Cosmetic Surgery Tips

When Can I Start Using Scar Cream After Tummy Tuck

Tummy tuck scars look like little dimples when you’re done healing. They’re about the size of a dime, and they’ll fade over time.

In fact, many women are surprised by how little their tummy tuck scars look like actual scars at all. You can expect to have some redness and swelling for the first few days after your surgery, but by day 4 or 5, your incisions should be almost invisible—and they’ll be even less noticeable with each passing week.

Tummy tuck scars are not only a visual indication of your success, but they also help to prevent the skin from sagging in the future. In most cases, tummy tucks leave a scar that is about 3-4 inches long and about 1-1.5 inches wide. The length of the scar depends on the size of your belly button and how much excess skin was removed during surgery.

When Can I Start Using Scar Cream After Tummy Tuck

The shape of this scar will vary depending on where it was placed during surgery. Most likely, your surgeon will place it just below your belly button or on its side to make sure it is hidden by clothes or bathing suits.

Although some patients may be worried about having a visible scar after surgery, they should know that there are several options available to help improve its appearance. For instance, you can apply silicone gel sheets directly onto your incision site to help reduce inflammation and promote healing faster than normal; however, these must be removed at least once per day so that they do not stick together over time (which could cause additional irritation). Additionally, there are creams available over-the-counter which contain hydroquinone derivatives that help lighten dark spots on your skin (such as birthmarks or sun damage) while helping them fade away even further overtime without.


Abdominoplasty offers a glorious promise: after just one procedure, patients can have a youthfully slim, firm, and flat abdominal contour. However, while this pledge is genuine, recapturing this figure is not an easy task, nor without sacrifice. In addition to the time required for recovery, patients will have to trade in their abdominal flab, stubborn fat, sagging skin, and stretch marks for a permanent horizontal scar. This tummy tuck scar, while a necessary part of the procedure, is considered a small price to pay for the significant improvements in waist contour and tone.


Your surgical technique will determine the length of the scar you should expect after tummy tuck surgery. Patients who undergo a traditional tummy tuck should expect a longer scar than patients who undergo a mini tummy tuck. For a traditional (full) tummy tuck, a primary incision is placed in the lower abdomen, as low as possible, that reaches from hip bone to hip bone. A second incision is made around the navel. For a mini (partial) tummy tuck, there is only one shorter incision between the hip bones.


Scarring can vary significantly from patient to patient based primarily on individual healing abilities. Here is a generalized guideline of what tummy tuck scars may look like at various points:

  • Tummy tuck scars after surgery: The scar is generally thin and pink. The body immediately triggers a healing response to close the incision over the next few weeks.
  • Tummy tuck scars after one month: With the scar now closed, the increased collagen and blood supply have made the scar darker, thicker, and more noticeable. The appearance of the scar may worsen over the next few months.  
  • Tummy tuck scars after six months: The scar may still be red and raised, but should begin to lighten soon if it has not done so already. Some of the excess collagen will begin to break down, and the increased blood supply will diminish. As a result, the scar will slowly flatten and lighten.
  • Tummy tuck scars after one year: The scar may be fully mature and will be noticeably flatter, thinner, lighter, and less noticeable. It will continue to fade.
  • Tummy tuck scars after five years: The mature scar will have faded noticeably and may continue to fade somewhat over time.

Like all surgical scars, abdominoplasty scars will never go away completely, but most patients feel they are well worth the benefits of achieving the smooth and flat abdominal contour they desire. Dr. Schlechter places the incisions as discreetly as possible to minimize scarring so that you can enjoy the best results. Most tummy tuck scars are easily hidden under panties and swimsuits.


Dr. Schlechter strategically places tummy tuck incisions low between the hips so that most clothing can hide the scars. To help reduce the appearance of your scars, it is important to follow all of Dr. Schlechter’s post-operative instructions carefully. If you notice any signs of problematic scarring, contact Dr. Schlechter right away. Use silicone gel, cream, or sheets to care for your scars. Avoid sun exposure to the scar, keep it moisturized, and avoid irritating clothing or products. Following these tips to minimize your tummy tuck scars can improve their appearance and ensure that you have the greatest possible surgical results. Laser treatments to help suppress the scar are also available if necessary.

