Dr. Corey and I are commonly asked during consultations about the appearance of scars after a procedure. Surgery procedures like breast augmentation, tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), breast lift (mastopexy), and facelift surgery all require incisions to produce the results most cosmetic surgery patients seek. There is no such thing as scar less surgery… yet! Unfortunately for many patients, an array of factors such as incision type, skin type, tension, age, genetics, and even ethnicity can increase the chance of developing scars post-plastic surgery.
Scarring and scars exist to help close and protect wounds from additional damage. After a wound occurs, scar tissue quickly replaces the damaged skin so the wound will close and heal. After some time, the scar itself will heal and become less colorful and may even reduce in size. However, since scar tissue is not identical to regular skin, the scar can be noticeable which is why so many people with scars search for a safe and effective scar treatment.
Some commonly asked Scar questions I receive from patients include:
Q. How Long Do Scars Stay Red?
A. The redness is (partially) caused by blood flowing through the tissue. This indicates healing activity. Commonly, scars stay red for several months but this varies from person to person.
Q. Will Scars Fade Over Time?
A. Yes, the appearance of most scars will improve in time. However, in some cases scars might become problematic as there is always the risk of a scar becoming Hypertrophic or a Keloid. These risks can be reduced by using top scar treatment products.
Q. Should I Use Vitamin E Oil on my Scar?
A. Studies have shown the use of vitamin E on Scars does not improve them. According to a 2007 article in The New York Times, vitamin E does not typically produce positive scar reduction results. In fact, the University of Miami study referenced in the article cited a number of vitamin E users who actually developed contact dermatitis (allergic reaction) to the product’s application more often than those who used no scar treatments.
Q. Can I Sunbath or Tan after Surgery?
A. The Sun and Tanning bed lights are bad for scars. Particularly here in sunny Arizona, we are constantly exposed to the sun. Sun can essentially tattoo the scar, so the color never fully fades. Wearing sun block on the scar for an entire year after surgery is recommended.
Q. Will Massaging help my Scar?
A. According to reports documented by breastcancer.org, massage is also helpful in diminishing texture issues that can develop as wounds heal. Massage can increase circulation to the forming tissue and keep the collagen that develops from becoming raised. It’s important to note that massage used to help flatten and soften scars should only be used once all sutures or staples have been removed and the incision has healed.
Choosing a safe and effective scar product should be taken very seriously as the wrong choice may significantly delay the healing process. Now you’re asking yourself, which product is the best? Dr. Corey and staff believe one of the top scar reduction products is the Epi-Derm Silicone Gel Sheet. Unlike many over the counter scar management products, Epi-Derm is made of medical grade silicone. Scars need an “ideal healing environment,” meaning the appropriate balance of moisture and maximum exposure to oxygen. Epi-derm is a fully-encapsulating sheet — it completely covers the scar for uniform treatment of the entire site. Although the entire site is covered, Epi–derm is semi-permeable, allowing oxygen to enter while keeping excess moisture out — the ideal environment for healing scar tissue. The Epi-Derm Silicone Gel Sheet comes in several sheet sizes that can be trimmed as needed to fit your scar. Additionally, they offer a variety of custom shapes and configurations for use with specific types of post-surgical scars. There is also a pump silicone gel product over the counter that can be used for the massage. For more information on this product go to www.biodermis.com/EpiDerm or call 800.322.3729.