A facial scar is not only a constant reminder of what you went through, but it can also negatively impact your emotional well-being. That is why many people seek face scar treatments. No matter how the scar got there, whether it was an accident, burn, injury or acne, research shows that it can weigh down your self-esteem and confidence.
The problem is that because there are many people looking for face scar treatments, there are many companies that manufacture gimmicky products that don’t actually work. However, they end up costing the person in question in many ways. To have an understanding of the treatments that’ll best suit your needs, you need to know about scarring itself.
What Is A Scar & Its Types?
According to the NHS, a scar is defined as “a mark left on the skin after a wound or injury has healed.” However, there are different ways in which that happens, hence the different types of scarring. Different treatments can reduce their visibility and size, but they are permanent.
Essentially, it is the abnormal production of collagen, and you can end up with a scar after a physical trauma, surgery, disease, inflammatory response or acne. When it comes to the types of scars, there are mainly 3 types. Keep in mind that these different types of scars can coexist at any given time, so you may need a combination of face scar treatments.
These are the scars that have a depressed or sunken appearance and form due to the underproduction of collagen. Based on their appearance, they have three more types:
- Ice-Pick Scar – A scar that looks like it was created by puncturing the skin with an ice-pick or another sharp instrument. On closer examination, it appears to have a “v” shape and extends deep into the dermis of the skin.
- Boxcar Scar – As the name indicates, these scars are roughly in the shape of a “box” and have sharp edges. It can also extend deep into the skin.
- Rolling Scar – This is more irregular, having a wave-like appearance. In addition, it is shallower than the others. Through bands, these are tethered to the dermis.
Because of different factors, sometimes the body produces too much collagen when healing the injured skin. This results in the formation of raised scars, and these are known as hypertrophic scars. This kind of scar only stays in the area of injury and does not spread to the surrounding tissues.
This is another type of raised scar that appears smooth and shiny. However, the main difference between a keloid scar and a hypertrophic scar is that the former tends to spread to the surrounding area. According to DermNet NZ, a keloid scar may be more resistant to treatment, unlike a hypertrophic scar. Asians and Africans are most prone to this type of scarring.
What Are the Best Scar Treatments for Face?
Following are the face scar treatments that your doctor may recommend or perform on you. These will depend on factors such as the type of scar, its location, the distance between them, your age and skin tone.
There are different strengths of chemical peels (mild, medium and deep) and they can help with different types of facial scars. These remove the top layer of the skin, stimulate the production of collagen and even allow for the better penetration of skincare products. Keep in mind that they’re best suited for mild cases.
According to the American Association of Dermatology (AAD), “laser treatment can safely treat many types of scars” when done by a “board-certified dermatologist.” The AAD emphasizes the importance of a trained and experienced medical professional performing this treatment because you might not get your desired results otherwise. In addition, it can be dangerous.
As far as the lasers themselves are concerned, there are two types:
- Ablative Lasers – Using infrared radiation, these lasers target the water inside the cells, which produces heat. It targets the superficial and deep layers of the skin, helping promote the production of collagen. These can especially help with boxcar and rolling scars.
- Non-Ablative Lasers – These lasers only target the deeper layers of the skin, and unlike ablative lasers, they do not have a very long downtime. They can also help with rolling scars, but you may need a few treatment sessions.
Vascular lasers, commonly pulse dye lasers of a wavelength of 585 or 595 nanometres, are used for keloid and hypertrophic scars. These can even treat other symptoms of the scar, such as itchiness, pain and redness.
One of the face scar treatments suited for a rolling scar is subcision. Essentially, it aims to untether the skin by severing the bands. In this treatment, a needle or blade is used. It is only inserted into the scar itself and then moved around.
This treatment allows for the replacement of the scar with another scar. Using a punch biopsy tool, the scar is excised. This process also stimulates the production of collagen, which can help make the previous scar look less prominent. It is commonly used for ice and boxcar scars. However, it is performed when there’s some distance between two close-by scars.
