There are several ways to ensure that you achieve the best possible scar. We will talk to you in detail about these when your sutures are removed.
They include the following:
Once the sutures have been removed the wound will generally have around 50% to 80% of its final strength. At this time you should commence massaging of the scar with Vitamin E cream or a simple non-perfumed moisturiser. This should be performed twice a day (5 minutes each time) for 3 months, along the entire length of the scar. Use your thumb or forefinger to move the scar in a circular fashion over the underlying tissues. Gradually increase the force that is applied over a period of 2-3 weeks, and spend more time on any part of the scar that feels ‘lumpy’. This helps greatly in the flattening and softening of scars. Regular massage can also be very beneficial in reducing the sensitivity of new scars.
As you will no doubt be aware, there is a large advertising market for products that claim to reduce or even erase scars. Unfortunately these assertions are often greatly exaggerated and simply take advantage of the normal scar maturation process (ie. scars almost always improve with time) discussed above. The only products that are of proven scientific benefit (in specific cases) are silicone products such as silicone gel sheeting. This is cut to fit the scar and needs to be applied 23 hours a day to be effective. Generally I would make use of silicone in the treatment of hypertrophic or keloid scars in combination with other treatments. I will certainly advise you about these products if it is appropriate.
Adhesive paper tapes such as Micropore, available at pharmacies, can reduce the possibility of scars becoming raised and are effective in applying gentle and constant pressure to skin. You may place the tape directly onto the wound (even if it is not yet completely healed), and leave it in place for several days at a time. You are able to shower with it in place and perform the scar massage through the tape. Simply use some vegetable oil to soak the tape off after a few days and replace with a fresh piece. Taping should continue until the scar is flat and pale, usually around 3 months. Taping also has the advantage of providing UV protection for an immature scar.
If a scar dries out and cracks open, more scar tissue can form. Moisturising keeps the scar soft, stops it from drying out, and helps with scar itchiness. You can use any moisturiser or a petroleum product such as Vaseline.
Sun exposure should be minimised on all fresh scars as UV radiation can prolong the redness of immature scars and at times cause permanent pigment change within scars. Taping a scar can be very effective in achieving this goal. You should aim to use an approved SPF 30+ sun block on the face all year around.