So you got a scar on the face after that wound sustained from a fall during the weekend basketball game (or maybe after scratching your face against the wall) healed and it seems to get all the undue attention? Well, don’t fret; this article will highlight the various options you have to get rid of such scars and get as close as possible to your natural face.
Facial Scar- Face Scars
Injuries and accidents are the most common cause of facial scars. Some of us have scars to remind them of the time they from their bike learning to ride as kids while others have scars to show for that accidental scrape on the wall or the ground (ouch that hurts!) when they had had one too many a drink for the road.
Acne is another common culprit for face scars. Acne scars are not necessarily caused by picking at your pimples. Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist based in New York says that there some acne lesions are just prone to scarring and will form a scar whether you pick at them or not.
This is especially true of the cystic lesions that feel painful from beneath the skin but hardly connect with the skin surface. Even then, don’t go picking at any acne lesion that pops up on your face as this increase the chances of scarring. Acne facial scars have a sunken or pitted appearance.
Other skin conditions such as chicken pox can also cause facial scars. Surgery can also cause face scars and so can skin piercings (scarring is one of the risks of nose bridge piercing).
Sustaining a burn or a scald can also cause facial scars (contracture scars) which are attributed to shrinking and tightening of the skin. Such face scars can cause restricted movement of the skin and/or may affect the muscles and nerves especially if it runs deep into the skin.
Facial Scar Treatment – Best Treatment options for Facial Scars
In a bid to find solutions for facial scars, scores of facial scar treatment options have arisen, but according to Dr. Whitney Bowe, a dermatologist based in New York, only a handful of these options are effective and worth the time and their price tag. Here are some of the best treatments for facial scars:
Over the counter and prescription creams and gels: These should be the first line of action when treating facial scars resulting from cuts, sores and injuries to the skin. For cosmetic or plastic surgery-induced scars, you should talk to your surgeon about the effectiveness and suitability of over-the-counter creams.
The WebMD however recommends waiting at least one year before seeking a scar treatment if you have had surgery that led to formation of a scar since such scars fade away after some time.
If over-the-counter creams are not ideal, the surgeon may prescribe a suitable prescription creams, usually steroid creams and antihistamine creams (if there is itching or inflammation associated with the scar).
Surgery: Surgery can cause facial scars and can as well be used to treat face scars caused by any other factor (talk about injury, acne, or even burns) especially if they extend deep into the skin. Surgery doesn’t remove scars completely but often alters their shape and makes them less noticeable. The options vary from skin grafts to excisions and dermabrasion.
The skin grafts option involves the use of skin from another area of the body to repair the scarred area especially in patients who have had burns.
Dermabrasion on the other hand involves the removal of the surface of the skin on the affected area using specialized equipment. Dermabrasion is usually helpful in treatment of scars that stick out but is not very effective for treatment of pitted or sunken scars such as those associated with acne.
A less invasive form of dermabrasion referred to as microdermabrasion is also used but is only effective when used on very superficial scars.
Steroid injections: This also ranks among the most used facial scar treatment options and is especially useful for treatment of raised scars (keloid and hypertrophic scars). Long-term injection of the scar with steroids is typically administered either alone or in combination with other scar treatment options.
Injection with fillers: Injection with fillers is also often used to treat sunken scars and bring them to the same level as the surrounding skin but this option gives temporary results.
Laser treatment: If scar creams are simply not effective, you can always turn to laser treatment. Dr Bowe says that V-beam lasers works great for red scars while Fraxel is better suited for acne scars as well as older scars. Laser treatment targets help by shrinking the blood vessels.
It is however important to mention at this point that laser treatment is not the cheapest of options with the price ranging to as high as $300 to $500 per treatment session on small areas the likes of cheeks. Take into consideration the fact that not less than 3 sessions are usually required, and you will have an idea of the real cost for laser treatment.
Laser resurfacing is another important scar treatment option which, like dermabrasion, removes the surface of the skin, but using lasers. Some newer lasers make it possible to give more subtle results by targeting the collagen in the dermis layer of the skin without removing the epidermis. This means shorter recovery time compared to traditional laser resurfacing.