6 Things You Should Do For Your Tummy Tuck Scars

All surgery involves incisions, and these incisions turn into scars. With proper care and these great tips, the scars you get from your tummy tuck surgery can be visibly reduced so they’re barely noticeable.

Aflatter stomach, contoured waist, smoother skin, and better muscle tone — your tummy tuck surgery has done wonders for your body. You’re ecstatic about your leaner, fitter shape, but are concerned about how to minimize the appearance of the scars you’ve been left with. Typical tummy tuck scars are located in one or more of these areas:

Pelvic area

Regardless of whether you had a mini or full tummy tuck, you’ll have a scar that runs horizontally across your lower abdomen from hip to hip, located a few centimetres below your belly button. The horizontal scar can vary in length. It may be just a few centimetres, which is often the case for mini tucks, or extend well over each hip to the sides of your back. The scar may also be placed in relatively the same spot where a C-section was.

Belly button

Full abdominoplasty involves a scar around your belly button. This scar may be quite noticeable at first, but with time, you’ll notice that it virtually disappears because it blends in so well with your belly button.

Lower abdomen

In rare cases, you may also have a scar that runs from your belly button vertically down to the horizontal incision.


Abdominoplasty scars can be quite noticeable for up to a year following your procedure. Scars on lighter skin types generally turn pink first and then fade to a thin, white line. Darker skin types may heal dark and pigmented at first and then lighten over time. Although this scar will never entirely go away, here are some of the most popular and effective treatment options to minimize its appearance.

#1 – Taping

“We typically close abdominoplasty incisions with dissolvable sutures placed under the skin,” explains Dr. Wilke. “We then cover the incision with steri-strips/paper tape, which protects the incision and minimizes tension.  The light pressure from the tape against the incision has been shown to help minimize scarring as well.  We often have patients continue to tape the incision for about 6 weeks; changing the tape every 5-7 days.”

#2 – Scar Fading Creams & Topicals

“There are many scar creams on the market,” says Dr. Wilke. “None of them are a miracle cure for scarring, but, nonetheless, they can be helpful to minimize a scar.  The simplest and least expensive option is using moisturizing cream with vitamin E.  Some of the more advanced creams contain silicone, and some have hydroquinone or other skin lightening agents to suppress pigment cell activity.  We usually don’t recommend using these creams until about 6 weeks after surgery.”

When can i start using scar cream after tummy tuck?

Patients can begin to use scar-reducing creams on the tummy tuck incision site as soon as the incisions have healed over and there are no more scabs. Cream should never be applied to an open wound or over skin that is still scabbed. Once the skin has healed over, the scar should appear very thin.

#3 – Laser and Light-Based Treatments

How your Tummy Tuck scar appears a year after surgery is, most likely, how it will remain without the aid of additional treatments. This is when you can begin exploring options like resurfacing lasers or intense light-based treatments to pull any pigment from the scar or fade residual redness.

“Laser resurfacing treatments like HALO™ and Profractional can make scars less noticeable by smoothing their texture,” says Dr. Wilke. “Light-based treatments like BBL (Broadband Light) target darker pigment cells, which can lighten the coloration of a scar and reduce redness. In some cases, both treatments may be beneficial, but it’s important to realize that you will need multiple treatments to see significant improvement.  At Edina Plastic Surgery, we believe in an all-inclusive approach to surgery that addresses our patients needs from start to finish.  We’ve created a Post-Surgical Scar Treatment package to ensure that our patients have the best opportunity to heal with minimal scarring after any surgery we perform.  This package includes a series of 6 BBL and Profractional laser resurfacing treatments performed 4-6 weeks apart as well as Stratamed Scar Recovery Gel.”

#4 – Microneedling Collagen Induction Therapy

Microneedling devices, like SkinPen®, use tiny surgical-grade needles to create thousands of micro-injuries to your skin. In turn, this stimulates your skin’s collagen and elastin production, and it heals firmer and smoother. This treatment can be especially beneficial for scars that have healed unevenly. A series of microneedling treatments can result in a soft, flat Tummy Tuck scar that blends very well into the surrounding skin.

