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Having a C-Section? Ask Your Doctor About Scars

Welcoming your bundle of joy is a momentous occasion, and a memory you’ll treasure for the rest of your life. For mothers with a scheduled C-section (or who have just delivered via C-section) though, you may have concerns – and questions – about scarring.

We’re here to answer your most pressing questions, and assure you that nothing matters more than the health of you and your baby – and with the right treatment, your C-section scar can be visibly lightened, softened and flattened!

1. Are C-section scars preventable?

As a surgical procedure, you can expect scarring to result from a C-section wound.

But not all scars are alike!

The ideal scar formation would a thin line that’s barely visible. However, a range of factors – from our race to how easily we scar from simple insect bites – can affect your scarring. Without proper care, keloid scars (where scar tissue extends beyond the wound boundary) or hypertrophic scars (a thicker, firmer and raised scar) may develop.1

The appearance of your C-section scar also depends on the type of incision made by your surgeon.

Bikini cut:

This is a horizontal incision that leaves a horizontal scar on the lower abdomen, which is usually not visible under clothing or even swimwear. 

Vertical incision:

This leaves a more visible scar in the middle of the lower abdomen.

Bikini cuts are usually preferred, as the healing process is less painful, and this type of incision tends to heal more quickly.2 However, your doctor will consider the health of both mother and child during the procedure, and choose an appropriate incision.

2. Can a different skin closure method reduce C-section scars?

Surgeons have several methods for closing a C-section incision. These include surgical staples, a surgical needle and thread, and surgical glue.3

Studies have found that these various skin closure methods all result in a similar amount of scarring4 – so don’t worry about how your surgeon closes you up, what matters is the health of you and your baby. (You can always treat the scar later.)

3. Is there anything I should do (or avoid) to aid my C-section scar recovery?

As wound infection is an avoidable risk for hypertrophic scar formation1, you’ll want to keep the wound clean and regularly expose it to air to promote healing and reduce the possibility of infection.

During recovery, you may also want to avoid strenuous exercise like running or gym workouts. Instead, you can stay physically active by simply taking slow walks or engaging in yin yoga (a less vigorous form of yoga) if your condition permits. This promotes blood flow, which helps with healing.5

Also, there are certain kinds of food that degrade the quality of nutrients vital for wound repair and should be avoided.6

Sugar may degrade the quality of collagen and elastin, which gives skin structure, support, and elasticity.
Excess nitrates in processed meats like sausages and bacon can damage the health of blood vessels vital to the healing process.
Alcohol impairs protein absorption for optimum collagen synthesis.
Caffeine can limit the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the wound.

On the other hand, you’ll want to nourish your body with the following nutrients, which improve wound healing and scar formation.6

Protein and its various amino acids are important for collagen formation. Chicken, soybeans, peanuts, spinach, and pumpkin seeds are among the many protein-rich foods for your post-surgery diet.
Vitamin A aids in inflammatory response and helps prevent wound infection. Load up on fish, dark leafy green vegetables and eggs for Vitamin A.
Vitamin C helps to improve wound strength and aids collagen production. Get more Vitamin C in leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits.
Zinc aids the synthesis of protein and development of collagen. Many foods like meat, fish, eggs, beans, tofu, nuts and oats are rich in zinc.

4. Can I reduce the appearance of my C-section scar?

Yes, you can. Further invasive procedures like scar revisions and tummy tucks can make scars less visible, though doctors usually advise avoiding further surgical procedures for at least 6 to 12 months after your C-section. If you prefer a non-invasive scar treatment, options that can effectively reduce scars include laser therapy, steroid injections, or topical gels. After all, even mums with a c-section “bikini cut” want to reduce the appearance of scars. 3

Raised scars form as a result of collagen overproduction (due to water lost through damaged skin). Dermatix® Ultra (a popular and effective topical gel for scar treatment) contains CPX (cyclopentasiloxane), which prevents excessive transepidermal water loss – and the overproduction of collagen – resulting in the flattening and softening7 of scars. With Vitamin C Ester’s efficacy in lightening scar hyperpigmentation,8 the appearance of scars is also further and effectively reduced!

5. I’ve heard of products like scar patches. How different is that from using a scar treatment gel?

Both scar patches and scar gels utilise similar silicone technology, with both kinds of products proven to be effective in reducing scar formation.9

However, there is a difference when it comes to day-to-day usage and convenience. Scar patches can be tricky to use with mobile body parts or uneven body contours, and often requires additional taping or bandaging.9

On the other hand, a scar gel like Dermatix® Ultra is easy to apply, dries quickly and requires just 1 small application over your cleansed scar twice a day.

Lightens, softens and flattens scars
Easy to apply, quick drying and odourless
Innovative CPX Silicone technology and Vitamin C Ester formulation
  1. Aydogmus, S., Kelekci, K.H., Sengul, M., et al. Factors affecting the development of scar formation in abdominal surgery performed for gynecologic and obstretic conditions. Turk Arch Dermatol Venereology (2017), 51: 12-7.  DOI: 10.4274/turkdem.58751.  
  2. WebMD, What to Know About Cesarean Scars 
  3. Cromi, A., Ghezzi, F., Gottardi, A, et al. Cosmetic outcomes of various skin closure 
  4. Mustoe TA, Evolution of silicone therapy and mechanism of action in scar management. Aesth Plast Surg. 2008;32:82-92 
  5. Santas, D. Recovering from surgery or stress? Yoga can help. CNN Health (2017). 
  6. 4 foods you need to avoid to prevent scarring from surgery. 
  7. Farris PK. Topical vitamin C: a useful agent for treating photoaging and other dermatologic conditions. Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jul;31(7 Pt 2):814-7;discussion 818 
  8. Kim, S.M., Choi, J.S., Lee, J.H., Kim., Y.J., & Jun, Y.J. Prevention of postsurgical scars: Comparison of efficacy and convenience between silicone gel sheet and topical silicone gel.  J Korean Med Sci. (2014), 29(3), S249-S253.  
  9. Dermatix® Ultra Patient Information Leaflet