Essential Oils for Scar Massage: When & How to Use
By Caryn Gehlmann
Most of us will end up with a scar or two at some point in our lives. Have you heard about the benefits of scar massage? According to the Moffit Cancer Center, “Scar massage is an effective way to decrease scar tissue build up and help make scars less noticeable.” Essential oils can also play a role in regenerating the skin cells of damaged skin and certain carrier oils are used to improve the appearance of scars and improve skin health. Does this make you wonder which essential oils for scar massage work the best? Let’s explore our options…
I’m in a position to try the benefits of using essential oils for scar massage, since in December I had surgery to remove basal and squamous cell carcinoma from my forehead. (I’m sure many of you are like me and are paying for the years we spent in the sun without sunscreen!) I elected for Mohs Surgery which is a process of removing and examining thin layers of skin under a microscope until the surgeon no longer sees cancer cells.
Below I outline a scar massage routine that I’ve implemented to treat my skin cancer scars. However, these recommendations work for many types of scars. According to a handout from the Moffit Cancer Center, scar massage serves three important functions, “Promoting collagen remodeling by applying pressure to scars, helping to decrease itching, providing moisture and flexibility to the scar.”
The first thing to do is to speak to your surgeon about their recommendations based on your individual situation. My plastic surgeon’s instructions were to wait two weeks after my stitches were removed and then rub along the incision line in a circular motion for five minutes each day for six months to break up and prevent scar tissue from forming. Start with gentle pressure and increase as comfort dictates, the idea is to prevent scar tissue adhesion.
Timing is important! Don’t get started too early. You don’t want to rub anything on your stitches if you’ve had any kind of surgery. Wait at least a week or two until after your stitches have been removed. Doctors recommend that you don’t massage the area until your incision has fully healed and is a scar rather than a wound. You don’t want to massage your scar too soon and cause it to reopen or tear, leading to a possible infection. But you also don’t want to wait too long before getting started. Scar tissue massage is most helpful in the first two years, while the scar is still forming and healing.
Here are 3 scar massage steps I’ll be implementing during my recovery:
Month 1: Apply a blend of carrier oils to the site.
Dilution is critical as you don’t want to aggravate your skin during this delicate healing process, so I’m only adding a 1% dilution of these essential oils to my carrier oil base. (Get essential oil dilution guidelines here.)
Month 3: Apply the carrier oil blend with the addition of e3’s Skin Care Blend.
Now that I’m further along in the healing process, instead of using helichrysum and lavender essential oils, I will step it up by adding a 1% ratio of e3’s Skin Care Blend to my carrier base.
This three-step scar massage routine is already showing good results for me. Here is a picture immediately following the surgery, and then one three weeks later.
However, your situation may require a different approach. One of e3’s customers recently reported that he used e3’s Inflammation Blend with the lotion to massage his scar tissue and swelling. He says, “I am blown away by how much it helps. I massage it for about 10-15 minutes after every home PT workout and by the end the swelling has reduced and the scar tissue feels softer, and it just feels so much better walking on it.”
If you have questions about essential oils for scar massage, talk to your health care provider about it. And if you’re ready to integrate essential oils and or carrier oils, please review our safety information on each product page. If you still have questions, contact e3 and one of our clinical aromatherapists will respond.