How to Reduce Scars after Blepharoplasty

By Dr Jake Lim – Plastic Surgeon | Updated: April 14, 2024

Tips and Recommendations to Reduce Scars after Blepharoplasty

Blepharoplasty, frequently termed as an “eyelid lift”, stands as one of the choices for individuals seeking surgical solutions for sagging or drooping eyelids. The main advantage of blepharoplasty is its versatility; it can be meticulously performed on both the upper and lower eyelids, depending on the patient’s needs and desired outcome. The procedure involves making precise incisions to remove excess skin that has lost its elasticity over time. In some cases, it’s not just the skin that contributes to the droopy appearance. Underlying muscles that have become lax and pockets of fat that have accumulated can also be addressed during the surgery. Once these elements are carefully removed or adjusted, the incisions are closed, and the healing process begins. However, as with any surgical intervention, there’s the potential for scars to form at the incision sites. With the right post-operative care and following recommended guidelines, you can reduce blepharoplasty scars, making them less noticeable over time.

Dr Jake Lim is a specialist plastic surgeon with experience in facial cosmetic procedures, including blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery).

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Why Do Scars Form?

Scars are a natural part of the body’s healing process. Whenever there’s an injury to the skin, whether from a minor cut or a surgical incision, the body springs into action to mend it. As the body repairs the wound, it creates new collagen fibres. This process results in a different texture and quality to the repaired skin area, which we recognise as a scar. It’s the body’s way of ensuring the skin’s integrity and strength after an injury. In the context of blepharoplasty, the incisions made, though precise and often hidden in the natural creases of the eyelids, will lead to scar formation as the skin heals.

Factors Affecting Scar Appearance

Many variables can influence how a scar develops and its appearance:

  • Skin Type: Everyone’s skin is unique, and some skin types are more prone to visible scarring than others. For instance, individuals with darker skin tones might experience hyperpigmented scars, while those with lighter skin might have scars that are paler than their natural skin tone
  • Location of the Wound: Scars on certain parts of the body or face can appear more pronounced due to the skin’s natural tension or the specific function of that area. For blepharoplasty patients, the good news is that the eyelid skin is thin and scars tend to be less noticeable, especially when the incisions are made in the natural folds
  • Skill of the Surgeon: A skilled plastic surgeon will make precise incisions, use refined suturing techniques, and provide thorough aftercare guidelines. All of these can contribute to less noticeable scarring
  • Age: Younger skin might have a more vigorous healing response, which can sometimes result in thicker scars. On the other hand, as we age, our skin might not heal as quickly, potentially leading to more prolonged redness or other minor discolouration
  • Aftercare: How you care for your wound post-surgery plays a massive role in scar development. Following your plastic surgeon’s guidelines on cleaning, moisturising, and protecting the wound can make a difference in the scar’s final appearance
  • External Factors: Exposure to the sun can darken a scar, making it more noticeable. It’s always a good idea to protect healing skin from direct sunlight. On the other hand, smoking can impair the healing process and might lead to more pronounced scars
Eyelid Surgery — Front View
Upper Eyelid Surgery — Front View

Best Practices to Reduce Scars after Blepharoplasty

Pre-operative care

Preparation is key. Before undergoing blepharoplasty, setting the stage for optimal healing can significantly influence the outcome of scarring. Here are some essential steps you can take before the procedure:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water. Hydrated skin can heal faster and more effectively
  • Nutrition: Consuming a balanced diet with essential vitamins and minerals supports the body’s natural healing process. In particular, vitamin C and zinc can be beneficial for skin health
  • Limit Alcohol and Caffeine: Both can dehydrate the skin, so it’s wise to reduce intake a few days before your surgery
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking restricts blood flow and can slow down the healing process. If you’re a smoker, aim to quit or at least reduce your intake in the weeks leading up to the surgery
  • Discuss Medications: Some medications and supplements can affect blood clotting or interfere with healing. Always inform Dr Lim about any regular medicines or supplements you take
  • Follow Surgeon’s Guidelines: Each plastic surgeon might have specific recommendations tailored to your situation. Adhere to these to set yourself up for the best possible recovery

