Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tips & Tricks for Scars

Today I wanted to share with you some information about post-op scarring.  I tend to heal slowly (from all “owies,” not just surgery) and scar fairly severely (i.e., granulation tissue and keloids). Knowing that, I have been conducting my own experiments in scar mitigation and I am here to report my findings. Fortunately, these tips cross all scar boundaries. I started, of course, treating my post-surgery scars, but I've found that these tips work equally well for skinned knees, vicious bug bites, and even zits!  

  1.  As soon as you are cleared by your medical professional to wash your wound or incision, keep it very clean. Never rub or scrub the wound with a rag or loofah, but rather lather just your hands with a mild liquid soap and warm water to "flush" the area. Many times, this flushing is enough cleaning, but if you have gravel, dirt, or sweat in the wound at any time, you can use gentle, circular motions with your fingertips to clean your wound. Be especially careful when scabs start to form -- you want to let them soften and fall off naturally. Do not, I repeat, do not pick off your scabs! Bottom Line: Follow Drs. orders, but keep that sucker clean!
  2. Use Neosporin on large wounds for 3-5 days (for smaller wounds, like zits and tiny incisions, 1-2 days will suffice). With clean fingers or a cotton swab, dab a smooth layer of Neosporin over your wound and if all possible, let it absorb into your skin in the open air for 15-20 minutes before covering it with a bandage or putting on clothing.
  3. Use Mederma immediately (just after the 3-5 days of Neosporin if you have a large wound). I could seriously write an ode of joy to Mederma praising it for its abilities grow skin cells ... okay, so maybe it’s not actually growing cells, but it works! Mederma is always in my makeup bag and it is a part of my skincare regimen each morning and night. For best results, you need to apply Mederma several times a day, so consider buying two tubes and keep one in your desk or purse and one at home; but at the very least, apply it in the morning and at night. I have also had great results in trying to fade old scars. Old scar therapy takes considerably more time (several months with repeated use), but if you're concerned about scar appearance, then it is worth it.
  4. You'll probably hear me talking more in the future about going natural and organic (I am slowly transitioning my food, health, beauty and household products to natural and organic when possible) and if you've already made that lifestyle change, KUDOS to you! So with that concern in mind, for the all-natural types, I recommend this product: The Left Hand Soap Co. Skin Salve. This soothing salve is handmade without any petroleum products in sustainable, craft batches, so it's better for you and the environment. I use TLH salves for maintenance of minor scars after Neosporin and in addition Mederma, but I'm confident you could use it in place of those two products and experience excellent results. It keeps the skin moist, which is the main premise of healing wounds without scarring. 
  5. Let the affected area breathe when possible. For some post-op care, you'll have to keep it bandaged, wrapped, or covered, but sans any specific instructions, think breathable fabrics and less is more. You’ll want to keep the skin moist and germs out, but after a few days, Band-Aids seem to keep the wound “mushy,” so I generally only use them for a couple of days. Moisture is still important, even after the wound has dried, so keep a medicated moisturizer on the affected area for several weeks.
  6. Massage. A CCA mom gave me a tip prior to my last surgery and recommended cross fiber massage as a post-op treatment. She said her son had benefitted from it and suggested I try it. Wow, was she right! I was skeptical at first, but the healing hands of my massage professional made a real difference in my healing process. In the therapy, we first focused on draining lymph from my face and jawline, which tends to accumulate, causing a puffy, red look and the feeling of warm inflammation in my face. After she drained the lymph, we worked on loosening up the scar tissue for about six months. I experienced very positive results, which I will be sharing in an upcoming blog post about medical massage ... so stay tuned!

Hopefully these tips about scar care will help you fade old scars. But one of the most important things to remember is that scars tell a story. I think scars are intriguing and beautiful. So don’t hide your scars – celebrate the person you are and the struggles you've overcome. And remember, scars are cool. If you don’t believe me, just ask these three!

"It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be."
J.K. Rowling, Author, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
"I love it because it makes me a person who has an interesting past, 
and it reminds me that I can survive any pain." 
Padma Lakshmi, Top Chef Host & Model
Padma has a seven inch scar on her arm from a childhood car accident 
and discussed it in the May 2009 issue of Allure.
"I believe that in all forms of art there has to have been some initial adversity: 
that is what makes art, as far as I'm concerned," he said. 
"And it's not something you outlive: once you experience it, it's always with you. 
It forms part of your makeup; probably it's the reason for your makeup."
Seal, Musician and Celebrity
Seal has often discussed the scars that showed up on his face when he was 23,
an effect of discoid lupus erythematosus.


1 comment:

  1. Remarkable tips written you in this post, keep it up.



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