It is caused by the reactivation of the varicella-zoster virus and can be pretty painful. The rash usually occurs on one side of the body or face, lasts about 3 to 5 weeks, and then disappears without any scarring. However, for other individuals (especially those with weakened immune systems) the wounds may remain open and heal with visible scars after the healing process has taken place. The degree of scar formation is also proportional to the severity of the acute attack and whether there is any destruction of areas of the skin (Netdoctor, 2015). But what if you need to get rid of shingles scars? In this blog post, we will discuss how to get rid of shingles scars!
Firstly, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, while the infection is active and the blisters are still open, there are measures that you can take to reduce scarring, which include:
- Keeping the rash dry and clean.
- Covering the rash, if possible, with a non-stick dressing to avoid spreading the virus to others. Antibiotic creams or sticking plasters on the blisters is not recommended as these may interfere with the healing process or cause the wound to reopen.
- Trying your best not to scratch the rash as it may cause infection and scarring of the blisters. Using a cold compress, taking some antihistamines, or adding colloidal (or ground) oatmeal or baking soda to cool bath water can help relieve the itchiness.
- Gently patting yourself dry with a clean towel after a bath or shower instead of rubbing or using the towel to scratch yourself. Do not share towels as this may cause others to be infected as well.
- Wearing loose cotton clothes around the affected parts of the body.
- Not applying any creams or gels while the blisters are still open as this might increase the risk of a secondary bacterial infection. (Healthdirect, 2021)
After the infection is no longer active, you may attempt some of the treatments which are listed below:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) creams: Some OTC scar-removal creams and ointments may help remove scars. Look for creams containing retinol or glycolic acid.
- OTC chemical peels: Some OTC chemical peels are also available, although these may not be as effective as professional peels provided by a doctor.
- Silicone sheets: Usually, these sheets are applied to the scars daily for a fixed period. Applying these sheets may help hydrate the scarred tissue, causing scars to fade.
- Natural remedies: There are several natural remedies to choose from. Aloe vera and honey, turmeric powder, garlic, apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, rosehip oil, or even cabbage can be made into a paste and applied topically. Some natural remedies can be consumed orally, such as green tea. However, the efficacy of these treatments have yet to be proven.
Finally, if you have had a bad case of shingles and have a lot of scarring, it is recommended to check in with a general practitioner, who may then refer you to a skin specialist or a plastic surgeon to address your concerns. Methods the skin specialist or a plastic surgeon may employ include laser therapy, dermabrasion, or micro-needling.
There are many solutions to choose from that can help reduce the severity or appearance of any scars after an outbreak of shingles. Still, it’s important to remember that everyone reacts differently. If you are still struggling with your scars, it is best to consult a professional who can help you remove the scars.
Shingles. Healthdirect. (2021, April 1).
Netdoctor. (2015, February 18). Will my shingles scars ever go? Netdoctor.