Stephen McCulley, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon. MBChb, FCS(SA)Plast, FRCS(plast)

Tips For Helping Scars To Heal

If you’ve just had surgery or your about to have surgery then you may well want to know what you can do to help your scars heal well.  Luckily cosmetic surgeons take into account scarring when they operate on you, so you have every chance of healing neatly with minimal scarring.  Everyone is different though, and some people will heal really well, reasonably quickly whilst for others it might take a bit longer.  Below are a few handy hints to help you help yourself during the healing process. 

Showers

When you come out of surgery you should be able to get your wounds wet in the shower within 2-3 days post-surgery as the wounds will have covered themselves in a seal.  You might be given some shower proof dressing by your surgeon to keep over your scars.  Wear them as instructed.  You shouldn’t take a bath until your nurse or surgeon gives you the all clear.  Baths aren’t very hygienic for wounds and will disrupt healing.  It’ll normally take 10-14 days before you can have a bath or go swimming.

Silicone Tape

If you have scars on your stomach or breasts you might want to wear silicone tape.  If you use it you really need to wear it as much as you can for 3-4 months for it to help.  It’s really helpful for some people, but for others it doesn’t always do that much.

Different kinds of moisturising

Once your scars have formed you might want to massage them once or twice a day to help them clear up even more.  Some people like to use products like bio-oil but there’s actually no evidence that this will do much for you than a basic moisturiser.

What about the sun?

When your scars are new you should really avoid going out in the sun too much or tanning for 6-12 months.  Scars are very sensitive to the sun and can darken easily if exposed too much.  You should do your best to cover them up or use a high factor sun tan lotion.

Exercise

You don’t want to do anything which will put undue stress on your scars so you need to be careful about exercise in the first two weeks post-surgery as you don’t want to stretch your scars.  Gentle exercise over the first 7-10 days is encouraged but you shouldn’t be doing anything too strenuous.  You can normally get back to doing exercise properly within six weeks depending on your operation.

If you’re at all worried about how your scars are healing then you should get in contact with your surgeon who will advise you further on the right course of action for you specific situation.  The above tips are general guideline which should be followed in conjunction with advice from a qualified medical practitioner.

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