As a plastic surgeon, I am frequently shown cuts, scrapes and other wounds from different activities of daily living. I am often asked, “What can I do to keep this from leaving a scar?”
The simple truth is that all but the most superficial cuts and scrapes will usually leave a scar. The final result of the scar is ultimately based on your body’s own ability to heal. Everyone has different capabilities based on genetics, age and general health. However, there are a couple of things that you can do to speed up the healing process and minimize the long-term appearance of the scar.
- Keep the cut or scrape moist with antibiotic ointment during the healing phase. When grandma tells you to let it dry out, don’t listen. Wounds heal better in a moist environment. My general recommendation is to shower and gently cleanse the wound with soap and water. When you are finished pat it dry, apply antibiotic ointment and a sterile gauze dressing or band-aid. Continue to do this daily.
- Keep it out of the sun! Scars and wounds will tan more readily than the surrounding skin, making them even more noticeable. This “tanning” will take much longer to go away than a normal suntan. While the wound is still moist and unhealed, keep it covered and out of the sun. Once it heals, either keep it covered with clothing or keep a high SPF (greater than 30) sunblock on it while you are outdoors. Do this for 6 months.
- Try aftercare with silicone sheeting. Literature demonstrates good results from silicone sheeting so this is my go-to product. These sheets or strips are available over the counter from your local drugstore. They are washable and reusable and are maintained on a scar essentially at all times for usually around 6 months. Other over the counter products have shown less consistent results.
These recommendations are for minor wounds! For anything more serious, consult your doctor to ensure that you are not in need of more advanced wound care.
St. Bernards Plastic Surgery is located at 1150 East Matthews in Suite 201. If you would like to make an appointment or consult with Dr. Nolan Jaeger call St. Bernards Plastic Surgery at 870.336.3190.
Noaln Jaeger is a Plastic Surgeon with St. Bernards Plastic Surgery. After earning his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in Oklahoma City he completed his General Surgery Internship at the University of Nevada School of Medicine in Las Vegas, Nevada. He went on to complete his Integrated Plastic Surgery Residency at the University of Nevada also. Dr. Jaeger was one of the 25 new physicians who moved to Jonesboro and joined St. Bernards this summer.