Fillers & Botox
Another face scar treatment that can help you is fillers. They will help by “plumping” up the skin because they are filling an empty space. In addition, they can also stimulate the production of collagen, so helping reduce the visibility of scars. These face scar treatments are best suited for boxcar and rolling scars.
As far as Botox is concerned, although it may sound unconventional, it can also help. It does so by relaxing the muscles around the acne scar that are making it pucker. This helps make the skin look smoother.
This is essentially the sanding of the skin top layer of the skin. Since it can be painful, local anaesthetics are used. So, it won’t treat scars that extend into the deeper layers of the skin. Also, you might not notice any immediate results from this treatment. However, it can give you smoother skin.
The “TCA” here stands for trichloroacetic acid, and the “Cross” means the chemical reconstruction of skin scars. Together, they form the TCA Cross treatment. An applicator with a pinpoint is dipped into the TCA and applied to the base of the scar until “frosting” starts to occur. This usually goes away after 12 hours. These can also be especially effective for icepick scars.
As the name indicates, tiny needles create puncture wounds in the skin, which results in increased collagen production. Dermarollers may be used for this, but it’s best to get this treatment done by a board-certified doctor. While this treatment can be performed on its own or in conjunction with radiofrequency. When used with platelet-rich plasma, it is also known as a vampire facial. This is used for atrophic scars only.
In the case of keloid or hypertrophic scars, injections are one of the recommended face scar treatments. These injections can be of corticosteroids or 5-fluorouracil. You will need multiple sessions of this treatment and may have to wait for a month to see any results. These injections can help reduce the size of the scar and even make them softer.
One way to get rid of raised scars is to get them surgically removed. The AAD warns that “nearly 100% of keloids return” even after the surgery. These kinds of face scar treatments may require stitches. However, it is recommended if the size of the scar is too large. One type of surgery that’s used for treating raised scars is cryosurgery, where the scar tissue is frozen, commonly using liquid nitrogen.
While it is not exactly understood how it works for scars, silicone gel also helps with keloid and hypertrophic scars. Not just that, but these have also been used to prevent scars. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic & Laser Therapy, the combination of silicone gel and ablative laser treatment was more effective.
While it may sound a bit outdated, pressure is another technique that has been used for the treatment of raised scars. It works by stopping blood flow to the scar tissue. However, the problem with this treatment is that it can be uncomfortable. The patient may have to wear a ring or garment for hours each day for quite a few months.
How Long Will It Take For the Scars To Go Away?
Keep in mind that scars are permanent, so they’ll never really completely go away. However, their appearance can be significantly improved. As far as how long that will take is concerned, it depends on the severity of your condition and the kind of scars you have.
You may have to undergo a combination of face scar treatments for some time before you can see any results. Depending on what your treatment plan is, your dermatologist can better guide you about it.
How Much Will The Face Scar Treatments Cost You?
Again, that depends on the kind of treatment you’re getting. It is unlikely that your insurance will cover it because it’s considered a “cosmetic” treatment. Since these face scar treatments can be a combination of different ones, the total expense might be thousands of pounds. One way to lower the overall cost of face scar treatments is to get them in Turkey since its economy and cost of living make healthcare cheaper.
How Can You Prevent Face Scars?
We understand that it is not always possible to prevent face scars, especially those resulting from accidents, injuries or burns. However, when it comes to acne scars, there are a few things that you can do to prevent them.
- Make sure to start getting treatment for your acne as soon as possible.
- Do not pick at your acne.
- Wear your sunscreen daily.
- Avoid smoking as it can worsen scarring.
If you have facial scars, you need to get in touch with your doctor for treatment. There are some companies that market collagen supplements as face scar treatments. These claims are not true. There is no way that these supplements can do that. It’s an unregulated industry which is why you may come across many exaggerated claims.
Many people seek face scar treatments because they cause emotional distress. There are different types of scars, and you may end up with a combination of them. There are different treatments that are recommended to improve their appearance and reduce their size, but you can’t completely get rid of them.