How to Reduce the Appearance of Scars from Your Face

Two Methods:Reducing Scars at HomeReducing Scars with Help from Your Dermatologist

Facial scars can be be raised, sunken, or darkly pigmented. They may be itchy or painful. They can result from acne, injury, or surgery. There are many methods that can help you heal, diminish, and cover your scars. No matter what method you choose, keep your skin clean and moisturized. Wear sunscreen every day, as sun can slow the healing of your skin, and can cause hyperpigmentation of scars. Opt for proven at-home methods such as silicone gel treatments, or visit a well respected dermatologist for injections or resurfacing.

Method 1
Reducing Scars at Home

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    Use sunscreen. Protection from UV rays is essential for wound healing and scar care. No matter what approach you take, sunscreen should be part of your routine. Choose a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher, and wear a hat on sunny days. Proper sun protection can also reduce the risk of hyperpigmentation of scars.
    • Massage sunscreen around a wound or scar to prevent thickening of the scar from sun exposure.
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    Use silicone gel on your scars. Topical, self-drying silicone gel has been shown highly effective at treating both raised and sunken scars.[1] Silicone gel is transparent and dries on its own, so once you apply it to your face you can go about your day. Silicone sheets or bandages can also reduce scar itching, thickness, and pain[2][3].
    • You can buy silicone gel sheets over the counter at most pharmacies.
    • Use the silicone gel sheeting for at least three months for optimal results. Silicone will not make your scar disappear, but it will reduce scar thickness, discoloration, and discomfort.[4]
    • Fully evaluate the silicon/silicone toxicity studies and associated problems[5][6][7]before pursuing this avenue. You are likely to experience side effects from this treatment, some of which might reduce your quality of life.
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    Massage scars with lotion or oil. Keeping a scar covered and hydrated will help it heal. Massage recent scars with oil or moisturizer twice a day for about a minute. Massage helps reorganize immature collagen bundles that form while the skin is scarring. Do not massage or apply oil to an unhealed wound. Ask your dermatologist to recommend the right lotion or cream products for your skin.
    • Opt for an inexpensive substance such as olive oil or petroleum jelly.
    • Avoid expensive skin treatments such as lotions that boast cocoa butter or vitamin E, as their effectiveness has not been scientifically proven.
    • No over the counter lotion has been shown to be as effective as silicone sheets.
    • Wearing oil on your skin may promote acne. Speak to your dermatologist or doctor about the best skincare routine for your type of skin.
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    Wear makeup to reduce the appearance of scars. Use fragrance-free water-based (noncomedogenic) products, as oil-based products can cause acne and prevent your scars from healing. To use, clean and moisturize your face, or apply a moisturizing sunscreen. Apply primer to your scars, or across your whole face. Apply concealer in an x across your scars. Cover with light, even layers of foundation until satisfied with the result.
    • If you are prone to acne, you may want to use a brush or sponge to apply your makeup. Clean your brushes and sponges at least twice a week.
    • You can use primer with SPF for added protection from the sun.
    • Match concealer to your skin tone. Concealer that is too light or dark will highlight your scars. Mix two shades of concealer if you cannot find one that matches your skin.
    • If you are trying to hide hyperpigmentation, try applying a green concealer, or another color that contrasts with the discoloration. Cover well with foundation.
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    Try at-home microdermabrasion. Buy a microdermabrasion kit, or skincare kit that includes microdermabrasion. These kits are less expensive and less intensive than being resurfaced by a dermatologist. If your scars are not severe, or if your skin is particularly sensitive, it may be a better choice for you than surgical dermabrasion.

Method 2
Reducing Scars with Help from Your Dermatologist

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    Ask about injections. If you have raised or sunken scars, treating them with injections may smooth them. You dermatologist will administer them in his or her office. You may need to get a series of injections, and they may wear off over time. Injections cost around $50-75 dollars each, so make sure you have the budget to pay for repeated treatments.
    • You may experience side effects such as bruising, tissue death, dilated blood vessels, lightened patches of skin, or hyperpigmentation.[8]
    • Discontinue injection treatment if you have an allergic reaction.
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    Ask about resurfacing. If you have shallow, sunken scars, especially acne scars, you may want to try laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, or a chemical peel. These techniques remove scar tissue on your face, giving new skin the opportunity to grow. Some damage in the form of redness, sun sensitivity, dilated blood vessels, cysts, acne, eczema, hyperpigmentation, lightened skin patches, and even new scarring is to be expected.
    • Resurfacing techniques are unlikely to work on raised or very deep scars.
    • If you choose dermabrasion, your dermatologist will use an abrasive tool to rub your scar down. They may use sandpaper or a wire brush.[9]
    • If you choose laser resurfacing, your dermatologist will pass over your scars 1-3 times with a laser. This technique can take minutes or a full hour, depending on the extent of the scarring.
    • If you choose to have a chemical peel, chemicals will be applied to your face. You may be given a "lunchtime," a medium, or a deep peel. Deep peels require general anaesthesia and require you to stay out of the sun for up to 6 months.[10]
    • Resurfacing techniques require skill. Choose a dermatologist who is experienced, trusted, and highly-rated.
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    Ask about cryosurgery. Cryosurgery freezes scar tissue with liquid nitrogen, causing it to die and fall from your face. This treatment is sometimes recommended for severely raised scars. It is recommended more frequently for use on lighter skins, as it can cause spotty bleaching. After cryosurgery, you may be recovering from blistering, swelling, and hyperpigmentation for up to 4 weeks.[11]
    • Cryosurgery is also called cryoablation and cryotherapy.


  • Be sure to find a recommended dermatologist for any scar treatments.
  • Consult your doctor before trying any over the counter treatments.

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Categories: Skin Conditions | Scars