Time to heal – advice on how to get the best outcome for your scar.
A scar is made up of fibrous tissue, which is why it looks different from normal skin. It will go through 3 stages
1. Inflammatory phase (lasts 2-3 days). Your body is working to plug the wound, prevent infection and remove any dead tissue
2. Proliferative phase (lasts 3-6 weeks). Like throwing a whole lot of plaster on a wall, this is a rapid rebuilding phase where new cells migrate to the area to rebuild and repair damaged tissue
3. Re-modelling phase This “buffing/polishing and fine-tuning” phase can last up to a year. Your scar may change over this time, either improving or in some cases getting worse.
There are well documented preventative measures you can take to improve the appearance of your scar. These are some options which we recommend and offer at Skin Therapy.
• Scar Science – a scar treatment gel backed by good clinical studies. This treatment supplements collagen and hydration which allows for controlled inflammation.
• Applying sunscreen once the scar is healed (2-4 weeks post-surgery), is very important to avoid hyperpigmentation and increased inflammation/redness. We recommend Heliocare AK fluid, an advanced, broad-spectrum sunscreen, with protection against UVA, UVB, HEV and IR-A. Heliocare AK fluid also has antioxidant protection for reducing redness and inflammation and Roxisomes to help repair DNA.
• PDT light therapy – A non-invasive treatment that stimulates natural cellular processes that rejuvenate and repair the skin. It accelerates wound healing and reduces redness and pain. Treatment lasts 20 minutes and a course of 6 is recommended.
• For complicated scars or if you are very concerned about your scar, there are good studies that show improvement with Microneedling treatments. This can be done from 6 months after surgery and we recommend 3-4 treatments using specialised scar settings on the Dermapen 4.
Remember to always be delicate with your wound to ensure minimal tension on it.
As soon as you’re happy with the appearance of your scar, you can stop treating it – the earliest I would recommend is 3 months after surgery. If you’re not happy, you should continue for up to a year because there may still be some improvement
After a year, there’s little that can be done and you need to consider other methods like surgical scar revision or microneedling.