Healing Scar Not Looking Right?

I had a benign mole removed on my right cheek about a month ago that left a 2 cm scar. The actual scar is still dark and I've been using sunscreen during the day to protect it from the sun and Vaseline at night.

I first wan't to ask is if there's any way to help reduce the darkness of the scar. I'm rather tan in my skin tone and I've been told that skin tone can play a role in the darkness of a scar. Thank You

Doctor Answers 5

Pigmentation of scar

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Hyperpigmentation of scars (darker appearance) is a relatively common problem. You are doing the right thing by applying a sunblock. I would also suggest regular firm massage of the scar with any moisturising cream and allow more time (upto 12-18 months) for the scar to mature.

If you need further advise please post a photograph of the scar.

Birmingham Plastic Surgeon

It Takes Time for Scars to Heal

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Whenever surgery is done on the skin, there is almost always a temporary change in pigmentation as the area is healing. This can be either increased or decreased pigmentation or both over time. It typically takes six to twelve months for a scar to fully heal and the color to return to normal. While you are waiting the most important thing to do is avoid sun exposure to the area by applying sunscreens. If the increased pigmentation persists after that time period you should let your physician know. Laser treatments can then be used to lighten the scar.

Mitchell Schwartz, MD
South Burlington Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Scar Not Looking Right

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It takes 6-12 months to get the final result following any type of surgical procedure. During that time new collagen is being made and broken down so 1 month is a relatively short follow up time. A healing scar does not have the same thickness of skin overlying it so it does not tan like normal skin. Based on your comments about skin tone, it may be that you're getting too much sun exposure to the scar. Always good to wear a strong sunscreen over a scar or protect it from the sunligh (bandaid)t. Have the doctor who performed the surgery evaluate your scar to assure that it is healing appropriately and nothing further needs to be done.

Andrew Kaufman, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

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Scar not looking right one month after surgery

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You don't mention if the scar is raised.  If it is just pigmentation, you are doing the right thing by using sunblock.  A photo would be very helpful in determining what if anything can be done.

If the scar is raised, it may need some Kenalog injections.  Injections or correction of any sort done within 6 weeks of surgery usually have a better result.  Please discuss this with the surgeon that removed your mole.

Emily Altman, MD
Short Hills Dermatologic Surgeon

Darkened scar after mole removal

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If you have tan skin and the scar is a little dark, you may have post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This results in some darkening along an incision. Generally it is temporary and should resolve, especially if you keep using sunscreen. It may take 4 to 6 months for the color to lighten, but it should. There are skin lightening creams, such as Hydroquinone, that may help. but they often take 3 months for the effect to be seen. If the dark color persists after 6 months, there may be some lasers that can help lighten the pigment. I would continue to see your surgeon to follow your progress.

Gregory J. Vipond, MD, FRCSC
Inland Empire Facial Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.