Why is a scar red?

Scars seem to get worse before they get better. For about six weeks after surgery the scar becomes red, firm and hard. This is the body's way of making a very strong and solid scar. Over the next four months the scar will soften and lose the redness. This is the normal process of scarring. Sometimes scars take longer to mature and others may become thickened and get worse.

What will the scar look like?

Most scars will become a soft flat white line.

When will the scar go away?

Once there is a scar, it is forever. Generally, it will blend into the normal skin creases so that it is hardly noticeable. Most scars reach this point six months after surgery. It can take up to two years for some severe scars to fully develop.

Will vitamin E help?

No one knows for sure if vitamin E helps scars, but it doesn't hurt. If you want to use a vitamin E product, use a lotion form and apply it no more than twice a day. Do not use the liquid from vitamin E capsules for scar treatment. After the incision has healed, any skin moisturizer applied with gentle firm massage to the scar area will help the scar mature. Two weeks after surgery you may massage the scar for five minutes four times a day.

What can I do to make the scar look better?

The most important thing is to give the scar time to heal. Massage and moisturizing creams or oils may help. Lotions without alcohol are best. It is important to stay out of the sun as much as possible while the scar is maturing. Sun exposure will make the scar more red and hard. If the scar is making movement at a joint difficult, it is important to stretch the joint and seek the advice of a doctor.

My child’s surgery was two years ago. What can be done to make the scar look better?

Once a scar has become a white line, it will not change. If the line is wide, surgery (scar revision) can be done to try to bring it together into a more narrow line. Some scars that are raised can be brought down to the level of the rest of the skin. If the scar is preventing normal movement, scar revision or release may be needed to correct this. Sometimes scar revision can be done using tissue around the scar to make it look better.

What is a hypertrophic scar or keloid?

A hypertrophic scar is a scar that forms a thickened, raised ridge. A keloid is a hypertrophic scar, which grows bigger than the original scar. There are many ways to treat these types of scars. One of the ways is surgery; another is by applying pressure to the area. Steroids injected into the scar can be helpful when the scar is growing. In severe cases, short-term low dose radiation may be used with surgery. Special care of the scar is necessary if there is a history of hypertrophic or keloid scarring.

What if I have other questions?

Please call your child's doctor or clinic for more information.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 07/2018