Many surgical procedures that people can choose to undergo result in some form of scarring. This can be minimal, for example of you have undergone a facelift or eyebrow surgery, it can be moderate, for example if you have undergone a breast uplift or had implants, or it can be more extensive, for example if you have undergone a bigger operation such as a tummy tuck.
As I explain to patients at my Coventry and Leamington cosmetic surgery clinics, the rate at which you heal from operations such as these depends on many different factors, such as:
- How old you are when you decide to have the operation – typically the older you are, the longer it takes your body to heal. This is because as we get older, our skin becomes thinner and takes longer to restore. It loses some of its natural elasticity.
- How healthy you are – generally if you are living an active, healthy lifestyle, and combining a balanced diet with exercise, this should speed up the healing progress.
- Your genetics – sometimes it is just luck of the draw, some people are genetically programmed to heal better than others, and if you’re lucky – this is you, if you’re not, it may take a bit more hard work and perseverance. Some underlying medical conditions can also affect how long you take to heal, for example those with diabetes often find that healing is slower.
What to do to try and reduce the visible scars left from an operation
There are some easy things you can do to try and give your body a helping hand in the regeneration progress, and to try and give it the best possible chance of healing post-operative scars.
Make healthier lifestyle choices
If you smoke and drink alcohol then consider reducing (or cutting these out) of your routine. Smoking ages skin and can slow down the healing process.
Many surgeons will ask that you significantly reduce (or ideally stop) smoking in the weeks leading up to your operation and in the time directly afterwards. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, and this can also slow down the skin’s ability to heal.
Weave the correct nutrients into your diet
Some food contain natural additives that can help the body to heal. Protein is one of these components, and is found in many every-day foods, such as chicken, fish, beef and many dairy products.
If you are a vegetarian, ensure that your diet is enriched with alternatives such as soya products, as these contain proteins that you might be missing out on. They are also low in fat, so act as a very healthy alternative to some of the fattier meats.
Try scar oils
These products don’t work for everyone, but some people swear by them. Products such as bio-oil are high in vitamins A and E, they also contain many essential oils such as calendula, lavender, rosemary and chamomile oil, all of which are thought to help the skin regenerate from unsightly concerns such as scars and stretch marks.