Scarring is one of the body’s natural processes for healing an open wound or cut. They are caused by the growth of new tissue and collagen sealing the wound. How quickly scars heal and disappear depends on many factors such as the size and depth of the incision, the age of the patient, and time. Many scars are small and disappear quite quickly, but larger wounds and openings, such as those from plastic surgery, whether cosmetic or reconstructive, can leave unattractive visible scars. There are several methods that people can use, however, to help heal these scars and reduce their appearance over time.
Good Surgical Technique
Reducing the appearance of a scar begins with the creation of the scar itself and much of the healing process depends on the surgical technique. Finding the right surgeon and knowing they will be making incisions carefully calculated to heal well is absolutely essential in the process. Asking the surgeon about what steps they will be taking in order to reduce scarring is the best place to start scar therapy.
A Healthy Diet & Hydration
One of the most basic steps in helping heal scars is maintaining a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water. A good diet should cut out unnecessary calories from fatty foods and heavy carbohydrates, relying on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as protein rich foods that are essential to the body’s healing functions. Hydration is always an essential part of skin care and water is the best source. Coffee, soda, and alcohol should be limited and or cut out entirely and replaced with more beneficial and anti-oxidant rich drinks like green or herbal tea.
Topical Skin Care Creams
There are many over-the-counter scar treatments that can be used to reduce the appearance of scars. Topical treatments for scars like creams and gels have long been studied by medical professionals and some have been proven to help reduce scars when used as directed. There are many natural products, such as honey, aloe vera, and natural oils, which can be applied directly to scars for healing effects as well. While they can be effective, speaking to the surgeon about what kind of creams or ointments are suitable for the specific scar is essential before embarking on any treatment program.
For those who are smokers a big step in helping scars heal is to end this habit. Not only is it generally unhealthy, but also smoking directly reduces the ability of our body to bring oxygen to the extremities and, consequently, drastically diminishes its ability to heal. It is also much harder for the body to heal scars when it has to worry about also reducing and breaking down the toxins in cigarettes.
Getting blood pumping is another important part of healing scars and regular, light exercise is beneficial for healing scars. For reduction of surgery related scars, consulting with the surgeon about what types of exercise or which routine to follow is a good idea. Exercise is an excellent way to clean out old toxins and refresh the wound site with an influx of new blood, carrying a steady supply of nutrients and oxygen that will help heal the scar over time.