C-SECTION AWARENESS MONTH
Upon leaving the hospital, new mothers aren’t always advised on how best to care for their c-section scars – here’s a chat with Hannah Poulton, C-section mother & 20+ years UK Scar Therapist and Physiotherapist, on tips to help improve your scar and soothe pain with non-invasive procedures such as scar massage, silicone sheets and heat therapy.
How long after surgery should I wait before engaging with my scar?
When the scar is less than 4 weeks old, it is in the early stages of healing, and is called an “Immature Scar.”
You have to be really careful when you are dealing with any immature scars. Your body is doing the best it can, in terms of healing itself. However, you can start to take care of the scar straight away.
During this period, the scar is a in very active healing stage and more than ever very sensitive – here is a short list of “do’s and don’ts to start with:
- Pat dry your scar after coming out of the shower or bath
- Don’t use any harsh chemicals or scrubs on your scar
- Do not shave over the scar
- Keep it clean and dry
- Keep yourself well hydrated, eat well and get plenty of rest.
Only when the scar is between 4-6 weeks old, that there is no infection, the stiches or staples have come out and the scar has healed over and is closed, you can then start to moisturize your scar. Use a product that will enrich and aid in your scar recovery. Look
at for products which contain aloe vera, manuka honey and silicone gels/sheets. Silicone forms a barrier over the top of your scar and protects it. It prevents thickening of scar tissue.
When the scar is a few months or years old, you can also use silicone to improve your scar. Silicone helps prevent transdermal water loss. This occlusion and natural hydration are beneficial to the healing process and can help fade a pigmentated scar. Silicone sheet, in particular, provides compression therapy which helps regulate collagen and flatten the scar. In 2014 an international team of experts concluded that silicone sheets are the ‘gold standard’ therapy for the prevention and the treatment of hypertrophic scars and keloids, yet they should be used in a combination with other treatment options to provide patients with optimal outcomes such as scar massages and heat therapy.
How to relieve scar pain? Does scar massage really help?
Scar therapy can help release the tension at the surface of scars, it can help desensitise them (and reduce pain) and also help improve numbness. Engaging with your scar is so important for both physical and emotional recovery after your surgery. If your closed scar is still painful many weeks, months or years after your surgery, you should:
- Engage with your scar by sweeping your hands over where your scar is. Take deep breath to slow your breathing down. While focusing on your breathing, put your hands on your scar to provide gentle compression. Scar massage can help relieve tight and painful scars. Scar Therapy is light and gentle, and can be used after 6 weeks, when the scar has healed.
- Use heat therapy to speed up the healing process and provide soothing pain relief. Applying gentle heat directly to the damaged skin produces vasodilation (the dilation or widening of blood vessels) which increases blood flow and nutrients to the cells to allow for better healing.
If the pain is not subsiding, do not hesitate to contact your doctor.
What is the difference between a hypertrophic scar and a keloid?
Scars come in many shapes and sizes. 40-94% of scars following surgery become hypertrophic (raised). A typical hypertrophic scar follows a build-up of collagen within the scar borders. It doesn’t expand over while a keloid does widen. The body lays down more and more collagen.
Hypertrophic scars and keloids are manageable but need compression in order to flatten out and improve their appearance. Compression is absolutely necessary to flatten and improve hypertrophic scars and keloids and the best at home product to hinder collagen production is silicone sheets.
Can old scars still improve? If so How?
Absolutely! There are many approaches – both non-invasive and invasive – for improving your old scar. Be sure to talk with your doctor first about your scarring history and your concerns.
Be sure to discuss your scarring history and concerns with your doctor first.
A scar can take up to 2 years to reach maturity and even after this time, it is still
constantly changing, as your body is changing. Early engagement and treatment of a scar (after 6 weeks) will bring better outcomes for the individual, but this doesn’t mean that older scars (2 years plus) couldn’t improve. Obviously, The changes in older scars usually take longer, but I have been treating ladies with c-section scars which are 10 years old and we have seen great results in their scar!
It’s never too late to start engaging and helping your scar (and you) recover well.
What did you use to improve your caesarean section scar?
I tried the CicaLux product on my c-section scar that was over 3 years old. I have to say it was fantastic. You can see the differences in the redness and the raised appearance of my scar, which was really helpful. On a scar that was over 3 years old, it seems to be a dramatic improvement in such a quite short space of time.
CicaLux is a scar therapy treatment that combines 3 therapies in one innovative device. There is a silicone sheet that provides hydration and added compression thanks to the tape. They allowed the scar to heal and breathe while it improved the pigmentation and flattened out my scar. I used the stone to provide heat therapy. Heat therapy increases blood flow and allows more circulation in the area, which of course promotes healing. Heat therapy can also soothe the pain naturally if your scar still hurts.
My scar today is much more flattened and less red!
Take your time with your recovery whether it is scar from surgery such as a c-section scar, a mastectomy scar, an open-heart surgery scar or a scar from trauma. Don’t forget the emotional and physical impacts that some scarring can cause. Give your body the time to heal. Your body has come through a big process. Don’t hesitate to seek medical advice before taking care of your scar.
Check Out Hannah’s 3-year-old c-section scar results and full testimonial with Award-Winning CicaLux scar therapy here.
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