Treatment for Facial Scars
When a wound heals, it may eventually turn into a scar. Facial scars come in numerous forms and may be caused by injuries, acne, burns, or surgery. Since your face is constantly exposed to the environment, scars on this part of your body may have a harder time healing. Whereas you may be able to cover up or protect other areas of your body while a wound heals, your face is open to the elements for most of the day. It may not be possible to fully protect wounds on the face as they heal, and it may be difficult to keep treatments (e.g., ointments, creams) from rubbing away.
If you are looking to treat facial scars, you have several options to consider.
Dermabrasion is one of the most effective and most popular methods for treating facial scars. Unlike microdermabrasion kits you can buy at the drugstore, dermabrasion is performed by a dermatologist. They use a wire brush or a wheel to exfoliate the top layer of skin on your face.
Some of the complications of dermabrasion include:
• darkening of the skin
• redness and swelling
• uneven skin tone
• Many people see a 50 percent reduction in their scars.
• Dermabrasion can be very uncomfortable.
• It’s not a good choice for people with sensitive skin.
• It’s not a good choice for people with autoimmune disorders.
Chemical peels contain mild acids that are applied in a single layer on the skin. As a result, the upper layer of skin (epidermis) exfoliates and rolls off, exposing a new layer of skin.
There are three types of chemical peel:
• Deep peel: This peel uses phenol and is the most common type used for scars because it gets deeper into the skin.
• Superficial peel: This peel has milder effects and might improve discoloration associated with minor scars.
• Medium peel: While also used for discoloration, the glycolic acid in this peel is most often used for antiaging treatments.
Deep peels are so intense that, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, they can take up to three weeks to heal. Your face will be bandaged, and the dressings need to be changed several times a day. You may also need to take antiviral medications to prevent illness.
• They may treat other skin problems besides scars, such as age spots and wrinkles.
• They can result in smoother, younger-looking skin.
• Chemical peels can leave skin more sensitive to the sun, which can lead to burns and scarring.
• They may irritate sensitive skin, especially if you have a history of eczema.
• They may worsen symptoms of rosacea and psoriasis.
• They’re not recommended for pregnant and nursing women.
• They don’t work as well on people who have darker skin.
Laser resurfacing (facial scars)
Laser resurfacing has the same goal as chemical peels and dermabrasion: to remove the top layer of skin. Unlike acids and tools, laser resurfacing uses high-powered laser beams for skin removal.
There are two types: erbium and carbon dioxide laser resurfacing. While erbium is the safest method for the face, carbon dioxide appears to be the most effective in treating scars. Once you leave the doctor’s, you will need to keep the area bandaged until it completely heals.
• Laser resurfacing has a faster healing time (3 to 10 days) than other treatments.
• It’s not a good choice for people still experiencing acne breakouts.
• It’s not as effective on people with darker skin tones.
• It can cause infections, scarring, and changes in skin pigmentations.
Exploring plastic surgery
Plastic surgery is another treatment option. Unlike the procedures listed earlier, surgery is a more invasive process in which the scar tissue is surgically removed or altered with a scalpel.
Unlike the other treatment options, you may need to see a plastic surgeon instead of a dermatologist for this procedure.
• Plastic surgery usually has a better outcome than any other treatment. There are also several different treatments available for scars.
• Its high cost can keep it from being an option for most people. More complicated procedures also have a higher risk of causing infections and leaving scars.
Minimizing and preventing scars
• Treating skin wounds can help minimize or even prevent scars from occurring in the first place.
• If you have a wound or cut on your face, make sure you keep it clean.
• Applying petroleum jelly or Vaseline to the wound can help keep it moist and prevent scab formation.
• Wearing sunscreen can help minimize the appearance of scars once they have healed.
• By applying sunscreen to your face every day, you can prevent a scar from turning brown or red from sun exposure.
• In some cases, sunscreen can even help scars fade. Make sure to use SPF 30 or higher.