The decision to have plastic surgery is a major and personal one. Patients can often achieve an improved appearance through plastic surgery, which makes it tremendously popular, and most patients are thrilled with their results. However, post-surgery scarring is one of the downfalls – and anytime an incision is made to the skin, there will be a scar. The risk of severe scarring is enough to make some patients rethink their decision to have plastic surgery at all, but scarring can be minimized by optimal placement and proper aftercare.
Choose Your Surgeon Carefully
The surgical technique used has a major impact on what kind of scarring you can expect. Choose an experienced, board certified surgeon and discuss the types of incisions and suturing he or she uses, as well as what kind of scarring you can expect.
Smoking affects scar healing in several ways. First of all, it increases your chances of having complications such as infection, which delays wound healing and exacerbates scarring. Smoking also affects the oxygenation of your tissues by causing your blood vessels to constrict. This allows less oxygen to get to the wound, which impedes healing. The increased carbon monoxide in your bloodstream is another way smoking decreases the amount of oxygen in your blood. Finally, smoking depletes Vitamin C faster, and Vitamin C is important in collagen formation and immune system function, as well as being a powerful antioxidant.
Try Silicone Scar Treatments
Silicone sheeting and topical gels work to improve the appearance of scars by reducing the color and height of the scar and softening its texture. Silicone increases hydration in the area, regulates growth factors such as collagen production, and reduces the discomfort and itching sometimes caused by scars.
Use Aloe Vera
Aloe Vera has been shown to promote wound healing and inhibit inflammation. Aloe Vera can be used on healing wounds (not open wounds) to reduce scar formation with its glycoproteins, which stop inflammation and pain, and its polysaccharides, which encourage skin growth and repair. You can either apply Aloe Vera straight from the plant or you can use an ointment or gel containing it as an ingredient.
Avoid Ingredients Not Shown to Be Helpful
Vitamin E, though a popular anti-aging ingredient, has been shown to be at best ineffective and at worst harmful to scars, having a worsening effect rather than the opposite. In fact, 1 in 3 people are allergic to Vitamin E and develop contact dermatitis. Oftentimes people believe that Vitamin E has helped with their scar healing, however it is only the moisturizing effect that has made a difference.
Other ingredients, such as Aloe Vera, licorice, and silicone, are known to have a much greater positive effect on scar healing. You should also avoid any products containing artificial ingredients like preservatives, parabens, and fragrances. These products increase the risk of allergic reaction or irritation, for starters. Hydroquinone and kojic acid are other ingredients that are harmful and should be avoided.
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