Varicella, or chickenpox as it is popularly known, is an infectious disease. Caused by Varicella zoster virus and characterised by blister-like itchy rashes, chickenpox often affects children. Affected children usually recover within 1-2 weeks. The rashes first appear on the face and trunk, and then spread out throughout the body. The virus has an incubation period of twenty-one days, and the infection spreads in a way similar to cold or flu.MedicalNewsToday
I was nearly 12 when I got infected with chickenpox. I remember coming home with itchy rashes on my back. My hands could not reach my back, so I asked my mom for a little help. That was when she found out what the itchy rashes meant. I could not attend the school for nearly two weeks. I remember smelling of calamine. The scars were bad. Most of my time was spent lying on the couch with a running nose and complaining of severe aches. At times my head would ache terribly. My parents were terrified of taking me out, fearing raised eyebrows. No matter what delicacies my mother would make for me, I would always manage to get away with them. All I would do was watch the television. At times, I would wake up in the middle of the night with a fever. After a week or so, I was able to feel a bit less agitated and lethargic. I could sleep peacefully, and my scabs were beginning to dry. Finally, I went to school. Things were starting to get better. I was smiling at my friends, but I was spotty.
Right after I got infected with chickenpox, my mother began searching for remedies, natural and cosmetic alike, for easy removal of the scars left behind. Her search handed her quite a few home remedies and cosmetic products. I tried some of the home remedies suggested by my mom, and surprisingly my scars started lessening. Some of the natural products left my skin rejuvenated quite well.
WHY DO SCARS DEVELOP IN CHICKENPOX?
Usually, the chickenpox blisters do not lead to permanent scarring. However, even after recovery, red spots may still be visible.
Scars develop when a bacterial infection affects the chickenpox blisters/ rashes and these blisters are scratched.
Moreover, excessive scratching can also damage the skin. A scar develops when your body produces a tissue to repair the skin. The layer of tissue is generally thicker than the skin. This usually occurs when a deep wound damages your skin, a situation similar to the one when chickenpox blisters/rashes are scratched. Hence, if you want to avoid scarring after the chickenpox infection, you need to stop scratching.
Chickenpox accompanies the inflammation of the skin. Inflammation often causes scars with a sunken appearance. Most of the people want to get rid of these scars quickly, especially the ones on the face.
The scars which develop in chickenpox are atrophic. The atrophic scars are indented scars which heal beneath the normal layer of the skin tissue. The skin is unable to regenerate the tissue, as a result of which imbalance scarring occurs.
HOME REMEDIES FOR REMOVAL OF CHICKENPOX SCARS
Papaya is well-known for its hydrating properties. It is low in sodium and is an effective moisturiser. Papaya keeps the skin moisturised for a long time. It is abundant in vitamin C which aids in the regeneration of the collagen protein. Also, the enzyme papain which is found in papaya not only has the ability to remove dead skin cells but also exfoliates the skin. It can be applied directly on the skin as such by mashing some ripe papaya. However, the addition of a few other components can boost the natural properties of papaya and also make it an effective scrub for removal of scars. Papaya also helps to fine tone your skin.
You can either mix mashed papaya with milk and apply it directly on your chickenpox scars. You can also add brown sugar to milk and then add mashed papaya. Before applying to your skin, wash properly and leave the scrub on the affected area for 15-20 minutes.
You will start noticing the results in 2-3 days.
Coconut water is loaded with nutrients, lauric acid and cytokines. These nutrients are essential for rejuvenating your skin. The coconut water not only boosts the growth of the cells of your skin but also maintains the pH levels. Breakouts are prevented to an extent by the antifungal and antibacterial properties of the coconut water. You can drink the coconut water regularly to maintain the electrolytic balance of your body and also apply the water directly on the chickenpox affected area to get rid of scarring.
Honey is a natural moisturizer which breathes life into your skin and helps in the lightening of the scars. Honey also helps in the regeneration of the skin cells.
For best results, mix honey with oats and apply the mixture on the affected area. Leave it for about 30 minutes and then wash it off. You will start to observe the difference in nearly 30 days.
Moreover, honey is loaded with natural antioxidants. You can also try applying honey directly on the affected area and let it rest for 5 minutes. You will notice that your scars have started to lighten.
Baking soda is not only an excellent leavening agent but it is also good for the skin. The alkaline nature of the baking soda helps in healing itchiness and inflammation caused by the chickenpox blisters. It works by maintaining the acidic and basic levels of the skin.
