Reducing Eyelid Surgery Scars at Home After Surgery
You’re considering an eyelid lift, but worry that it might leave visible scars in such a prominent place on your face. It’s true that, like all surgery, an eyelid lift does leave scars. But the incisions can be artfully placed in the eyelid’s natural folds to be essentially unnoticeable after healing. And both the skill of the surgeon and your self-care after surgery can combine to make the scars virtually invisible.
Here are some key steps you can take to minimize scarring and get the most beautiful results from your eyelid surgery.
Take Care of Yourself and Your Eyelids After Surgery
Your doctor will give you care instructions for the period following your surgery, and it’s important to follow these closely. Until the sutures are removed, you will need to ice the eyelids to reduce swelling, keep the area clean and dry, and sleep with your head higher than your chest. Your surgeon and care team members will explain and show you how and when to safely clean the area using drops or ointments and gently dabbing, not rubbing, with a sterile pad. The critical goal in these first days after surgery is to promote rapid healing and prevent infection, both of which are important to the prevention of visible scarring.
For a week or so after the sutures are removed, you will be instructed to avoid heavy lifting, strenuous exercise, or bending from the waist to pick things up from the floor. The surge in blood pressure from those activities can reopen the incision, a setback that could increase scarring.
Good health habits after surgery also promote healing and reduce scarring. Eat a balanced diet high in protein, drink plenty of water, and keep to a healthy sleep schedule.
Avoid Disturbing or Irritating Your Eyelids
In the days and weeks after your surgery:
- Don’t rub your eyes. The pressure and stretching from your hands can reopen the incisions. Your doctor will tell you when it’s safe to touch your eyelids again.
- Don’t smoke. Most plastic surgeons will not operate unless you agree to refrain from smoking for at least two weeks before the procedure, and you’ll need to avoid smoking after the surgery as well. Smoking after surgery can slow healing and increase the risk of visible scarring.
- Stay away from alcohol. It can contribute to dehydration, drying your skin at a time when it needs extra moisture.
- Don’t wear contact lenses until your doctor tells you it’s OK, usually about two weeks after the surgery.
- Don’t use eye makeup until the incisions have completely healed. You might be tempted to apply makeup to hide the initial discoloration after surgery, but this short-term cosmetic concealment can do lasting harm. Putting makeup on the area of the incision too soon can lead to infection or to makeup becoming sealed in the wound, causing a tattoo-like effect.
Use a Scar-Reducing Cream or Ointment
Recent studies have shown the effectiveness of silicone-based creams in making scars less noticeable when used in the first few weeks after the wound has healed. Your doctor may also use silicone dressings on the incision as it is healing.
Talk to your doctor about treatments to minimize scarring, especially if you are prone to scarring. Other options include ointments or liquid applications that include steroids or vitamin E. Your doctor may also prescribe medications or a special wound-care regimen.
Never use any ointments or applications without talking with your doctor first. Some treatments promoted on the internet are not helpful, and may even be harmful. And applying treatments to the wound too soon, before it is completely healed, increases the risk of infection.
Avoid Sun Exposure
Avoid direct exposure to the sun in the weeks after surgery. The UV rays in sunlight affect skin coloration and can cause permanent discoloration in scar tissue if exposed during the healing process. Wear a hat to shade your face and sunglasses to protect your eyes. When the incisions have healed, apply sunscreen to the area before going outside.
Dr. Stephen Bresnick, M.D., in Encino, CA, is one of the most skilled, experienced, and highly-rated plastic surgeons offering procedures in the Los Angeles area. Call us at (818) 981-3333 or contact us today to schedule a consultation.