1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Preventing or Minimizing Scars After Surgery


Updated June 30, 2014

2 of 6

Risk Factors For Scarring You Cannot Change
Certain factors beyond your control influence your ability to heal without scarring. These risk factors cannot be changed, but help determine if you will scar badly after your procedure.

Risk Factors For Scarring:

  • Your Age: As we age, our skin becomes less elastic and becomes thinner. This is because collagen (which makes the skin elastic) changes as we age, and the fat layer under our skin becomes thinner. The result of these changes, along with sun exposure, smoking, exposure to the environment and other lifestyle issues, means that skin does not heal as well or as quickly as we age. The benefit to age is that the imperfections that occur over time, like sun damage, work to help conceal scars that might be more obvious on younger skin.
  • Your Race: Some races are more likely to scar than others. Black people are more likely to form hypertrophic and keloid scars, which are an overgrowth of scar tissue at the site of an injury. Fair skinned people may find that their scars are more obvious than they would be with a darker complexion.
  • Genetic (Inherited) Tendency To Scar: If your parents or siblings tend to scar heavily, you are likely to do the same. If you have a family tendency to scar badly, you may want to discuss this with your surgeon.
  • Size and Depth of Your Incision: A large incision is much more likely to leave a scar than a small incision. The deeper and longer the incision, the longer the healing process will take and the greater the opportunity for scarring. A larger incision may be exposed to more stress as you move, which can cause slower healing.
  • How Quickly Your Skin Heals: You may be one of the genetically blessed people who seem to heal magically, quickly and easily with minimal scarring, or you may be diabetic and your skin tends to heal slowly. How quickly you heal is a personal thing and can change with illness or injury.
Related Video
How to Reduce the Risk of SIDS
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Surgery
  4. After Surgery
  5. Risk Factors for Scarring After Surgery

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.