To treat a deep wound or close an incision after surgery, stitches are usually needed. These sutures should be well cared for and cleaned daily so as not to leave scars. However, everyone's skin recovery process is different, so sometimes there are stitches or scars on your skin. Fortunately, there are ways you can try to reduce the appearance of stitches and prevent scarring in the long run.
Method 1 of 2: Using Home Treatments
Step 1. Protect seam marks and clean during the day
While you may think that removing the bandage and letting the stitches "breathe" will speed up the healing process, it can actually slow down recovery by as much as 50%. However, damp and wet can prevent the formation of scabs and hinder the healing process or cause infection in the wound. So, use a clean, sterile bandage to protect the stitches during their recovery.
- Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic ointment or recommend that you buy an over-the-counter antibiotic such as Neosporin. An ointment like this will help fight infection as well as promote healing of your stitches.
- Use a new bandage each time you apply the ointment to the suture surface. After using the ointment for a week, you can continue to apply petroleum jelly to encourage new skin growth on the suture surface.
Step 2. Use a silicone bandage to help heal the suture marks
Silicone pads such as Curad Scar Therapy Cosmetic Pads, ReJuveness Pure Silicone Sheets, and Syprex can apply continuous pressure to the stitches. This pressure will help heal the stitches and even out the scar tissue.
There are many silicone pads that can be cut and adjusted to the shape of the stitches
Step 3. Do not apply vitamin E or hydrogen peroxide to the stitches
Contrary to what is generally believed, based on research results, vitamin E is actually known to inhibit wound healing, rather than promote it. Some people may also have an allergic reaction to vitamin E. Just apply medicated ointment or antibiotic cream to the stitches instead of vitamin E gel.
While it can help clean open wounds or stitches, hydrogen peroxide is known to destroy new cell growth and hinder the body's recovery process
Step 4. Protect the seam marks from the sun with sunscreen
The sun's ultraviolet rays can severely damage the stitches and hinder the healing process. To prevent this, apply a lot of sunscreen to the surface of your skin, including the surface of the stitches, every morning before leaving the house.
Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30
Step 5. Massage the scar area after it heals
Massaging the healed scar will help break down the collagen clumps that have stuck to the underlying tissue.
Gently massage the area with the lotion in a circular motion for 15-30 seconds several times a day
Method 2 of 2: Using Professional Treatment
Step 1. Remove the stitches after one week
Talk to your doctor about removing the external suture before the scar appears (a small lump on both sides of the incision). If possible, have your doctor remove the outer sutures after a week to avoid permanent scarring.
Step 2. Discuss laser treatment with your doctor
For a more serious option, consider laser treatment, which can remove stitches or scars. Using this treatment on new scars (6-8 weeks after the injury) will be more effective in removing scars. There are two types of laser treatment:
- Pulsed dye laser: This nonablative treatment uses an intense and focused laser beam. The heat is then absorbed by the blood vessels in the skin and helps improve the texture and thickness of the scar. In addition, this treatment can also reduce redness around the scar.
- Fractional ablative laser: this treatment creates a small hole in the scar, which stimulates collagen production, and changes and disguises its shape. This laser treatment is recommended for superficial scars.
- Most laser treatments for scars have to be done several times and cost between IDR 4,000,000 to IDR 8,000,000 for each session
Step 3. See a doctor if the stitches are red, irritated, or swollen
If you experience the above symptoms accompanied by fever and increased pain intensity around the stitches, you should see a doctor. Your stitches may become infected, or you may have an allergic reaction to an antibacterial cream.