Asian Breast Augmentation patients and people with darker skin (more pigment) may be more prone to excessive scar tissue formation after surgery. Sometimes scars also appear more visible on darker skin, including olive, tan, brown, black and other melanin-rich skin tones than they appear on skin that has less melanin or less pigmentation.
Visibility is different on different skin colours partially because scars tend to be a different colour than the rest of your skin. For lighter skins, the scar may be darker in colour, and on darker skins, the scar might be a lighter tan, brown or pale white colour. When the scar colour is very different to the skin that surrounds it, it may stand out in terms of visibility.
Sun exposure can make scar visibility worsen, at least temporarily. If a scar is already lighter, it might appear more prominent (e.g. have higher contrast to the non-scarred skin) after sun exposure or after skin tanning.
Another reason for potentially MORE VISIBLE scars after Breast Augmentation surgery is that some skin tones are prone to what is known as Keloid scarring, which leaves a more raised and highly visible type of scar.
How do YOUR scars form – are you or a family member prone to developing keloid scars?
By the time you choose to have Breast Augmentation surgery, you’ll likely be familiar with your natural scarring propensities. However, you could react uniquely to surgical incisions and suddenly develop KELOID scarring.
With your self-awareness of your history of scar development, you and your Surgeon will be able to discuss the best ways to help minimise your scars from your implant surgery.
Scars can be placed under the infra-mammary crease (beneath the breast, along the nipple, or even in the armpit area for some Breast Augmentation surgery procedures.
This armpit incision placement option is known as a Transaxillary Incision Breast Augmentation.
Scars do improve over time but may still remain significantly paler than the non-scarred skin – meaning they may remain quite visible even if they are ‘skinny’ scars (fine surgical scars that healed extremely well).
Keloid scars: Raised Scars and how they develop
When skin is operated on, an incision is typically created. And over that incision, fibrous tissue, called scar tissue, forms to help protect, and repair, the injury or incision area.
Some skin types – including Asian skin types – have genetic tendencies to form KELOID scars – large, raised scars in the area of a surgical incision, injury or skin trauma.
For some patients, scar tissue grows excessively and forms raised hard growths (like elevated skin platforms) – technically called KELOID scars
All skin types and skin colours CAN get keloid scars
Keloids are not harmful but can lead to appearance concerns for people who are self-conscious about having scars
Keloids can end up covering a MUCH LARGER AREA than the original wound or surgical incision
Keloids can be found on any part of the body but seem most noticeable on visible areas such as your cheeks, ears, shoulders or chest area
Individuals with darker skin are believed to be more prone to keloid scar development than those with less pigment in their skin
If you have keloid scars that are very large or located in a highly visible location, you may find you feel self-conscious about them.
You might even be advised to AVOID the sun as skin tanning can emphasise the difference in skin colour between the scar tissue and your non-injured, un-scarred skin surface.
If you want to have breast implants and are concerned about your potential for developing keloid scars at the incision points, ask Dr Geoff Barnett about Transaxillary Breast Augmentation options (armpit incisions for breast augmentation and implant placement).
Scar management and Asian Skin Types and Darker Skin
For all surgical scars, you’ll typically be advised to keep your scar covered up when you’re in the sun in order to help prevent additional discolouration or noticeable skin contrasts between the scar skin and your normal skin.
Risk factors associated with keloid formation include:
Skin injury or surgical scars occurring during Pregnancy
Being young in age (keloids potentially reduce in occurrence after you reach 30 or 40 years in age)
Keloid scars: Overgrowth of Scar Tissue around a Surgical Incision or a Skin Wound in Asian Patients
Some Asian patients may be concerned about scar tissue formation, and may request an armpit incision approach.
If excess scar growth occurs, this is known as Keloid scar development – something people of Asian heritage have a greater risk of experiencing after Surgery.
Keloid scars are essentially an overgrowth of scar tissue that sometimes develops around a surgical incision or other type of skin wound.
Whist the biophysical mechanisms that lead some people to develop Keloid scars is not fully understood, they are most commonly seen in people who have darker skins, including people of Asian heritage as well as those who are of Latino, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and African heritage.
Whilst some treatments can help minimise the appearance of keloid scars after they develop, if you are prone to getting them, be sure to let your Surgeon know BEFORE your Breast Augmentation Surgery.
Scars are always an important topic during a surgical consultation, and everyone wants to know how to minimise or avoid them.
Sadly, there is no such thing as a ‘scarless’ surgery (although liposuction leaves minimal incision points) – but there are ways to minimise your scars during Breast Augmentation (read more).
Also, if you are prone to keloid scars, it is best to avoid tattoos, skin piercings and other practices that injure or penetrate the skin.
Keloid scars are more common in people with darker skins.
Your history with Keloid Scar Development
The ages where keloids develop most prominently (or more likely, where a propensity to develop raised keloid-type scars is first noticed) is typically when you’re between the age of 10 and 30 years in age. Interestingly, very young or very aged individuals usually don’t develop keloid scars.
However, if you’ve had them before, you are likely to have keloid scars again if you’re still in an age range where they are known to present. Or, if a family member is prone to getting keloids, you are likely at an increased genetic risk of getting them yourself.
Genetic scarring tendencies: 50% of people who get keloid scars have another family member who also developed keloid scars.
Scientists don’t yet fully know the full extent to which genetics dictates our reactions to incisions and, hence, our scar formation responses. But it does appear that both nature (genetics) and nurture (what we consume, nutritionally, and whether or not we smoke) will have some impact on our scar formations.
It may be likely, however, that fewer than 16% of people with more melanin-rich skin will develop keloid scarring.
There appears to be a higher incidence of keloids in people with extremely fair skin types (ultra-pale skin) as well as darker skin types.
Keloids can also occur on ANY part of your skin, body or face – even your ears.
Areas, where there are skin piercings (navel piercings or ear piercings being a common example), are particularly susceptible to keloid development, as these areas are known to stretch or experience tension during piercing (wound/incision) healing.
How does a propensity to scar more visibly impact on an Asian Breast Augmentation?
If you have a tendency towards developing excessive scar tissue growth after skin penetration from a cut, a surgical incision or a piercing, you may want to consider your options for breast augmentation incisions.
Instead of a periareolar incision, or an implant placement incision under your breasts in the inframammary crease, perhaps you’ll be a great candidate for an armpit incision (Transaxillary Incision for Breast Implant Insertion). The incision is hidden in the underarm area, and whilst a more complex procedure may help minimise your breast augmentation scars.
It’s a highly complex procedure requiring advanced surgical knowledge and skills compared to the other types of breast augmentation surgery, so be sure you choose a highly skilled Plastic Surgeon such as Dr Geoff Barnett.