Scars form naturally when your body tries to close a wound by producing a protein known as collagen, according to Health Today Online. Although your skin naturally contains collagen, scars produce a thicker version that can noticeably protrude above the skin. Surgery incisions cause at least some scarring most of the time, but you can minimize them by properly caring for your skin as soon as you wake up from your operation.
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Apply an antibiotic ointment. Ointments can help to keep the incision hydrated and decrease the bacteria population within it, according to plastic surgeon Dr. York Yates on his website YorkYates.com. Yates says that antibiotic ointment is most beneficial when a wound isn’t yet healed within the first two days of surgery.
Apply silicon gel or silicone gel sheets. You can get some over-the-counter versions at the store or obtain a prescription from your doctor. Silicon gel may reduce itchiness, reduce swelling and diminish the size of the scar, says OptumHealth online. Although silcon gel and gel sheets are thought to help seal in moisture to soften the tissue and reduce collagen build-up, OptumHealth online says that no one is certain about how these products function to prevent or reduce scarring.
Cover your new skin tissue to avoid sun exposure for six months after your surgery. A healing scar will darken if exposed to enough ultraviolet rays, which means it may be more noticeable if you don’t cover it with clothing, tape or sunscreen, says the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Move carefully to improve healing. Activities such as lifting, straining and sports may pull apart your scar, according to the University of Notre Dame Health Services. Your doctor should provide you with a list of physical activities that are dangerous to your particular surgical incision.
Wear mittens, if necessary, to avoid picking at your scabs. Picking at wounds tears at the collagen. It may also bring germs into your wound and aggravate the healing process, according to The Nemours Foundation.
Massage the wound four times each day for five minutes once your new skin has grown in, suggests HealthToday Online. This will help to break down thick collagen bonds and reduce the appearance of scars, according to the CBS News article, “Preventing Those Ugly Scars.” For extra benefits, massage using a lotion or ointment that contains onion extract, which is thought to help inhibit collagen formation, according to CBS News.