Radiotherapy: low doses radiotherapy administered superficially is often used to treat recurrent keloid and hypertrophic scars. This option is however used sparingly (only in extreme cases) since radiotherapy can have long-term side-effects.
Silicone Gel sheetings: Silicone gel sheetings can also be used to treat facial scars. A silicone gel is typically applied to an adhesive sheet before sticking it onto the skin. According to Dr Bowe, the pressure exerted by the sheeting has positive effect on the scarring process but they are not the “wow effect’ kind of thing that one might visualize.
At an average monthly cost of $40 and a period of up to 2 years required for complete healing of the scar, silicone gel sheeting is also not the cheapest of options.
Facial Scar Removal- Face Scar Removal – Extra tips
As we have already mentioned, face scar removal options range from topical creams and ointments to injections, surgery, and laser treatment. The following are extra tips to prevent the formation of facial scars in the first place and to reduce their appearance.
Apply sunscreen everyday: According to Dr. MacGregor, a dermatologist cased in New York, the importance of using a sunscreen in reducing facial scars and marks cannot be overemphasized.
Continued exposure to sunlight only serves to worsen the scars and spots on the skin and for that Dr. MacGregor recommends using a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or more everyday as part of your facial scar removal bid. Neutrogena Healthy Defense Oil-free Sunblock SPF 30 is a great choice in this regard.
Avoid using hydrogen peroxide on cuts. As David Leffell, M.D., a professor of dermatology at Yale School of Medicine and the author of Total Skin says, swabbing cuts and wounds with hydrogen peroxide causes damage to new skin cells which can increase the odd of getting a scar.
You can thus prevent having to worry about face scar removal later on by simply avoiding the eons old tale of hydrogen peroxide.
Cover cuts: There is the popular myth that leaving cuts open allows them to “breathe”. This is not at all true and indeed delays the healing process and increases the chances of scarring.
Instead you should treat the cuts everyday with antibiotic ointments the likes of Neosporin before covering them with a clean bandage over the course of the first week and switch to using Vaseline and bandage thereafter according to Bruce Katz MD, an associate professor at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Stay away from vitamin E: Known for its strong antioxidant properties, vitamin E is widely touted to be effective at treatment of scars and is indeed one of the common ingredients in topical scar lotions and creams. But according to a study conducted by the University of Miami, vitamin E can irritate the skin and impair the healing process.
Massage the scar gently: Massaging is an easy yet pretty effective facial scar removal option that helps to break down the collagen accumulated in the scar tissue. An easy way to do this is to massage the scarred area with lotion or oil in circular motions for 30 seconds or 1 minute several times everyday.
These options will help you not only in facial scar removal but can also help to prevent the formation of scar at the very beginning. If the scar however appears to suddenly get itchy, elevated, or red, you should consider seeking medical attention.
Facial Scar Removal Cream – The Best Brand
We keep getting the request to suggest the best facial scar removal cream from our valued readers. There are numerous brands out there but they are all not created equally. One product that particularly stands out is Revitol Scar Cream.
Also one of the earliest and most talked scar creams, Revitol combines the power of four ingredients, namely, onion extract, glycolic acid, copper peptide and hydroquinone to eliminate skin discoloration and fasten the healing process of your scars.
But as Dr. MacGregor says, you should avoid prolonged use of products that contain hydroquinone since this can lead to “…permanent gray pigmentation in the skin”. Studies are as well ongoing to show the safety of using hydroquinone since it is thought to be carcinogenic.
Other creams that you can consider in your bid to get that smooth prior-to-injury skin back are Kelo-Cote Advanced Formula Scar Gel, Skinception Dermefface FX7, Selevax Intensive Scar Cream and TriDerma Scar Reliever.
Facial Scar Removal Surgery and Medical Insurance Cover
Whether your health insurer will foot the bill for facial scar removal surgery is something that most people are concerned with. The WebMD website says that your insurance company can cover the cost for the surgery if the scar impairs you physically.
Your doctor will however have to write a letter providing details of your particular case. The doctor may also want to include several photos.
If you want to undergo the surgery for purely cosmetic reasons, you will most likely have to foot the entire bill.