Scars can be beautiful, unique, and sometimes they even tell a story (like the mark of a great wizard⚡️). But if you’re prepping for a breast reduction, you may wonder if you can make the scars disappear.
Can you prevent breast reduction scars?
Scars are a normal part of any surgery, including a breast reduction. (Your skin is getting cut up, and put back together, after all.)
But certain surgical techniques and post-op treatments like massage and silicone sheets can help reduce the appearance of scars.
Here are the best tips to help fade breast reduction scars.
The first step is finding a board certified plastic surgeon who has a proven record of minimal scarring post surgery. They should be able to show you a portfolio of their work. No one wants to be on the next episode of “Botched.”
Different surgical techniques leave behind different scars. The two main techniques used during breast reduction surgery are known as shorter-scar and larger-scar.
Both techniques use incisions around your nipple or the underside of your breast to reduce the appearance of scars.
Shorter-scar technique = smaller incisions
This technique is ideal for minimizing saggy twins or those who want their tatas juuuust a little smaller (generally down one cup size). But this method isn’t as effective if you want a significant breast reduction.
A shorter-scar technique called the vertical breast reduction (aka “a lollipop”), only includes two small incisions. Basically, the first incision is made around your areola and the second is beneath your areola (like a nipple lollipop).
Once the cutting is done, the surgeon will remove all the goods: tissue, fat, or excess skin before forming your new breast.
Smaller incisions = smaller scars. And, most of the scarring hides right below your nips.
Larger-scar technique = more incisions and larger areas of scarring
Also called an inverted-T (“anchor”) breast reduction, this technique includes three incisions:
- between your areola and under-the-breast crease
- around your areola
- along the crease (horizontally)
An anchor breast reduction is ideal for going down a few cup sizes, especially to reduce sagging and correct significant asymmetry.
Keep in mind: This technique only involves one more incision than the smaller-scar technique.
Surgical incision scars leave a thin, raised line on top of your skin. This is known as scar tissue *cue the Red Hot Chili Peppers*.
Like most surgical scars, it’ll be pink, red, or discolored at first. Once it heals, it will flatten and darken. Your scars will likely hang out for a while, taking months to a year to fade.
If you have darker skin, you’re more likely to develop hyperpigmentation. This can also lead to thicker, raised scars called keloids.
Smaller-scar or larger-scar techniques can affect how scarring looks. The larger-scar technique will leave three scars versus the two from the smaller-scar technique. But any incisions made horizontally along the breast crease won’t be very noticeable.
Don’t get in the way of scar healing
Breast reduction scars are more noticeable if left untreated.
You can also increase your scarring by:
- excessively scrubbing the scar
- itching or scratching
Just like self-care, find the time to follow your doctor’s orders for all things aftercare.
You’ll need to wear chest bandages and a surgical bra for the first few days or up to a week. That same week, your doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment to explain the healing process and how to take care of your scars.
Before you DIY any scar-minimizing techniques, consult your surgeon –– even after the incisions appear to be closed. Some scar-minimizing techniques include the following.
These FDA-approved bandages are used immediately after surgery. They basically pull the edges of your skin together to speed up the healing process. The dressings also contain silicone, and can be worn daily (for up to a year).
A small study on tummy tuck patients showed significant scar reduction after 12 months for those using embrace dressings.
A scar massage involves gently moving your fingertips vertically, and then horizontally, over your breast reduction scar. Massaging the scars in circles is also key.
Performing this massage is thought to increase collagen and skin elasticity, while also helping discomfort. But, there’s not much research to back this up.
Your surgeon may recommend scar massaging about 2 weeks post-surgery. You can do a daily massage for 10 minutes and repeat that up to three times a day.
Scar gels or silicone scar sheets
Gels and silicone sheets have been a loved over-the-counter hack for scars.
Silicone sheets are essentially bandages made with silicone that help hydrate your skin. This can soothe skin and make it feel more flexible. Silicone sheets can be a life-saver a few days after surgery since they also reduce pain and itching (sweet relief!).
You can use scar gels on a new or old scar to help reduce its appearance. Typically, scar gel is safe to use after the incision heals, but always check with your doctor first.
Take note: Consistency and patience are key. For scar gels to do their job, you gotta use ‘em every 👏 single 👏 day 👏. It can take several months to notice a difference.
Umm, what? Sunscreen on your boobs? Hear us out. Everyday sunscreen use can help prevent premature aging, burning, and sun damage.
Even if your breast reduction scars aren’t directly exposed to the sun, still lather those puppies up! UV rays can darken new scar tissue more than usual after surgery, making them more noticeable than the rest of your skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen. There are a ton of different sunscreens to choose from like:
Don’t grab the vitamin E juuuuust yet
Vitamin E is often touted for its scar-reducing abilities. But a research review showed that there’s actually not much info proving that it helps reduce surgical scars. So, slathering vitamin E all over your knockers probs won’t help relieve scarring.
It’s also super important to talk with your doc about over-the-counter aftercare and different scar reduction options. Some could actually make scarring more noticeable or give you an irritated boob rash (no, thanks!).
Kind of. A surgical procedure by a cosmetic surgeon or a dermatologist is the only way to get rid of scars for good.
But like Mick Jagger once said, “you can’t always get what you want.” Scar removal procedures usually leave a new scar in place of the old one. However, it’s most likely going to be smaller and less notable.
Punch grafting is used for deep scars that are smaller, but occur in a large area. The procedure punches a hole in the scar, and then plugs the hole with skin from another part of your body.
After about a week of healing, the result is a smoother, less noticeable scar.
If your scars have healed up, but they still look dark or thick, fractional lasers might help. This treatment uses microscopic lasers to treat larger areas of your skin at the same time.
Fractional lasers also help with deeper scar removal because they focus on the upper (epidermis) and middle (dermis) layers of your skin. After you get zapped, your skin will look tan or bronze before fully healing.
Note: fractional lasers aren’t a one-time thing. You’ll probs need several treatments spaced out every other month.
This skin-resurfacing procedure uses a chemical solution to remove the top layers of your skin. There are different types of chemical peels, but a deep chemical peel is commonly used for breast reduction scars. This peel removes skin cells at a deeper level.
A chemical peel might help the appearance, but it won’t remove the scar completely. You might also need several peels depending on the scar and the peel.
Topical bleaching can be a little tricky for scars. It’s a similar concept to the bleaching cream you’d use for body hair, but it’s way more potent. (NEVER just use a normal bleaching cream.)
Typically, a doctor will prescribe a hydroquinone bleaching cream to lighten the layers of skin of the scar. You have to be strict with bleaching, using it twice a day for anywhere from 4 to 6 months. You’ll also want to avoid sunlight or tanning of your skin when using this treatment.
You’ll definitely have scars after having breast reduction surgery. But they shouldn’t be that noticeable if you find the right surgeon and take care of your tatas post-op.
The surgeon will also give you more info and tips on the best treatment for your breast reduction scars. If you’re still not happy with how your scars have healed, you can look into additional scar removal treatments. But there’s nothing wrong with loving your new skin.