Dear Dr. Walt,
I unknowingly tangled with poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac – not sure which. Anyway, I developed blisters and rashes that seem deep, as they appear to have gone well below the top layer of skin. I didn’t bother with calamine lotion to deal with itching, but I still have dark red marks weeks later, and I’m starting to wonder if they might leave permanent scars. Is there something I can put on them now to help speed the healing and remove the dark red marks?
—Marked Skin in Maryland
With the blistering your experienced, you may have actually had some second-degree burns—almost the same skin reaction that one might have to a severe sun burn. Here are some steps you could consider trying according to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies:
Step 1—massage your skin marks with moisturizer to increase circulation which will also may lead to flattening and fading of burn scars or marks with daily use.
Step 2—Apply sunscreen to the skin marks 30-60 minutes before going outdoors. The sun’s harmful UV rays may cause your skin marks to darken, making them more noticeable while inhibiting the natural healing process. I recommend a sunscreen of SPF 20 or higher. And, if you use a moisturizer with a SPF 20 sunscreen in it, you can knock out steps one and two at the same time.
Step 3—Eat plenty of vitamin-C- and zinc-enriched foods. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, broccoli, and potatoes. Ideal zinc-enriched foods include Brazil nuts, peanuts, and lean beef. Vitamin C and zinc nourish your skin from the inside out by building collagen around the skin’s blood vessels.
Step 4—If none of the above work, and the marks are not gone after 3 to 6 months, consider visiting a dermatologist for consideration of a number of other options.
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2018. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.
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