Breast augmentation, nose jobs, facelifts, tummy tucks and breast reduction surgery. These are only some of the many cosmetic surgeries you can avail of to improve your appearance. While the purpose of these procedures is to make you look better, they all have something in common: scars.
Yes, you read that right. Unfortunately, scarring is something you have to deal with after the procedure. Blame it on your genes, age, skin type, size and depth of the incision, the type of incision used by the doctor and even your ethnicity.
Still, scarring will affect you at some time in your life, even in the tiniest way possible.
Cosmetic surgery requires an incision that goes deep into all the layers of your skin. Thereafter, your body creates a reaction as its natural way to heal, which is in the form of scarring. New tissues will grow, while the collagen will close and seal the wound. At the same time, your body cleans dead skin and blood cells in the form of scabs.
Don’t worry about whether you can still wear bikinis. The good news is, there are many things you can do to minimize scarring after a cosmetic surgery. This includes the following:
1. A good Surgical Technique
Here’s the truth: scar therapy starts during surgery. In fact, the surgical technique plays a major role as far as how the doctor makes incisions.
Some people might say that no matter how skilled your doctor is, scars are inevitable. That is true, since doctors have no control over other factors that could contribute to scars.
However, experience, the doctor’s ability to handle tissues meticulously and in precise approximation are still important to minimize scars. The doctor’s use of sutures could also affect the risk of scarring. In this case, subcuticular, or under the skin, and absorbable sutures are advisable. If your doctor can does the railroading effect to minimize scarring, then much better.
2. Give Your Scar A Massage
This is one of the best yet simplest prevention tips when it comes to scars. According to studies, massaging the scarred area promotes cell rejuvenation, making the scars softer.
It also stimulates fresh blood to flow in the area. It minimizes the texture issues that might develop during healing by reducing the bumps and lumps, too.
Make sure to massage the area gently and regularly. You can use any lotion with cocoa butter to promote skin cell regeneration. However, do this once the wound closes and the sutures are gone to prevent further scarring.
3. Practice Proper Wound Care
Proper wound care is crucial when it comes to reducing cosmetic surgery scarring. Before you leave the hospital, your doctor will explain all of the things you need to do when it comes to proper wound care. In fact, the recommended steps from your doctor are your best defense against scars. This would help your wound close cleanly and minimize the risk of infections.
Your doctor will require you to apply topical scar creams to promote healing. You may also need to take antibiotics to minimize infections. He will also inform you about the activities you can and cannot do, as well as how long you need to rest.
This depends on the type of cosmetic surgery you have. You will also be taught how to clean the wound, as well as other incision care techniques to promote faster healing.
Putting stress on the incision site is also not advisable. There are types of cosmetic surgeries that prevent you from bending, lifting and doing anything that could stretch the wound. Watch out for those kinds of activities. More importantly, get some rest.
Make sure to listen carefully and keep the leaflets on wound care with you at all times, or at least for the next few weeks until you are fully healed. Follow your doctor’s advice, even if it means getting some rest for a month. This will minimize infections and other complications.
4. It’s All About Proper Nutrition
You might be sick of reading this, but the proper nutrition also plays an important role in wound care and scar prevention. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are staples on the table. When it comes to preventing scars, there is one type of food you need to include in your daily diet – protein.
Protein forms the building blocks for your cells, which your body needs to speed up the healing process. Chicken, pork, eggs, seafood, beef and dairy products are excellent sources of protein and help your wound heal faster. If you’re not into meat, fermented soy products and yogurt could be an excellent alternative source of protein.
Stay away from sugary, fatty and processed foods, at least for now. This won’t do anything to promote and speed up the healing process.
5. Keep Yourself Hydrated
There is a reason why health advocates recommend drinking six to eight glasses of water every single day. Aside from cleansing your body, hydration is important, especially after undergoing cosmetic surgery.
A lack of water not only makes you feel thirsty, but it can also lead to electrolyte imbalances and heart issues. This is something you want to avoid at all costs, especially during the post-surgery period.
Therefore,the more you keep yourself hydrated, the faster your healing will be and you will head in the right direction. You can add lemon and cucumber in case you can’t stand drinking water in its pure form.
Check your urine to see if you are well hydrated or not. Urine that is light in color or lacking color will indicate that you are getting enough water.
6. Say No To Bad Habits
Before the procedure, your doctor will advise you not to drink alcoholic beverages for at least two to three days. This is because alcohol dehydrates your skin, as well as your entire body, thereby affecting your overall health in a negative way.
You should drink it every day, but especially after surgery. Since alcohol dehydrates your skin, it also prevents the wounds from getting the hydration they need to heal and regenerate properly. This includes caffeinated drinks and other unhealthy beverages before, during and a few days after the cosmetic surgery.
This also means quitting smoking. Smoking increases your risk of developing scars and slows down the healing process. This is because when you smoke, blood circulation slows down, and you know how crucial blood flow is in the healing process, right?
7. Stay Away From The Sun
As much as you want to show off your new nose or boobs, one of the best ways to reduce cosmetic surgery scarring is to stay away from the sun, just for now.
The sun’s harmful UV rays tend to dry out your wounds and destroy the environment needed by the wounds to heal and regenerate. At the same time, it makes the fresh scar tissue more prominent. Therefore, stay indoors until your doctor removes the sutures, or at least until the incision has completely healed and closed.
If you really want to go out and the scar is somewhere difficult to hide, then the best you can do is to invest in a good sunscreen. Ask your doctor when you can apply ointment or sunblock on the scarred area.
8. Try Silicone Scar Sheets
One of the best things you could do, at least when it comes to post-operative care, is to use silicone sheeting. It looks like plastic wrap that you place on your skin and apply onto the incision once it reaches an adequate maturity.
Once you apply it to your skin, the silicone scar sheet creates an atmosphere of moisture that could prevent bad collagen buildup or the conversion of immature collagen, which leads to scarring. At the same time, it reduces the risks of keloid or hypertrophic scars – something you don’t want to deal with since they are so hard to remove.
9. Check For The Subtle Signs Of Infection
There is a reason why you need to pay attention to your doctor when he gives instructions on proper wound care. Aside from knowing how to clean the wound properly, your doctor will teach you how to identify the subtle signs of infection.
You’ll never know what could happen post-surgery. Even if you listened and followed all of the doctor’s instructions on proper wound care, there might be a risk of developing infection. Watch out for those signs, if you notice pain, redness, unusual swelling and other signs that tell you something is wrong, make sure to consult your doctor immediately.
These signs could impair healing and lead to scarring.
10. Moisturize The Area
Aside from healthy eating, proper hydration and following your doctor’s orders on wound care, moisturizing the area where the surgery was done is also vital. This is because moisturizers help promote the healing process by increasing your skin’s collagen production.
You can use cocoa butter to moisturize the incision area. Vitamin E creams are also natural antioxidants that promote healing and soothe inflammation.
Moisturizers with alpha hydroxy acid are also effective in minimizing scars. AHAspromote skin health and scar fading by boosting your skin’s collagen production.
If you are into traditional and natural methods, then raw honey is your best bet. It has live enzymes that are both antiseptic and act as healing agents. However, make sure to consult your doctor before applying anything to the incision area.
More importantly, be patient. Scars may be a reminder of your quest for a better body and improve your physical appearance, but they will diminish in time. They may be annoying to look at them, but allow yourself to heal before doing something about them.