During pre-surgical consultations, patients often express concerns about how to deal with new surgical scars. This is especially top of mind in the summer when they want to go out but worry about scars being visible and having sun exposure.
Of course, you can cover up so no one sees your scars –with clothing and/or a concealer — but you still want to deal with your scars so they will fade most effectively. The better you treat your scars from the start, the happier you’ll be with the outcome.
Here are a few suggestions:
Protection is key!
Many people recommend keeping a healing scar moisturized. Good advice…that is, once your scar is completely closed! Then, we recommend using a product that protects, as well as works on reducing it. We like Silagen, a silicone gel that’s as soothing as it is effective. Day and night protection are available: the day version includes a zinc oxide-based SPF 30 sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum UV protection; the night version is the same minus the sunscreen. Both the day and night gels are vegan, gluten free, and not tested on animals.
Yes, you need to avoid exposing your scar to direct sunlight. Use the Silagen and cover your scar with appropriate clothing. After all, you don’t want the surrounding skin tanning. Actually, you don’t want to tan anyway since it’s terrible for your skin!!
Massage your scar
This isn’t as strange as it sounds. Once your incision site has healed, massaging your scar can help increase collagen production, which will help your scar heal that much better and faster. Start doing this as soon as your scar is closed and you can tolerate touching it. Waiting until the scar is several years old will not reduce its appearance.
Sometimes, patients come in with old scars they would like repaired. Depending on the size, type, and scar location, I use several ways to minimize or even eliminate them. Keep in mind that we can’t make them disappear completely, but we can improve their appearance and, in some circumstances, make you more comfortable.
Injectable fillers can help fill in depressed or concave scars so they blend with the surrounding tissue. Depending on the dermal filler used and your particular scar, results may last from three months to several years. As with all dermal fillers, this treatment will need repeating to maintain your desired results.
In addition to fillers, nonsurgical options include laser treatments and microneedling techniques — both can help reduce the color of scars, as well as blend/fade the edges so scars are less noticeable.
Excising treatment is an effective way to deal with severe scars that lie deep in the dermis. For these types of scars, I make an incision and completely remove the scar, creating a new flatter and narrower one. Depending on the extent of the procedure you need, scar revision may be done under local anesthesia, with sedation, or general anesthesia.
For extremely large scars, such as burns, I use a combination of surgical techniques to remove extra scar tissue and create less noticeable scars, plus release tightness and constriction in the area.
Don’t let worries about scarring scare you away from surgery. Let’s talk about ways you can minimize your new surgical scars and/or revise old ones. Contact my patient coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 312.757.4505.
Our new and expanded office is located at 939 W North Avenue, Suite 600, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park!