Facial scars are one of the most common concerns that women often complain about. They are formed after a wound heals on your skin. Depending on the severity of the wounds, scars can take varying amounts of time and levels of treatment to fade. When it comes to facial scars, the wounds occur in the form of infections, injuries, inflammation of tissue, burns, or surgery. Acne is one of the leading causes of scar development, the marks being left behind as a reminder that your skin tried to heal itself. Yes, scarring is your body's natural way of healing wounds on the skin and thus, is quite inevitable when the skin breaks in any way. Fortunately, there are some very effective ways of dealing with facial scars, some of which we have discussed below...
3 Types of facial scars & Treatment
As seen above, scars can come in many shapes and sizes. But for the purposes of this list, we will be focusing on keloid and hypertrophic scars that can be dealt with clinical interventions. Since different types of scars vary in terms of flatness or lumpiness, some can even be painful or itchy, we have listed unique treatments that can help deal with the different kinds of scarring. And while these treatments are pretty effective on their own, your dermatologist might suggest a combination of them to help your individual issue. Which is why it's always recommended to consult your dermatologist about the kind of treatment you are hoping to get for your facial scarring. Check out the list below…
1. Laser treatments
Laser treatments focus mainly on resurfacing the skin in the affected area of scarring, fading it in the process. While laser resurfacing won't completely fade facial scars, they are pretty effective at reducing the size and overall appearance of the scars. Laser procedures use focused light therapy to remove the top layer of your skin and encourage new cell growth in the area. Laser therapy is ideal to help fade acne scars, injury scars and burn marks. Some of the things to consider before opting for laser therapy are:
- They are an expensive, out-patient procedure that should be performed by a licensed professional.
- They are not recommended for skin that has active breaks and is not very effective on darker skin tones.
- The downtime required with the procedure is very low - healing can be seen on your skin in 3-10 days.
- Temporary side effects include mild swelling and redness during and after the procedure. However, these effects go down on their own in a couple of days.
- The different kinds of laser resurfacing options available are ablative lasers like CO2 (carbon dioxide) or erbium, fractionated laser resurfacing, and infrared heat lasers. Depending on the severity of your scars, your dermatologist will be able to recommend the right kind for you.
2. Chemical peels
Chemical peel procedures are carried out by applied mild acids, like TCA, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, in a single layer to ‘peel off’ the top layer (epidermis) of your skin. They are an extremely popular treatment because of their relatively affordable prices and complete the non-invasive nature of the procedure. While superficial peels are aimed at rejuvenation, maintaining skin glow and tan removal, medium-depth peels are what you should opt for scarring. Some of the things to consider before opting for chemical peels are:
- Chemical peels are a relatively quick procedure and have simple post-procedure care rules while your skin bounces back.
- Depending on the kind of scarring being treated, chemical peel procedures can be done for 6-8 sessions, with 2 weeks gap given between each session.
- Chemical peels make your skin very sensitive to the sun after the procedure, so it is recommended to schedule it accordingly. Also, re-application of sunscreen every 2 hours is mandatory post-procedure, so is staying away from exercise and sweat-inducing activities for a couple of days.
- Since chemical peels are technically just potent exfoliators, other exfoliating agents like retinol/retinoids, salicylic acid, and glycolic acid should be avoided for at least 3 days to 1 week prior to the procedure.
- Be careful with your pick of a professional and place to get the procedure done as chemical peels do pose the risk of infection spreading, if not done in a sterilised environment.
3. Injectable fillers
Most skin scarring occurs when your body forms new collagen in order to repair a wound, but is not evenly distributed. This kind of atrophic scarring is also very common in cases where the person had acne and used to pick at it. In cases like this, dermal fillers have shown good results to help deal with the indentations formed on your skin. A dermatologist will assess the kind of scarring you have and recommend the appropriate filler - varying from the common hyaluronic fillers to more long term kinds of soft tissue fillers. Some of the things to keep in mind before opting for fillers are:
- Some types of fillers need to be repeated every six months or so, and as such, are not a permanent solution for scars.
- Sometimes, fillers are combined with treatments like microneedling and laser therapies to give a more outwardly visible result.
- They are best suited for scarring that are more isolated than the ones which are spread out on your skin.
- The results of fillers often have an even finish, however rounded scars are much easier to treat as compared to square or triangle shaped scars.
Even though microdermabrasion is a popular treatment, its advanced form, Dermabrasion, is regarded as a better scar-removal procedure. The process involves deeply exfoliating your skin with a rotating wand and removes the outer, damaged layers to reveal clearer-looking skin underneath. The procedure is especially good for chickenpox marks, marks left over by accidents, and raised scars caused by an existing skin condition (like acne). Having said that, dermabrasion is a medical-grade resurfacing procedure and should only be prescribed and performed by professionals. Also, unlike microdermabrasion, dermabrasion can break your skin causing some bleeding and requiring downtime to heal. But, the many settings available on dermabrasion wands can help your esthetician give your dramatic results in fading scars.
Microneedling is a procedure where a professional uses a dermaroller to prick your skin with tiny needles. The goal is to boost collagen in the skin, but in a more uniform manner. Sometimes, the professional may use topical treatments in combination with microneedling in order to enhance the results. It is low on the invasiveness scale and requires very little downtime for healing. Depending on the severity of your scarring, you might need multiple sessions before the results start to show. The procedure is ideal for less severe forms of scarring, and has the added benefit of smoother and brighter looking skin!
FAQs about facial scars
Q. Are there home remedies available to deal with facial scars?
A. While there are many home remedies that have the claim to help deal with facial scarring, the reality is that only clinical procedures can make any real difference to your skin. In addition to this, home remedies can sometimes even irritate your skin, causing further exacerbation of existing active acne and other skin conditions.
Q. What is the best way to cover up facial scars with makeup?
A. Makeup can be a good way to cover up scars superficially while you get them treated. The best way to cover up scarring is by using silicone-based primers that seamlessly fill these indentations. You might also consider investing in a full-coverage, buildable foundation in order to blend the scarring with the rest of your skin for an even-toned finish.