How long does the scarring take to settle following surgery?
Most surgical incisions will take approximately 2 weeks to heal and be considered closed. However, the overall length of time for the scar to heal is 9-12 months. This is the time it takes for any scar to mature into a pale and flat scar.
Immediately after surgery, the strength of the scar gradually increases and the maximum tension that can be reached in the wound is achieved around 4-6 weeks. It is advisable to avoid massaging the scar prior to 4 weeks as this can result in stretching of the weaker scar.
Wounds also lose their moisturising ability for a variable period of time after surgery/ injury. Moisturising creams can be used after 2 weeks from surgery to keep the skin healthy. You can combine moisturising and massage after 4 weeks.
The scar goes through various stages and initially will be red and raised. It will eventually become flat and pale. In the first 6-9 months following surgery, it is advisable to use high protection cream (SPF 30-50) over the scar. during this time, on contact with the sun, the scar will go red straight away as it is still in it's immature state. Once the scar has matured, then you can go back to using your regular sun protectant cream.
Some scars may stretch following surgery. It is advised to leave wounds for approximately 3 months from surgery to allow for any swelling or bruising to settle.