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Our body has an amazing natural ability to heal and close up wounds. However, it is not always that the skin is restored to its original state. Scarring may sometimes develop.
Scars, especially those on the face, can be unsightly and cause low self-esteem for some people.
Cosmetic makeup may help in covering up subtle scars, but those that protrude or are deeply set in the skin can still be visible despite layers of concealers. If you are tired of spending so much time in front of the mirror just to hide scars with the use of tinted creams, worry not! There are available treatments you can turn to in order to improve the appearance of those dreadful scars!
Before diving into treatments, let’s look learn more about the definition, causes, and types of scars.
What are the scars?
Scars are permanent marks left on the surface of the skin after healing from an injury. As a wound heals, collagen fibres in the skin work to form scar tissue. The scar tissue that eventually closes the wound is not as supple as compared to undamaged skin. Scars can be raised, depressed, or discoloured spots on the skin.
What are the causes of scars?
Scars are actually a result of the healing of inflammations or lesions caused by damage to the skin. Lesions can be in the form of blisters, burns, cuts, and even pimples.
What are the types of scars?
Scars come in various colour, forms, and shapes. The table below differentiates each type of scar according to its composition.
|TYPE OF SCAR||DEFINITION||FORM||COLOUR||EXAMPLES|
|FLAT PIGMENTED SCARS||As the name suggests, this scar is flat and is neither dented nor raised.||Flat on the surface of the skin.||The colour of flat-pigmented scars is different from the skin’s natural tone. It can either be a darker shade of brown, black, red, or white.||Can be caused by any form of cut to the skin.|
|INDENTED SCARS||These scars are depressed or sunken in the skin and are caused by the body’s poor production of collagen.||Shallow or deep pits on the skin’s surface can identify indented scars.||The colour of indented scars can be dark brown or red.||Indented scars result from abrasions caused by acne and chickenpox.|
|RAISED SCARS||These scars result from the body’s excessive production of collagen.|
Raised scars are also known as Hypertrophic Scars.
|Raised scars protrude from the skin but only stay within the area, which the wound existed prior to healing.||The colour of raised scars can likewise be dark brown or red.||Can be caused by any form of cut to the skin.|
|KELOIDS||These scars are thick and are developed when the body heals a wound in an aggressive manner. They are common in Black, Chinese, and Hispanic lineage.|
Keloids may sometimes be itchy and bring discomfort to the skin.
|Dense, irregular, and protruding scars can identify keloids. Not to be confused with a raised scar; keloids go beyond the outline of the wound.||The colour of the keloids scars is red.||Can be caused by any form of cut to the skin.|
What are the common facial scars?
Most, if not all, of the scars on the face, are from traumas to the skin caused by acne. Acne is a skin inflammation that can be cystic or pustular. When the acne pimples are not allowed to heal naturally (e.g. popping or pricking them), the skin gets damaged. As the skin heals, scars may develop deep into the skin or wide on the surface of the skin, depending on the depth and width of the wound caused.
Acne scars may be categorized into 3 kinds:
- Boxcar scars
- Ice pick scars
- Rolling scars
Boxcar scars are depressed scars that have a wide opening and defined edges. Icepick scars have a small opening and go deeper into the skin. Rolling scars are similar to boxcar scars, depressed, but the edges are round and askew.
What are the treatments available to address facial scars?
The aesthetic industry has been proactive in developing various methods that can improve scars on the face. Patients have more choices to choose from that can fit their specific needs and even their financial budget.
These are some of the facial scar treatments available:
- Chemical peels
- Corticosteroid injection
- Dermal Fillers
- Punch excision or grafting
- Laser treatments
- Radiofrequency microneedling
Chemical peels work with the use of concentrated fruit enzymes or gentle acids that are combined and applied to the face. The solution targets to exfoliate and rid the outer layer of the skin from dead skin cells by peeling them off, allowing new cells to resurface.
Corticosteroid injections are anti-inflammatory and antipruritic solutions that are used to treat keloid scars. Corticosteroids are injected directly into the keloid scars.
Dermal fillers are gel substances that are injected into the skin to elevate broad and shallow scars.
Punch excision uses a tiny hole-punching tool that cuts the skin around the scar. The wound from the cut made is then stitched closed and allowed to heal for a week before the sutures are removed. Punch grafting involves a similar technique. However, a piece of skin that is taken from a different part of the body is replaced into the hole and stitched closed to heal.
Laser treatments use energy-charged light beams that are administered to the scars. The beams penetrate through the skin, reaching the depths and stimulate collagen production that helps in skin resurfacing. There are several laser treatments available and each has a certain setting that is best for a specific type of scarring.
Radiofrequency microneedling is a technique that utilizes tiny needles that puncture repeatedly through the skin. The needles distribute heat energy that promotes collagen production, which then progresses to the reformation of the scar.
Subcision is used for depressed scars that are indented into the skin by fibrous scar tissues. A small needle is used to puncture through the skin and release the hold of the fibrous scar tissues. Production of collagen is then activated and this helps push the skin to the surface as it heals.
How do I know which facial scar treatment will work best for me?
The best way to know which of the scar treatments will work best on a patient’s face is to see an aesthetic professional for a consultation. The doctor will need to do a thorough assessment of your face to see the condition of the skin. There may be more than one kind of scarring present, so a combination of treatments may be recommended.
Is there any way to prevent facial scarring?
As they say, “prevention is better than cure.” And yes, there are ways to prevent facial scarring. An individual’s top priority is to always take good care of the skin. Have a skincare regimen that is gentle to the skin. Whenever your skin encounters a breakout of pimples, avoid touching or popping them.
In addition, wounds on the face should be allowed to heal naturally. Never peel off scabs prematurely as this can lead to permanent scarring when the flesh beneath has not healed completely.