How Does Skin Type Affect Surgery?
Posted on 01/17/2014 on behalf of Dr. Kenrick Spence, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Florida is one of the most diverse states in the nation, and that comes into play a lot when I evaluate plastic surgery patients. When planning for a procedure like a facelift at my Orlando practice, I take into account the patient's ethnic background, because that can affect the way their skin ages and how it heals.
Although facelift surgery can create beautiful results for people of all skin types, it's true that not everyone's skin ages or scars the same way. Most experts categorize skin into 6 or 7 groups varying from very fair to dark.
People with very light skin tend to show the signs of aging earliest. Wrinkles are likely to develop at a younger age, and discoloration and sun spots become visible. Conversely, people with light skin tend to have scars that heal cleanly. Incision lines tend to be fine and fade over time until they are nearly invisible.
On the other end of the spectrum, people with very dark skin don't usually show the signs of aging until later in life. Thick, strong skin means there is little sagging or wrinkling until an advanced age. After surgery, however, scars are less likely to heal as invisibly. Hyperpigmentation is possible, and sometimes even keloid scars form.
Most people have skin that falls somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, and everyone heals a little differently. I take all this into account, while reminding my patients that the most important factor to how their skin will heal is the skill of the surgeon.