Facial Scars: Treatments, Procedures & Home Remedies
What are Scars?
Although most of us will carry at least one scar (however small and often dating back to our childhood), scars on the face can be distressing. These may be from an accident or an injury but acne is a major cause of facial scarring. Other reasons for facial scars could be the removal of moles or skin tags by excising. Depending on their severity, it may be possible to remove or lessen the appearance of these facial scars. Even though they can affect our self esteem, and in extreme cases be emotionally damaging, facial scars are normally treated as a cosmetic problem.
Table of Contents:
What Causes Scars?
Acne may be easy to treat, but it becomes a bigger problem once scars develop on the skin, especially on the face. Some 5% of teens and young adults who have acne will be left with the appearance of acne scars. And of course it is not only acne that can cause scars. We like to think that we can treat acne and any scars in a more natural way but there are other methods to explore too.
Treatment of Scars
Facial scars can be particularly distressing and in severe cases, even be emotionally damaging. Although scars often appear as a result of an accident or an injury, acne scarring is common. Scars can also result when moles or skin tags are removed by cutting them away. It may be possible to remove or at least lessen the appearance of facial scars. In some cases, scars may even improve if left alone but over time.
- Surgery is one method where the doctor will cut away the scar and close with tiny stitches so that you are left with a much smaller scar.
- Laser treatment has become very popular and different lasers are used for different types of scars. A CO laser beam is used for acne scars while a pulse dye laser can improve older and more severe types of scarring. Lasers are effective because they can lighten dark scars and even out the skin’s surface.
- Laser skin resurfacing is a successful method for the type of acne scars that are indented. A word of warning is that those with skin conditions such cystic acne, eczema or psoriasis will not be able to undergo this laser treatment.
- Cryosurgery is a further procedure used for facial scars where super cooled liquid nitrogen is applied to scarred tissue to gently remove it without damaging the skin underneath. Especially useful for more prominent, raised scars, this procedure can cause some discomfort.
- Another treatment used for scars on the face is micro dermabrasion where a small device buffs out the top layer of the skin to give a smoother look with less damage.
- Silicone gel sheets can be used on healing skin, helping to treat or prevent hypertrophic and keloid scars (raised scars) but they should be worn over the scar 12 to 24 hours a day, for two to three months. Most sheets can be reused until they dissolve but both the scar and the silicone sheet should be washed with mild soap and water each day.
- The correct use of cosmetics can help cover up facial scars while the healing process takes place, particularly if a concealer is used that matches the skin tone. A cosmetic product with green or yellow undertones will take some of the red out if this is a problem with your skin. Look for a natural concealer product if possible and when applying, keep on blending for a more natural appearance.
- The massaging of facial scars can help to break up scar tissues while improving the circulation of blood to the face area. This works because the lymph nodes are encouraged to drain excess fluid that commonly surrounds scar tissue during the healing process. Rub the scar in a circular motion to promote fluid drainage; stretch the surrounding skin outwards while gently rubbing the scar with thumbs using a circular motion; apply pressure to the scar with a finger or thumb and rub in one direction (the palm can be used for larger scar areas); and apply massage oil to the scar while massaging to prevent drying out of the skin.
- Increase your vitamin D levels with plenty of sun exposure on your body but of course avoiding your face which is vulnerable to sun exposure when there is scarring. Apply a natural sunscreen to any scarred areas if necessary. 15 to 30 minutes of sunlight exposure (depending on your skin tone) around midday several times a week will help to boost your vitamin D levels and the healing process. A vitamin D3 supplement can take the place of sunlight during colder months.
- A cost effective and successful treatment for scars is H-Scar which is an all natural product with pure essential oils to reduce the look of scars while at the same time smoothing and texturing the skin. The appearance of scars will fade and the skin will be restored to a more natural colour but without any pain or discomfort at all.
Disguising Scars as Part of a Daily Beauty Routine
Many women (and men too) have a scar in an awkward place which causes them embarrassment. It can be a scar caused by an injury, by a surgical procedure, by stretch marks, by acne or a birthmark. Sadly, self-harming scars are increasingly appearing. Fortunately, it is possible in many cases to hide the scar - or at the very least limit its appearance.
How to Hide Scars
Step 1 Exfoliating
Every face, scar or no scar, is sporting a top layer of dead skin cells. Through cell turnover, our skin continually renews itself, helping it to look healthy and bright. But first you have to get rid of that layer of dead skin cells. And that means exfoliating. Baking soda can be used as a gentle exfoliant. Mix a little water with the baking soda to make a paste and apply to wet skin, leaving it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes. (Hold a warm compress on it for even better results.)
Scars can look and feel especially dry and thickened, providing a less than perfect makeup base. Any coverage you apply will absorb better, look smoother and hold longer if you use a gentle scrub before you start.
Step 2 Moisturizing
Just as you need to exfoliate the surface of a scar to create a cleaner makeup base, you also need to apply a moisturizer to create a base that is more welcoming to your make up.