Immediate post-operative care

The initial days following your blepharoplasty are pivotal in setting the course for scar development. Here’s what you can do:

  • Keep it Clean: It’s essential to prevent any infections. Clean the area gently as directed by your surgeon using the recommended solutions
  • Avoid Rubbing: Touching or rubbing the eyes can irritate the incisions. Be mindful, especially during sleep
  • Elevation: Keeping your head elevated, even during sleep, can help reduce swelling and promote healing
  • Use Prescribed Ointments: Dr Lim might provide specific ointments or creams to keep the area moisturised and protected
  • Avoid Strenuous Activities: For the first few days, take it easy. Avoid any activities that strain the eyes or increase blood flow to the head
  • Attend Follow-Up Appointments: These are essential for your plastic surgeon to monitor healing and address any early concerns

Long-term scar care

As days turn into weeks and weeks into months, scar care remains essential:

  • Sun Protection: Even after the immediate healing phase, UV rays can affect the appearance of scars. Protect the area with sunglasses or a hat when outdoors
  • Moisturise Regularly: Keeping the skin hydrated can improve its texture and appearance. Opt for unscented, hypoallergenic moisturisers to prevent irritation
  • Massage: Once the scar has fully healed, gentle massages can help. Massaging can break down scar tissue and improve blood flow. Please check with Dr Lim first.
  • Avoid Smoking: As mentioned earlier, smoking can impair healing. For optimal scar appearance, consider abstaining from smoking long term
  • Stay Updated on Treatments: Advances in skincare and scar treatments are continuous. Periodically check in with your plastic surgeon for any new recommendations

Topical Treatments to Reduce Scars after Blepharoplasty

After blepharoplasty, taking meticulous care of your skin is important. Various topical treatments, ranging from over-the-counter options to prescription remedies, can aid in minimising scars.

Over-the-counter options

A walk down the skincare aisle reveals numerous options to reduce scars after blepharoplasty. While each person’s skin responds differently, certain products have earned a reputation for their effectiveness. Here are some widely recognised over-the-counter treatments:

  • Silicone Gel Sheets: Silicone is often hailed for its ability to improve the hydration of the scar’s surface. Silicone gel sheets can be placed over the scar, creating a moist environment which can reduce the scar’s appearance and prevent excessive scar tissue build-up
  • Vitamin E Oil: Often championed for its skin-nourishing properties, vitamin E oil can be applied directly to scars. It’s believed to help in maintaining skin elasticity and reducing dryness
  • Aloe Vera: Known for its soothing and moisturising qualities, aloe vera can be a beneficial treatment for healing skin. Whether in gel form or directly from the plant, aloe can provide hydration without clogging pores
  • Cocoa Butter: Popular for its deep moisturising properties, cocoa butter can help soften scars, making them less noticeable over time
  • Sunscreen: While not a direct scar treatment, protecting your scar from the sun is essential. Sun exposure can darken scars, making them more noticeable. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen and reapply as needed
  • Hydroquinone: Available in some over-the-counter creams, this ingredient can help lighten scars, especially if there’s hyperpigmentation

Always patch-test any new product on a small area of your skin to ensure there’s no allergic reaction or irritation.

Prescription treatments

For scars that need a bit more attention or haven’t responded well to over-the-counter options, there are prescription treatments available. Consulting with your plastic surgeon can guide you on the best course of action. Some commonly prescribed treatments include:

  • Tretinoin Cream: Derived from vitamin A, tretinoin can improve the appearance of scars by speeding up skin cell turnover and promoting collagen production
  • Steroid Creams: These can help reduce inflammation and prevent excessive scar tissue from forming. They’re typically used for raised scars
  • Bleaching Agents: For scars with significant discolouration, a doctor might prescribe a stronger bleaching agent than what’s available over-the-counter
  • Antibiotic Creams: If there’s a concern about potential infection around the scar, antibiotic creams can be prescribed as a preventive measure

Alternative Scar Management Techniques

Scar management has come a long way with the introduction of advanced technologies and techniques. Beyond the realm of topical treatments, there are more intensive procedures available that can substantially improve the appearance of scars. These methods, often administered by professionals in a clinical setting, offer promising results for those seeking further refinement in their post-blepharoplasty healing journey.

