One of the most common, yet frustrating, side effects of cosmetic surgery is an itching sensation. As the skin around the incision heals, patients often experience a burning or itching feeling. This is perfectly normal. However, there are some important things to remember to help reduce itching after plastic surgery and ease you through the healing period.
- Don't scratch: This is perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind, although it may be the most frustrating. If you scratch the incision site, you run the risk of infection, tearing sutures, and possibly increasing scarring as the incision heals. You may find some relief by gently rubbing the areas around the incision, but not actually touching the incision site itself. You may also find wearing soft cotton gloves will help reduce any potential damage from scratching.
- Rule out infection or allergic reactions: To check for the possibility of infection, first wash your hands. Gently peel away the incision dressing. Do not actually touch the incision site. Look to see if there is any increased redness, puffiness, or fluid seeping through the sutures. Some patients may also react to the medical tape or adhesive itself. If you see any of these signs, contact Dr. Paul Pin's office immediately.
- Take oral anti-histamines: During the normal healing process, the body is producing a large amount of histamines. In many cases, oral, over-the-counter anti-histamines such as Zyrtec or Bendadryl can help reduce that itchy sensation by reducing the effect of histamines. Of course, always check with our office be make certain we know which over-the-counter medications you are taking.
- Cool it: A cold compress may also provide relief from the itchy sensation. Try using an ice compress just above the bandage over the incision site. Do not put the compress directly on top of the bandage. Not only may it get the bandage wet (which can contaminate the incision site), but pressure on the incision may cause it to split open.
- Hold off on anti-itch creams: Don't apply any anti-itch creams until your incisions have completely closed over, as you don't want to cause infection by getting the cream into the open wound. Until that time, only use anti-bacterial soap. Again, check with our office to get the go-ahead to start using any anti-itch cream.
- Keep yourself hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps hydrate your entire body, from the inside out. Staying properly hydrated will help reduce dry skin, which is often the cause for excessive flakiness and itching following surgery.
- Avoid alcohol: Alcohol is an inflammatory, so it may increase swelling and itching. Your best bet is to avoid all alcohol in the first few weeks after surgery until most of the post-operative swelling has gone down.
The most important thing to remember, however, is that the itching and flaking is a perfectly normal part of the healing process. Just let nature take its course and you will soon be fully healed following surgery.
For more information, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Pin, contact our Dallas practice today.