A moisturizer will soften the scar as well as add the necessary moisture to create a smooth, receptive surface. While moisturizing is always an important step in a cosmetics routine, it is even more so when covering a scar. Any dryness will mar the finish, make blending more difficult and cause the covered scar to stand out.
Where there are minor scars to be covered, a moisturiser with self-tanning properties can work well. But be aware that this is not a good idea with fresh scars. If your scars have been around for a while - and respond well to exfoliation and moisturizer - a subtle, sunless tan might help them blend in.
Step 3 Makeup
Remember that matching your skin tone is even more important than usual when applying extra pigment. Many makeup products come in kits that let you blend several colors to achieve exactly the right shade.
Practice makes perfect.
Step 4 Finishing
A final finish will help to keep the makeup and the coverage in place. Apply a translucent finishing powder with a good quality brush, one that is a loose powder version and is especially soft and fluffy so that the powder is applied lightly and evenly over the thick makeup covering your scar.
Step 5 Creating a diversion
If you are concerned that (in spite of all your efforts) your scar is still partially visible, there is another trick that you can use. Create a diversion!
For example, if your scar is on your chin, highlight your eyes with fantastic shadow to draw the gaze upward.
If it is on your forehead, apply a bold lip color. You will be diverting attention away from a negative to beautifully accentuate a positive.
How to Avoid Scars
Often teens and young adults have to suffer the embarrassment and discomfort of acne itself followed by the double trouble of acne scarring.
There are three types of Acne Skin Condition that lead to scarring:
- Acne vulgaris is the most common form of acne and includes blackheads, whiteheads, papules, pustules, nodules and cysts. It is the papules that you have to be careful of for scarring. Resist the temptation to squeeze them. If you only have a few red or brownish colored marks on your face after an acne outbreak, it is highly likely that these will fade away in a matter of months.
- Acne rosacea can be confused with the acne vulgaris. Rosacea affects millions of people and appears as a red rash normally on the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. As the redness is often accompanied by typical acne symptoms of bumps, pimples and skin blemishes, you can see how the two conditions can be confused. Blood vessels can become more visible on the skin in the affected area and if left untreated, rosacea can lead to more advanced stages where the vision is affected and there is swelling of the nose together with the growth of excess tissue. Acne rosacea scars are also a possibility.
- Cystic acne is one of the more severe types of acne and almost always leaves some degree of scarring behind. Such a cystic acne scar takes a long time to heal and at worst can leave behind a permanent reminder with pits and marks which in some cases can stretch across a wide area of skin. Prevention is best with this type of acne. Avoid touching or picking and follow a healthy lifestyle so that the skin has the very best chance of rejuvenating and healing itself.
Always Adopt a Healthy Regimen to look after your Skin
Cleansing is top of the list to reduce latent bacteria on the skin’s surface. Two or three times a day, the skin should be gently washed with cool to warm water (not hot) and a soft soap or cleanser to get rid of any extra sebum on the skin’s surface and to discard the dead skin cells and debris, making sure to always use a clean cloth and never to scrub the skin. Always remove all make-up very gently.
Those who have a job where they might be in contact with oil, or exercise or play sport, should wash their face even more frequently. Second on the list is to use one of the many natural acne treatments as these are safer and much more gentle than any over-the-counter or prescription medications. Suggestions include H-Acne or H-Rosacea from Healing Natural Oils. And finally, there are other helpful lifestyle changes you can follow such as drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water daily; taking plenty of vitamins A,C and E as well as Zinc; including lots of leafy vegetables and fresh fruit in your diet; checking labels of any make-up or sunscreen carefully as these should read “noncomedogenic” or “nonacnegenic” and be water-based; keeping the use of any hair sprays or gels well away from your face; and washing long hair or a fringe frequently so there is no oil build- up that can get on to your face. In spite of taking great care and using preventative measures, you can still be left with acne scars. It is wise to consult a dermatologist as to the various methods of scar removal so that the right one is chosen for you.
Here are some of the options available
Laser resurfacing where the damaged top layer of skin is removed while the middle layer is exposed and firmed to reveal a smoother skin.Dermabrasion where a rotating wire brush or spinning diamond instrument wears down the surface of the skin to reveal a new and smoother look.
Henry Ford Health System. (2015). Study: Gene may open door for improved keloid, scar treatment. sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/01/150123081319.html.(Accessed, Feb 15, 2021).
Juckett G, et al. (2009). Management of keloids and hypertrophic scars.
aafp.org/afp/2009/0801/p253.html.(Accessed, Feb 15, 2021).
Keloids and hypertrophic scars. (n.d.).aocd.org/?page=KeloidsAndHypertroph. (Accessed, Feb 15, 2021).
Robles D, et al. (2007). Keloids: Pathophysiology and management.
escholarship.org/uc/item/2m43548r. (Accessed, Feb 15, 2021).