Expert Tips To Hide Scars
Did you know that all scars on the face (acne, accidental, etc.) can all be treated using a series of tricks?
Dr. Jeffrey Spiegel, world renowned facial plastic surgeon and professor at Boston University, offers these tips to eliminate or hide a scar:
1) Many scars are obvious because they are sunken in (called depressed scars). This creates shadows which make the defect much more visible. A facial plastic surgeon can elevate the base of the scar in various ways. Sometimes, a pitted scar (such as from acne) can be fixed in the office without any stitches required using a technique called “subcision”. Other times, filler (like the types injected for wrinkles) can raise the bottom of the scar.
(2) Shrink it down to size – Some people (particularly those with darker skin) can get hypertrophic or keloid scars. These are scars that grow and grow beyond the edges of the injury. A few injections of a corticosteroid medication, along with some other techniques, can often get these areas under control.
(3) Avoid straight lines – Our bodies have lots of curves, and very few straight lines. As a result, our eyes quickly pick up straight lines as being out of the ordinary. If you have a scar which is straight like a line, or has any segments that are straight lines longer than about a third of an inch, then a facial plastic surgeon may break up the scar into a series of smaller segments; something like a series of saw teeth, or little waves. These may seem more obvious to you, but as they fade, the smaller segments will be harder to see and make the scar much less visible.
(4) Scrapes can help a scar – your facial plastic surgeon may suggest using a laser or a device something like sand paper to scratch and abrade the skin around the scar. This helps keep the levels even, and generally helps the scar fade into the surrounding areas.
(5) Remake the scar entirely – a wound created by a car dashboard, tree limb, diving board, rock, or corner of your nightstand is not going to heal as well as one created by a skilled surgeon. Often, a bad scar should just be removed and then the surgical site closed by a facial plastic surgeon.
(6) Change direction – our face has natural wrinkles and grooves (think of the lines that form at the side of the eyes when you squint). If you have a scar that goes against the grain (that is, perpendicular to a natural groove), consider having the direction of the scar changed so that it fits more closely into a natural line. This will help it to disappear from view.
(7) Colors matter. Scars can be very dark or light compared to our natural skin color. Darker scars (called hyperpigmented) will often fade over time, or can be stimulated to fade with a number of different ointments and treatments. Light scars (hypopigmented) will more commonly stay light colored and are harder to deal with. However, a talented medical tattoo artist can add some pigment to the light areas to have them blend into the face and be less visible; it’s something of a flesh colored tattoo! Be sure to do this in stages as you don’t want to make the scar too dark with tattoo ink.
(8) If you are injured and are going to get a scar, help it to heal as well as you can. Silicone ointments, certain topical preparations available at a facial plastic surgeon’s office, and sunscreen can all help. Newly forming scars are very sun sensitive. Keep them out of the sun by using a strong sunscreen (preferably one with zinc or titanium as the active ingredients), and by shading them with a hat, clothing, or dark glasses.