Facelifts are usually done to remove fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin brought about by aging. However, after a facelift procedure there will be scars just like any other surgical procedure. These scars are usually hidden in the folds of the skin and will start to fade after six months. However, you still want to look good within these six months of healing. You ask, what can be done?
Fortunately, there are remedies which can either hasten healing to limit scar formation or can temporarily hide your scars while they are healing. Before we talk about these methods, let us first review the types of scars found after a typical facelift procedure and how they heal through time.
All the types of facelift will have incisions, most of which are at the skin around your ear. Incisions are usually done in the hairline above and in the front of the top of the ear, in front of the ear, behind the ear and its hairline and under the chin if a necklift is done. The most visible scars are those located in front of the ear.
After the procedure, incisions will undergo a healing process wherein the body closes the wound from infection coming from the outside environment. The body does this through the process of inflammation, which makes the wound initially red, swollen and painful. While the wound heals, a scab is formed on the outside to protect the wound while the damaged tissue heals underneath. When the tissues underneath the scab are already repaired, the scab falls off, creating a scar.
The scar tissue is not that strong as normal tissue because during the time of healing, there will still be collagen synthesis and signs of minimal inflammation on the wound area. It would still take one year for the scar to heal completely and it would still take several years for it to fade completely. Scar formation is dependent on tension on the sutures when closing incisions, deep muscle tightening before skin closure, the type of suture used, early removal of sutures, infection, wound care surgical technique and surgeon experience.
There are two ways of dealing with scars from facelifts. First is to minimize formation of facelift scars so that you can hide them better and second is to hide these scars.
You can minimize formation of scars through several ways. One is through gentle massage for about 4 to 6 weeks. You can star gently rubbing or massaging the healed wound once the sutures have been removed and once the wound looks well-healed. Use a mild moisturizing cream to massage the area of the scar. You can also use petroleum jelly, aloe gel or cocoa butter which may promote softening and whitening of scar tissue. Using creams with Vitamin E can also help.
Another way to minimize scar formation is to stay out of the sun more often. If you cannot avoid exposure to the sun, you can use a sunblock with a sunscreen of SPF greater than 20. If your facelift scars get exposed to the sun more often, they may turn red and be discolored and the scar remains longer than expected.
Your doctor may provide you with an antibiotic cream to cleanse your wound with. You should use this cream to prevent infections which may cause scarring on the skin.
Good nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits may also affect wound healing and scar formation. Consume a lot of fruits and vegetables because these foods contain antioxidants. You may also opt to take supplemental Vitamin C to promote wound healing. A well-balanced diet is essential for wound healing. Avoid smoking because free radicals generated by smoke can cause your scars to linger longer than expected. Diabetics should maintain good blood sugar control.
Silicone gel sheets can also help in promoting healing of damaged tissues and minimizing scar formation. You have to seek opinion of your doctor regarding the use of these. Your wound should be covered by a sheet of silicone gel completely and the sheet should be left in place as long as tolerated. When washing, you may remove the sheet. Silicone sheets can effectively reduce scar formation when used for up to 2 to 3 months.
In cases when the scar is too red and lumpy for more than 7months after a facelift, you should see your doctor. Your doctor may suggest other procedures such as IPL or Intermittent Pulsed Light treatments, Non ablative Fractional Erbium Laser treatments, steroid tapes or steroid injections.
We now go back to the other method of dealing with facelift scars, which is to hide scars. You can do this through wearing makeup or changing your hairstyle.
You can wear makeup to hide facelift scars. Concealers, foundation and powders can hide scars effectively. There are many concealers marketed commercially which are good for camouflaging scars. Wear a concealer first before adding other cosmetics. You can also use foundation that closely matches your skin color and tone. Small amounts of foundation should be applied one at a time to hide scars. Lastly, powder may be used to set makeup so that it does not smear and stays longer. For permanent scars, there is also permanent makeup available.
A camouflage kit containing adhesive creams and powders can also be purchased from salons, beauty supply shops or drugstores. These adhesive substances form a paste that covers your scars. Concealing tapes, adhesive tapes or skintone-colored micropore tapes applied to your face can also hide scars. In using these tapes, you should cut the adhesive to match the shape of your scar and that so that it blends with the skin color.
Your hairstyle can also hide scars from your facelift. Bangs can hide scars on the forehead and on areas near the ear. Articles of clothing such as a hat, a headband, a wig, a scarf or jewelry can also hide scars.