Despite teachers, parents, friends, and made-for-TV movies preaching that “it’s what’s on the inside that counts,” it is extremely difficult not to be conscious of one’s outward appearance. For many, the biggest cause of appearance anxiety comes from skin imperfections. Acne, discoloration, scarring, and other abnormalities can negatively impact a person’s confidence, self-esteem, and social life. Facial scars in particular can be a major source of worry for men, women, and children. Whereas blemishes generally clear up within a week’s time, facial scars are a more permanent issue. Fortunately, there are some remedies and treatments available to decrease the prominence of facial scars.
Facial scars can develop in a number of ways. Most commonly, these marks serve as a reminder of cystic acne, burns, surgery, chicken pox, or other trauma. When multiple layers of skin experience significant trauma or distress, your body goes through its natural healing process, often resulting in a scar. Scars can vary depending on the size and depth of the injury. Age, heredity, and ethnicity can also impact how your skin will react to trauma and the severity of scarring you experience. Sometimes, scars can fade or become less noticeable over time, depending on the wound’s prominence and depth.
Dermatologists and other skincare professionals can help mitigate the appearance of facial scars. Different types of treatments are available for different types of scarring. Recent technology advancements in laser treatment are a popular option for addressing mature, white scars and hypertrophic or keloidal scars, which are inflamed and thickened. Laser treatments seek to reduce the appearance of scars by up to 75 percent with a series of minimally invasive procedures. For a more radical option, dermatologists can perform scar revision surgeries whereby they completely remove the area of scarred skin and attempt to reconstruct the remaining tissue to reduce the overall appearance of the scar. Doctors may also provide prescription topical treatments or steroid injections that can diminish the appearance of scars.
If a dermatological procedure seems too extreme, consider trying a home remedy to start. When applied to a fresh wound, aloe vera is meant to prevent the development of scar tissue. In fact, studies show that keeping a wound moist and covered is the most effective way to avoid scarring. Aloe is an excellent option for this, but basic petroleum jelly, olive oil, or other common oily substances can also be used.
Lemon juice is another popular at-home scar remedy. Applying fresh lemon juice to damaged areas of skin with a cotton ball will lighten the appearance of scars by drawing on the natural bleaching properties of lemons. The acidic nature of a lemon may also help dry up oily skin and avoid future breakouts. Egg white also has astringent properties that are thought to reduce the prevalence of scars. Apply egg white to affected areas with a cotton swab and let it set for one to two hours before rinsing.
Holy basil and turmeric are two other kitchen ingredients that are recommended for scar treatment. Either of these items can be boiled in water to get started. Holy basil leaves can then be cooled and applied directly to the scarred areas of skin. Turmeric should not be applied directly to the skin. Instead, combine the herb with boiling water in a bowl. Cover your head in a towel and lean over the bowl, creating a soothing steam treatment.
For a non-prescription treatment, there are many over the counter products available. As with any skin care products, it is important to know which ingredients you are looking for to ensure the best results. Scar treatments are available in various gel, cream, sheet, and oil formulas. A recent scar treatment product review by the Los Angeles Times shows silicone gel sheets to be one of the most effective over-the-counter treatments for reducing scar tissue. Look for products incorporating silicone, an ingredient that has been used to successfully treat burn victims for several decades. Creams that include a combination of cortisone and silicone are also a popular choice for fighting facial scars. Along with the benefits of silicone, cortisone improves the strength of your skin and works to restore healthy skin texture.
For raised scars, look for products including onion extract. Vitamin E oil is popularly thought to help to fade scars over time. Shea butter and cocoa butter also moisturize the skin and can help heal discolored patches with extended use. If you are unsure which product is right for you, ask a doctor or pharmacist for assistance.
No matter what causes scarring, it can be frustrating and embarrassing to address. The appearance of scars can be reduced through proper care, whether in a dermatologist’s office or in your own home. Once you have identified your skin’s specific needs, try one of the remedies mentioned above and begin your path to clear, confidence-inducing skin.