Scar Minimization

You will have a scar anytime you have surgery and a cut is made in the skin or you have something removed from your skin (mole, skin cancer, cyst). Although scars are unavoidable following surgery, there are ways to minimize their appearance.

It is important to follow all the instructions you receive from your caregiver about wound care. How your wound heals will influence the appearance of your scar. If you do not follow the wound care instructions as directed, complications such as infection may occur. Wound instructions include keeping the wound clean, moist, and not letting the wound form a scab. Some people form scars that are raised and lumpy (hypertrophic) or larger than the initial wound (keloidal).

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Follow wound care instructions as directed.

  • Keep the wound clean by washing it with soap and water.

  • Keep the wound moist with provided antibiotic cream or petroleum jelly until completely healed. Moisten twice a day for about 2 weeks.

  • Get stitches (sutures) taken out at the scheduled time.

  • Avoid touching or manipulating your wound unless needed. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching your wound.

  • Follow all restrictions such as limits on exercise or work. This depends on where your scar is located.

  • Keep the scar protected from sunburn. Cover the scar with sunscreen/sunblock with SPF 30 or higher.

  • Gently massage the scar using a circular motion to help minimize the appearance of the scar. Do this only after the wound has closed and all the sutures have been removed.

  • For hypertrophic or keloidal scars, there are several ways to treat and minimize their appearance. Methods include compression therapy, intralesional corticosteroids, laser therapy, or surgery. These methods are performed by your caregiver.

Remember that the scar may appear lighter or darker than your normal skin color. This difference in color should even out with time.

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You have a fever.

  • You develop signs of infection such as pain, redness, pus, and warmth.

  • You have questions or concerns.