Laser therapy

Laser therapy is becoming increasingly popular for its precision and effectiveness in treating various skin concerns, including scars. It involves using concentrated beams of light to resurface the skin, promoting the growth of new, healthier skin cells. Some key points to consider about laser therapy for scars include:

  • Types of Lasers: There are different laser treatments suitable for scar management. Ablative lasers work by removing layers of skin, while non-ablative lasers target the underlying skin tissue without harming the surface
  • Collagen Production: Laser treatments can stimulate collagen production, a protein essential for skin health and appearance. By promoting collagen, the skin can appear smoother and more even
  • Reduction in Redness: For scars that have a red or purple appearance, certain lasers can target blood vessels, reducing the scar’s colour intensity
  • Session Frequency: Depending on the severity of the scar and the type of laser used, multiple sessions might be required to achieve desired results. It’s essential to space out treatments to allow the skin adequate time to heal
  • Post-Treatment Care: After undergoing laser therapy, the skin might be sensitive. It’s essential to follow all aftercare guidelines, which often include avoiding direct sun exposure and using specific moisturisers or creams

Microneedling

Another innovative approach to reduce scars after blepharoplasty is microneedling. This procedure involves using a device equipped with tiny needles to create controlled micro-injuries in the skin. It might sound a bit intimidating, but these micro-injuries prompt the skin to heal itself, producing new collagen and skin cells in the process. Here’s what you should know:

  • Collagen Induction: Similar to laser therapy, microneedling is another method to stimulate collagen production. Collagen can help fill out indented scars and smooth the skin’s texture
  • Professional Setting: Microneedling should always be performed by a trained professional in a sterile environment. While there are at-home devices available, for scar treatment, it’s best to see a specialist
  • Depth Matters: The depth of the needles can be adjusted based on the scar’s severity and location. Deeper scars might require longer needles for effective treatment
  • Post-Treatment Care: The skin might appear red and feel sensitive after microneedling. It’s vital to avoid direct sun exposure and use a gentle moisturiser to aid in healing
  • Frequency: Depending on the scar and desired outcome, multiple sessions might be needed. It’s typical to wait a month or more between treatments to allow the skin to recover fully

FAQs about How to Reduce Scars after Blepharoplasty

FAQs

How long will it take for my scars to fade after blepharoplasty?

  • The healing process varies for each individual. Generally, scars from blepharoplasty start to fade within a few months but can continue to improve for up to a year or more. It’s essential to follow post-operative care guidelines and consider additional treatments if needed.

Can I completely avoid scars after my eyelid surgery?

  • While surgical techniques aim to leave minimal and well-hidden scars, any surgery will naturally result in some form of scarring. With proper care and following recommended treatments, these scars can become less noticeable or nearly invisible over time.

Is it safe to use over-the-counter scar creams after surgery?

  • It’s essential to consult with your plastic surgeon before applying any over-the-counter products to the surgical area. While many creams are safe and beneficial, some might irritate the skin or interfere with the healing process.

Are alternative scar treatments like laser therapy and microneedling painful?

  • These treatments can cause mild discomfort, but most clinics use numbing creams or local anaesthetics to minimise any pain. Patients often compare the sensation to a rubber band snap or light prickling.

When can I start scar treatments after my blepharoplasty?

  • It’s important to wait until the surgical site has fully healed before starting any scar treatments. This usually means waiting a few weeks to a couple of months post-surgery. Always consult with your plastic surgeon before beginning any treatment to ensure it’s the right time.

Further Reading about Face Surgery with Dr Jake Lim

Medical References about Blepharoplasty

About Dr Jake Lim

Highly qualified and experienced specialist plastic surgeon Dr Jake Lim focuses on facial plastic, cosmetic breast and body contouring after significant weight loss

Dr Lim creates the best possible plastic surgery results for his Australia-wide and international patients.

Dr Lim is passionate about making sure each and every patient has access to the right information about available treatments and procedures and is able to make well-informed decisions.

At My Klinik, patient safety, education and achieving optimal results are our top priorities.