How to Prevent Scarring After Stitches

By Megan Shoop

Some wounds and surgeries require stitches to help the tissue heal properly. While the stitches help your skin grow back together, it doesn't always heal smoothly. The result is slight to severe scarring after the stitches are removed. Scars can be embarrassing or unsightly, especially if they are in a very visible place such as the arms, neck or face. You can apply creams and oils to fade scars after stitches, but the best way to get rid of scars is to prevent them.


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Step 1

Keep the stitches dry for about three days. Cover the stitches with plastic wrap in the bath or shower, and pat them dry with a clean towel if they do get wet. Damp stitches may loosen or tighten as they dry, causing the wound to heal improperly.


Step 2

Wash the stitched area gently after 48 to 72 hours. Soak a soft cloth in warm water and dab away any debris that has crusted around the stitches. This helps prevent a thick scab from forming, which in turn helps minimize scarring. Dry the area thoroughly with a dry, clean towel.


Step 3

Apply a mild antibiotic ointment with a cotton swab. Dab on a thin layer and let it soak in, but do not cover the stitches as this may trap moisture in them and cause an infection. The ointment will help keep away infection and let the skin heal more smoothly.


Step 4

Treat light scarring after the stitches are removed with vitamin E capsules. Snip off the tip of the capsules with scissors and squeeze the ointment onto the scar. Stretch an adhesive bandage over the scar. The ointment softens your skin while the bandage gives it a flat surface to grow against.