scar so­lu­tions

Plas­tic sur­geon Dr Rory Dower, of Ther­apy Spe­cial­ist Med­i­cal Spa in Som­er­set West, an­swers your ques­tions.

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What ex­actly is a scar? A scar de­vel­ops af­ter an in­jury to the skin. It’s made up of ‰brous tis­sue, which is why it looks so dif­fer­ent to your other skin. It typ­i­cally has three phases: the inŽam­ma­tory phase, which lasts about three days; the pro­lif­er­a­tive phase, where the body at­tempts to re­build the tis­sue, this lasts three to six weeks; then the re­mod­elling phase, which can last up to a year. I’m go­ing for surgery. Is there any­thing I can do be­fore­hand to make the scar look bet­ter af­ter? Stop smok­ing at least two to four weeks be­fore your surgery. Smok­ing de­creases the blood sup­ply to your wounds, so you have fewer re­pair cells avail­able for heal­ing. Then, wash with an­tibac­te­rial soap the night and morn­ing of the surgery. It helps de­crease the risk of in­fec­tion. How should I treat my scars? Re­search shows that cov­er­ing it with sil­i­cone gel im­me­di­ately will help im­prove it. There is some ev­i­dence that tap­ing will help, but make sure to ap­ply sun­screen on the scar for at least two to four weeks, as the sun can cause hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion and inŽam­ma­tion. How long must I treat it? Keep look­ing af­ter it for at least three months. Once you’re happy with the way it looks, stop treat­ment. Not happy? Con­tinue for up to a year, as there may still be some im­prove­ment. My scar feels numb, why? Numb­ness is com­mon at sur­gi­cal sites be­cause of the small sen­sory nerves that have been in­jured in the speci‰c area. Your nor­mal sen­sa­tion will usu­ally re­cover, but may take up to a year and a half. If it hasn’t by then, the numb­ing may be per­ma­nent.

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