20160626 - Dani 0013One of the most important aspects of a scarification is how it is treated afterwards. This page lays out the methods I recommend for aftercare and are heavily influenced by information kindly shared by Lukas Zpira.

Most advances in wound care have focussed on two things, infection control and scar reduction, so with scarification we follow the first and largely do the opposite of the other.

BME put together a great page on precisely that and I’d strongly recommend anyone interested in scarification read it.

Aftercare process

The process I suggest to others is below, it is essentially the same one that Lukas relayed to me in January.

For the first 4 days after the cutting is done keep a wet dressing on 24/7, only remove it to shower and if possible only shower once a day. Make sure the cutting is cleaned thoroughly and if possible use an antibacterial soap such a Detol.

For the next 8 days have the wet dressing on for 12hrs and a gauze dressing on for the next 12hrs. I recommend using the wet dressing at night and the gauss dressing during the day to prevent the cut from being rubbed by clothing while allowing it to breath. After the evening shower, use a little sugar to help rub the crust of the cut. Also every second day rub a little lemon juice on after the crust has been removed, this will help to activate the scar development process.

After the two weeks are up, the cut can be left open as a scab should have lightly formed, a gauze dressing may help to prevent rubbing if required.

Initial healing usually takes about a month, with the scar continuing to develop over the following two months. Overall a two to three month process.

Things to be careful of

Elastic or tight cloths eg waistband of jeans etc, can apply pressure to the scar and make lines uneven. Were the pressure is applied the lines will be thinner or even disappear.

Rubbing or pulling at the scar can open it up and make for irregular lines as well, keeping either a wet or gauze dressing on at all times for the first two weeks will help to prevent this.

Infection and this is really the big one. As the wound heals there will be redness directly around the lines and it will be warm from the increased blood flow to the wound. That is all normal. If however the redness becomes more general it may be a sign of infection, at that point go to a doctor immediately for antibiotics.

A worse possibility is a staph infection, not common but very serious if it does occur. You can find detailed information on symptoms here. If you suspect you have staph, so straight to a doctor or emergency ward.

Dressings

The basic wet dressing often used is either food wrap taped over the area with medical tape, or the same with a little petroleum jelly coating the wound first, this provides protection from the air and allows the wound to heal using a wet healing process. While this is functional, it can be messy and a bit unreliable as the movement of the body will often pill at the tape.

My preferred option are commercial wet dressings, the ones I have used are Tegaderm and Opsite Flexigrid, both of which act like a flexible second skin and move with the body while providing protection from abrasion and the air. My preference is Opsite Flexigrid as it comes in rolls of either 10cmx1m or 10cmx10m and can be cut to the appropriate size as required, also two sections can be used together to create a larger dressing.