How Long Does it Take a Surgical Scar to Fade?

In general, it takes about two years for surgical scars to fade, but everyone is different and heals at varying rates. How well you treat your scar will also impact healing times. Also, the way your wound heals will be influenced by a number of environmental and genetic factors. Luckily, there are things you can do to speed up healthy wound healing and reduce scarring.

The Wound Healing Process

This involves many overlapping stages interwoven by biochemical activities. There are four stages of wound healing: hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and maturation (remodeling). For the fastest recovery, you must keep your wound hydrated, protected, and clear of bacteria. If your wound is damaged or becomes infected, the healing process will take longer and lead to more scarring later on.

Scar formation is the last stage of wound healing, which can last up to a year or longer. During this time, your skin is still in repair mode, feeding scar tissue with collagen even after the wound is closed. Collagen is the most common structural protein within the body, and is quite scattered during the proliferation phase. However, once the wound is cleared up, your damaged skin starts to resemble its former self.

That said, wound healing is not a perfect process. Scar tissue has a tensile strength of 80 percent of normal tissue and does not contain pores, follicles, and sweat glands. If collagen production gets out of control, buildup will result in raised and discolored scars called keloids and hypertrophoic scars.

Scars form when something penetrates the dermis, or middle layer of skin. This is typically what happens with surgical scars, which run deeper than cuts and scrapes. A normal scar from surgery will fade on its own within a few years. This may take longer if the trauma was greater.

Stages of Healing

Wounds generally go through three phases.

Stage 1: Swelling. Right away, blood vessels at the site of the cut will start to form clots that prevent you from losing too much blood. White blood cells move into the wound, working as infection-control agents that fight bacteria. This phase can last up to six days after surgery, so you will likely notice redness and swelling. If you notice oozing pus that smells bad, this can signal infection so call the doctor.

Stage 2: Rebuilding. This stage lasts about four days to a month after surgery, whereby a scar will start to form on the cut. The edges will come together, where you may see some thickening of the skin or new red bumps inside the wound. Sharp, shooting pains are normal and signal you are getting sensations back in the nerves.

This is the stage where you will want to apply Scarfade (silicone scar gel) to the area twice a day.

Stage 3: Remodeling. This is when the wound has filled in nicely, and a new surface has formed. This stage lasts between six months and two years. Your scar will go from thick, raised and red to flat and thin.

To learn more about how Scarfade can fade your surgical scars faster, order at 800-771-2215 or read more about our products.