#5 – Permanent Cosmetics or Tattoo

“This is thinking outside of the box, but I have had patients who eventually choose to cover their Tummy Tuck scar with a tattoo,” says Dr. Wilke. “This is obviously not for everyone, but because the scar sits so low on the abdomen, it AND the tattoo can be easily covered. Patients will need to wait until their scar is fully healed, about a year, before they can have a tattoo.”

In recent years, the Permanent Cosmetics industry has begun to provide options to disguise surgical scarring. This technique involves your provider using a flesh-colored ink that is closely matched to the skin surrounding your scar and essentially “filling in” your scar. It is crucial to not only go to a reputable provider for this treatment but also to avoid tanning the skin near your scar, as the scar will not achieve the tan of the surrounding skin.

Tummy Tuck Scar Healing Stages

Although tummy tucks produce stunning results, patients worry about scarring—which is completely understandable! Scars are a scary prospect, especially since they become more noticeable and prominent in the early healing stages before they begin to fade. Abdominoplasty scars appear as horizontal lines on the lower abdomen, between the pubis and belly button. They typically span from hip to hip but could extend farther depending on the tummy tuck method. Tummy tuck surgeons place the incisions low enough to be easily hidden in the panty line, but patients still want to know what to expect as their tummy tuck scars heal. Tummy tuck scars heal in stages, and each phase requires unique attention.

The First 3 to 6 Months: Scar Formation and Collagen Production

The first healing stage after a tummy tuck is scar formation. Immediately after surgery, your scars will be invisible, as that stage has not yet begun. Your body will start to produce collagen to mend the broken tissue. This collagen fills in the gaps and seals the wound. The first stage of scar formation takes approximately one month, during which you will begin to notice your linear scar becoming pinker in color. New collagen will develop over the next few months, causing the already formed scar to appear redder and lumpier. Since the body is supplying more blood to the area, it will look raised and might feel rough to the touch. The collagen-production stage can take between three to six months. Contact your surgeon as soon as possible if your scar is turning blue, develops drainage, or opens up.

One Year Post-Tummy Tuck: Scar Maturity and Final Healing Stages

The healing process has reached its final stage once the collagen on your tummy tuck scar has matured. You will notice the scar become thinner, smoother, lighter as the blood supply around it decreases. It will take your scar a year to mature, but it will progressively lighten once it does. Those with light-colored skin are prone to bright red scars, whereas those with more melanated flesh might develop darker ones. Therefore, as the scars heal, they fade into a lighter pink or silvery grey color. Plastic surgeons often provide their patients with scar-care routines and offer laser treatments to help shrink these scars faster and more efficiently.

Irregular Tummy Tuck Scars

There are two types of abnormal scars that can develop after a tummy tuck: hypertrophic scars and keloid scars. Hypertrophic scars are raised, thickened scars that usually do not extend more than four millimeters above the skin’s surface. These scars result from an overproduction of collagen during the healing process, where extra connective tissue forms in the scarred area. Hypertrophic scars don’t extend beyond the incision’s boundaries, while in contrast, keloid scars do. Keloid scars are large, shiny round nodules that can appear at the incision site and surrounding areas a few months to a year after surgery. The causes of these abnormal scars are not entirely known. Statistics show that patients between the ages of 20 and 30, those with a family history of atypical scarring, and those with darker skin are more susceptible to getting hypertrophic and keloid scars than those with lighter skin.

Preventing Abnormal Scarring

The best way to avoid abnormal scarring (especially if you are prone to developing keloids and hypertrophic scars) is to care for your wound properly. Keep it clean. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can impede the healing process. Instead, wash the area with mild, soapy water and pat it dry. Keep in mind, you may have to wait 24 to 48 hours to shower until your drainage tubes are removed. Healing scars can darken and become more noticeable if they become sunburned. Keep your tummy tuck scar out of the sun for the first six months after your operation and cover it with sunscreen or tape when you’re outside in the daylight. If this seems like a daunting task, don’t fret. You won’t be alone in this process! You’ll receive additional instructions from your plastic surgeon on how to take care of your surgical incision after abdominoplasty to prevent irregular scarring.

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