The baking soda will soothe and exfoliate the irritated skin. The pH level of the skin is maintained and the dead cells are removed by the application of the baking soda.
Mix baking soda in water until a paste is formed. Apply the paste directly onto the affected area. After the paste is dry, wash it off with cold water.
One of the best ways to get rid of chickenpox scars, naturally, is to use aloe vera. It is best-known for its soothing, hydrating, and moisturizing properties. Moreover, it is valued highly for its healing properties. The gel trapped in the leaves is remedial for skin wounds, allergies, and various infections. This herb is a potent antimicrobial agent which is also loaded with antioxidants. Aloe vera is versatile in its utility. It is also a great anti-inflammatory agent which not only alleviates skin irritation caused by any kind of wound but also gets rid of the dead skin cells. Its ability to penetrate deep into the skin moisturizes the skin effectively. What’s more beneficial is its potential to boost the collagen production in the body further supplementing the healing process and the process of lightening of the scars. Furthermore, it is helpful in the treatment of the scars.
Lemon is a rich source of vitamin C. It is well known for its natural bleaching properties. The citric acid and the vitamin C present in the lemon act as natural exfoliating agents and help in getting rid of the dead layer of cells. The bleaching properties of the lemon help in fading away of the scars. Also, the natural agents of the lemon enhance the production of collagen which is responsible for keeping the skin strong and elastic. The damaged skin is healed with the aid of alpha hydroxyl acids present in lemon.
Lemon can be applied directly on the skin or the juice can be diluted with water and then applied, left for ten minutes and then rinsed off.
Moreover, you can try applying the mixture of lemon juice and honey on your face. Wash it off after ten minutes and pat dry your face. You can repeat the procedure daily.
Caution: Avoid using lemon juice on a child’s skin. A child’s skin is much more sensitive than an adults skin. Also, if lemon juice causes irritation on your skin, consult a doctor immediately.
Cocoa butter is a concentrated fat extract. It is obtained from cocoa beans. The cocoa butter has been used extensively in the cosmetic industry and serves as an essential ingredient in moisturisers. Moreover, it is also employed in the treatment of scars. Loaded with antioxidants, it harbors the ability to penetrate deep into the skin and effectively moisturise the skin. When a skin is well hydrated, it helps in the growth of new and healthy skin tissue. Cocoa butter inhibits the formation of free radicals. It is also helpful in healing the scars left behind by chickenpox.
You can gently massage the cocoa butter on the affected area. Leave it for ten minutes and wipe it off with a damp warm cloth.
Rosehip oil is essential oil obtained from the plants of the Rosaceae family. Also known as rose oil, rosehip seed oil, and rose hip, this essential oil is abundant in therapeutic values because of rich reserves of phytochemicals and antioxidants. It is loaded with essential fatty acids and skin nourishing vitamins. Also, it is a natural source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) which not only boosts collagen and elastin production but even promotes skin cell regeneration. Furthermore, it contains a high amount of linoleic acid which improves the skin’s natural oil production.
You can apply rosehip oil to a chickenpox scar daily twice. For best results, apply it on your face for 12 weeks.
Oats are best known for hydrating the skin. The treatment of scars with a paste of oat lightens the scar appearance and increase the process of healing. It moisturizes, soothes, cools, and exfoliates the skin.
You can mix the oats in warm water and form a thick paste. Apply it on the affected area and leave it for 30 minutes and rinse with cold water. Pat dry your face.
Coconut oil is an excellent moisturiser. It has an inherent ability to heal the skin. Even when you’re infected with chickenpox, you can apply the oil on the chickenpox wounds which ooze out and form pus. Moreover, it has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties which inhibit an infection by any microbe by forming a barrier and hence, protecting the skin. It also helps in getting rid of the redness and itchiness caused by chickenpox.
Take coconut oil or extra virgin coconut oil and massage it gently on the affected area. Allow it penetrate in your skin. Repeat the process thrice or four times a day for best results.
Always stay hydrated no matter what. You need to drink 8-10 glasses of water daily. The lack of water is responsible for turning the skin itchy because of improper hydration.
HOMEMADE CREAM FOR THE REMOVAL OF SCARS
- Lemon essential oil- 1/2 tsp
- Cocoa butter- 1/2 tsp
- Coconut oil- 12 tbsp
- Vitamin E oil- 2 tbsp
- Melt cocoa butter and coconut oil in a saucepan on medium heat.
