how to eliminate scar near a tattoo
December 28, 2017 10:11 AM   Subscribe

I have a big tattoo on my arm. My asshole cat scratched me last night and now there is a long scratch right next to the tattoo. How to I get this scratch not to leave a permanent mark on my arm?

I scar easily and my forearms are covered with small dark lines left over from previous Psycho Kitty attacks. I don't want this recent scratch to heal the same way and leave a dark mark right next to my tattoo. What can I do now to encourage the scratch to heal without leaving a dark mark ?

I have some Mederma but I have an irrational fear that if I accidentally get any Mederma on my tattoo it will fade. (Is this based in any sort of reality or an I just paranoid? I got the tattoo back in May so it's completely healed right now.)

Help! It's a gorgeous tattoo and having a crooked dark line next to it forever will depress the hell out of me.

Also, cats are assholes.
posted by thereemix to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The American Academy of Dermatology has this to say about minimizing scars:
Always keep your cut, scrape or other skin injury clean. Gently wash the area with mild soap and water to keep out germs and remove debris.
To help the injured skin heal, use petroleum jelly to keep the wound moist. Petroleum jelly prevents the wound from drying out and forming a scab; wounds with scabs take longer to heal. This will also help prevent a scar from getting too large, deep or itchy. As long as the wound is cleaned daily, it is not necessary to use anti-bacterial ointments.

After cleaning the wound and applying petroleum jelly or a similar ointment, cover the skin with an adhesive bandage. For large scrapes, sores, burns or persistent redness, it may be helpful to use hydrogel or silicone gel sheets.

Change your bandage daily to keep the wound clean while it heals. If you have skin that is sensitive to adhesives, try a non-adhesive gauze pad with paper tape. If using silicone gel or hydrogel sheets, follow the instructions on the package for changing the sheets.

If your injury requires stitches, follow your doctor’s advice on how to care for the wound and when to get the stitches removed. This may help minimize the appearance of a scar.

Apply sunscreen to the wound after it has healed. Sun protection may help reduce red or brown discoloration and help the scar fade faster. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF or 30 or higher and reapply frequently.
I've personally always heard topical vitamin E recommended, though my quick google search suggests that there's little evidence to actually support it as a treatment. Likely can't hurt, though.
posted by mosst at 10:22 AM on December 28, 2017

Hello fellow easily-scarring person with scar-givers.

This has worked best for me: first, disinfect. Let whatever you use to disinfect sit on it for at least ten minutes.

Then wash and moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Moisturize morning, noon, evening, before bed, during the night if you get up at night (otherwise no worries). Ideally something with jojoba or almond oil as the main ingredient. Coconut is good too.

The Mederma looks like it's meant for existing scars rather than preventing them.

References: I get my hands scratched all the time but only have three noticeable scars. Two are from when I was a kid, and the third is from a previous cat and I forgot to moisturize.
posted by fraula at 10:22 AM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

(On preview: I recommend disinfecting right at the start because you know where else your cat's claws go: their litterbox. It's not like most other scratches.)
posted by fraula at 10:23 AM on December 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

Mederma's not magical. It's not going to fade a healed tattoo. Just imagine the possibilities if it did: it'd be tons cheaper and way more painless than lasers.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:13 AM on December 28, 2017 [5 favorites]

I got really nice healing using Tegaderm on a (scabbed) burn on my forearm - no scar at all, and you can leave the dressing on for up to a week, which prevents picking at it / the scab catching on things and getting pulled off too soon / the scab getting soggy and gross and coming off too soon. ~$7 for a pack of 7 at Target. It sounds like the scratch isn't deep, so gel sheets / keeping it moist may be overkill.

Agreed that Mederma is marketed for fading scars after healing.
posted by momus_window at 11:21 AM on December 28, 2017

need pic of cat
posted by Melismata at 11:21 AM on December 28, 2017 [4 favorites]

Nice kitty. Treat this potential scar the same way you did with the tattoo itself. That healed ok, right? This will too.
posted by rd45 at 12:25 PM on December 28, 2017

I just tried a silicone scar sheet on an old scar (not a cat scratch) and even though I've only been using it for about a week, it's already helping a lot. If the cut isn't healed yet, I think you have to wait until that happens before you can use it.
posted by pinochiette at 1:57 PM on December 28, 2017

I scar super-easily too, though little ones do fade over time. Agree, moisturising is the key - you want it moist enough so that it doesn't form a scab. This probably means keeping it covered when you're not moisturising it so that it doesn't dry out.

If for some reason it does scar after it's healed, or if you want to reduce existing scars, I'd also recommend Bio-oil, which my surgeon recommended after my surgery. As it says, it won't make a scar go away altogether but it can really help the appearance so that it isn't, for example, an obvious dark line. I can see my surgical scars because I know what I'm looking for, but they're not obtrusive.
posted by Athanassiel at 2:48 PM on December 28, 2017

I'm a fainting goat and, during one unfortunate incident, on my way down smashed my head against the edge where two walls met, cracked my forehead open. Eleven stitches later I had a nifty Harry Potter scar above my right eye, a biggie that was greatly reduced by repeated applications of scarguard.

I used the paint-on kind, twice a day, though I see now they have other topical applications as well. I still have the scar but it is way, way less noticeable than it was after the stitches came out.

Also, I'm now an exuberant user of sunscreen, esp. on my forehead. An ENT advised that if the scar becomes sunburned/red there's no getting rid of that.

ps: That cat is one awfully adorable asshole.
posted by mcbeth at 1:35 PM on December 29, 2017

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