Five months ago I gave birth to a little girl by way of C-section, as she was breech and showed absolutely no interest in flipping around. Like all the other mamas who have had cesareans, I was left with a pink horizontal scar (some can be vertical) that feels a bit ropey underneath and is still tender from time to time. Although my scar serves as a daily reminder that I am a strong, proud mother, I’d like to improve the way it looks and feels (if only just a little bit), so I apply scar gel and do a little scar massage when I get out of the shower.
If you’re like me, I don’t necessarily love doing the massage because the ropiness (for lack of a better word) feels a bit strange. But recently, Eatontown, NJ plastic surgeon Alexis Parcells, MD taught me I could use a vibrating massage bar instead of my fingers to help break up the scar tissue. Though Dr. Parcells just launched her own massage bar as part of her brand Sunnie Skincare’s new ScarSmooth: Medical Grade Scar Reducing Kit, I already had my own on hand: Jillian Demsey’s Gold Bar that I use for facial depuffing and sculpting. I never would have thought to also use it on my C-section scar, but lo and behold, it works.
“Following the initial two to three-week period of healing, the scar has built enough tensile strength to allow for the initiation of scar massage, which is an effective and cost-efficient technique for scar management,” Dr. Parcells explains. “Scar massage leads to a more supple and soft scar through the degradation of excessive and nonpliable collagen. It is important to note that scar massage should not be started until the wound has closed completely—we recommend beginning approximately two to three weeks postoperatively and performing twice-daily 10-minute massages for a total duration of at least six weeks.”
Though you can just use your fingers—there are plenty of demo videos online—I personally prefer the vibration, and though Dr. Parcells says there aren’t scientific studies on gold bars’ effects on scars specifically, there is science backing up the many benefits of vibration. “First off, many new scars are tender, and studies have shown that vibration will often distract the brain from pain,” she explains. “By utilizing the gold beauty bar, we are able to push the gel into the maturing scar in a safe and pain-free fashion. With continued use, the vibration bar can desensitize any tender areas. Additionally, vibration has been a helpful tool for physical therapists and other holistic healers for centuries. Vibration manually breaks up scar bands as they form to help keep the scar soft and supple. When used over the gel, the vibration device will help the gel penetrate deeper into the tissue and have a longer-lasting effect on the scar. And lastly, vibration has been shown (experimentally) to increase blood flow to an area. This again aids in scar maturation by brining healthy cells to the damaged tissue during repair.”
For those looking for a complete set to take the guesswork out of their scar care—C-section or otherwise—the ScarSmooth Kit ($95; shown above) includes medical-grade Silicone Scar Tape, medical-grade Advanced Scar Gel and the 24K Gold Vibrating Beauty Bar. “As a busy plastic surgeon, I’m always being asked by patients on the best way to manage scars, so it made sense to bring these three therapies into a single solution kit,” says Dr. Parcells. “Many women are spending time, money and energy on an elective procedure, and they want the best outcome in their scar appearance. Additionally, many patients who are having necessary surgery—knee replacements, C-sections, hysterectomies, breast reconstruction—are also conscious about their scars and are willing to invest in a best result.”