- After the butter and oil have melted, add lemon essential oil as well as vitamin E oil.
- Allow the mixture to cool down.
- When the mix solidifies, store it in an air-tight container.
- Apply the mixture daily on your scars.
- For best results, use it thrice daily.
COMMERCIAL CREAMS/LOTIONS FOR THE REMOVAL OF SCARS
Collagen production is significantly enhanced by retinol. Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A. Retinol when combined with glycolic acid is clinically proven to lighten the scars.
Applying retinol containing creams on scars before sleep promotes collagen production in the deficient area. You can also look out for the creams or lotions which contain both retinol and glycolic acid.
Exfoliants are known to get rid of the dead cells from the skin. The application of exfoliants paves the way for the regeneration of old cells and the birth of new healthy cells. Also, the pigmented or rough skin can be removed by exfoliating a scar.
Chemical exfoliants include creams or lotions which when applied on the skin induce a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction, in turn, is responsible for getting rid of the dead layer of cells from the upper layer of skin.
Mechanical exfoliants include body scrubs, face scrubs, brushes, et cetera. These exfoliants can be used directly on the skin. You can repeat the process twice or thrice in a week.
- Scar Removing Creams
Various scar removing creams/lotions are available commercially to reduce the appearance of the scars. These creams/lotions contain varying proportions of ingredients which aid in lightening the scars.
HI-TECH TREATMENTS FOR THE REMOVAL OF SCARS
- Excision and Punch Excision
Scar excision is an invasive technique which takes place under the effect of anaesthesia. Scar tissue is removed surgically using a scalpel and a punch tool. The area is then stitched up. Deep and sunken scars are best removed by the technique of punch excision.
Depressed and sunken scars can be shaped back with the help of soft tissue fillers. The soft tissue fillers like collagen or hyaluronic acid are injected in the scar directly to reduce its appearance. However, this treatment is temporary and last only six months.
Microneedling is a new technique for the removal of scars. It employs a rolling pin like instrument covered with fine needles. It is rolled on the skin after the treatment of skin with local anaesthesia. It boosts the production of collagen and gives a smooth appearance to the skin.
A rotating brush is utilised to remove the top layer of the skin in the technique of microdermabrasion. It is less invasive than dermabrasion. A special kind of applicator with a rough surface is employed to remove the outer layer of the skin and to refresh the skin.
- Chemical Peels
The appearance of the scars can also be reduced by treatment with chemical peels. You can opt for a light peel, medium peel, or a deep chemical peel. These peels vary in their intensity and effect.
- Laser Therapy
One of the non-invasive techniques for the treatment of the scars is laser therapy. Before going for laser therapy, it is important to consult your dermatologist.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT CHICKENPOX SCARS?
In case your child has contracted chickenpox, there are quite a few things which should always be kept in mind so that there are reduced chances of scarring.
- Scratching should be avoided as much as possible.
- Apply a lotion with cocoa butter and/or aloe vera on the chickenpox blisters.
- Antihistamines can be taken orally, but the lotions containing antihistamines should never be applied directly on the skin.
- Taking oat meals baths should be encouraged.
- Mittens can be worn to prevent harm to the skin from scratching.
- Calamine lotions can be directly dabbed onto the chickenpox blisters.
DOES CHICKENPOX LEAVE PERMANENT SCARS?
Once a child has been infected with chickenpox, one of the major problems which concern the parents is- Will the disease leave permanent marks? Unless and until the chickenpox blisters are badly infected, or the child picks off the scabs repeatedly, chickenpox will not leave permanent scars. Moreover, the scars left behind by the normal chickenpox are temporary and will easily fade away within six to twelve months.
WILL A CHILD GET INFECTED WITH CHICKENPOX AGAIN?
It is extremely rare for a child to catch the disease again after being infected with chickenpox once in a life. However, there is a very rare possibility that a child may have a subsequent but a mild ambush of the infectious disease.
CAN BIO-OIL BE USED TO GET RID OF SCARRING FROM CHICKENPOX BLISTERS?
One of the most talked about products in the cosmetic world, which is helpful in getting rid of the scars and reducing the appearance of the older scars, is bio-oil. It is enriched with vitamin A and E and made with rosemary and chamomile oils. Vitamin E is known to enhance the moisture content of the skin. Once the moisture content is improved, not only is the overall texture of the skin improved but the bio-oil also adds to the betterment in the tone of the scar and the skin surrounding it.
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