How long does a scar need to heal?

Written by: Dra. Carmen Iglesias Urraca
Edited by: Anna Raventós Rodríguez

The scar is the signal after the healing of a wound - traumatic or secondary - to a surgery. It is usually considered the final stage of an illness or injury, and in some cases also the beginning of an emotional problem depending on the location, size or shape of the scar.


Healing is an active process that lasts for 12-18 months. We can distinguish different types:


  • The normal scar, which is flattened, begins reddening and then takes on the normal color of the skin.
  • Anomalous (or pathological) scars; And its origin can be in the form in which the wound originated or its location as in a natural predisposition of the skin to this type of cicatrization. Hypertrophic scars, keloid, atrophic, dyschromic, etc. can appear.


It can also happen that the scars are painful because they trap some nerve, or they can limit the mobility of a joint because they become retractile.


Types of Scar

  • Hypertrophic scars are those that are elevated and red and within the margins of the wound.
  • Keloids are also erythematous lesions, usually pruritic (itchy) and elevated, outside the margins of the previous lesion. Pruritus (itching) is usually the most striking sign and should be treated early.


Color alterations, both highly colored (hyperpigmented) and whitish that do not acquire color in spite of sun exposure, are due to alterations in melanocytes of the skin.


Scar sign


Scar Treatment

During the maturation period of the scar, avoid sun exposure. This is especially important in the first 6-8 months after skin tightening.


Hydration is another of the most important measures to help healing. Silicone dressings are usually used from the skin closure until 8 months. Its use must be methodical and prolonged to be able to verify its efficiency.


Massages and treatment with radiofrequency are also useful in this period.


Only after the first 10 months and when the scar has stopped changing can you begin to consider other medical treatments.


These are: intralesional injection of corticosteroids, dermabrasion, peels, laser in its different varieties, photodynamic therapy, botulinum toxin, plasma with growth factors, imiquimod and anti-inflammatory products.


Remove scars with surgery

When the already mature scars remain unaesthetic the surgery on them should be evaluated.


Choosing the moment is very important.. The scar should be deflated, normal and soft (about 12-18 months).


Then we must evaluate the most appropriate surgical method: resection of the same with depth detachment, filling with fat grafts or local flaps are some of the techniques that can be used.


For larger scars it is usually necessary to plan a sequential excision or surgery in two times using in the first an expander of the skin.


When the scars are linear and traverse the normal wrinkles of the expression, they must lengthen making them zigzagging and less obvious.


After the surgery you should have the same care as in the beginning: sun protection, hydration, massage, avoid tobacco and silicone dressings.


Recommendation in case of scar

Before a scar, the most important thing is patience. It is a long process in which rushing does not help to achieve the best results.


Consult with the specialist in plastic surgery , you will recommend your best treatment in an individualized way.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dra. Carmen Iglesias Urraca
Plastic surgery

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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