How to remove scars from the face?


Trying to survive everyday life without getting a scratch on us is far tougher than it sounds. It may be from something as small as a skirmish with your feisty sibling. It could be a persistent pimple that shows up on the same spot despite your tirades of abuse against it. Or something serious like a healing wound post surgery. But they all leave a parting gift in the form of hard to remove scars.

A scar is the human body’s version of a hasty cover-up, and the American Academy of Dermatology defines a scar as a residual mark from the healing of a wound (1).

The skin’s outermost layer is known as the epidermis while the layer underneath it is the dermis.

Whenever a wound is inflicted, damaging the dermis, it immediately gets to work on creating a cover over the wound to protect it from bacteria and germs. This cover is in the form of a structural protein called collagen that is produced by fibroblasts sent from the dermis (2). The collagen can be called the skin’s best friend, the big protector in their playground who protects the vulnerable skin from the bullies, so to speak.

Unfortunately, it is often our worst nightmare, because it’s the reason why scars are evident on our skin. In its haste to cover up, the collagen isn’t always allowed to settle in a neat lattice pattern as that of normal skin. This forms the characteristic lumps and indents that stand out on your skin, either when you’re retelling your heroic stories of how you got it or trying to hide your clumsiness.

Similarly, wounds caused by pimples and acne and other skin conditions cause the scars on the face. And let’s not ignore the random but unfortunate little mishaps or accidents that we tend to have.

A point to note is that it is usually not possible to completely get rid of a scar, but with effort, the scarring can be reduced. So here are a few tried and tested methods to reduce and remove scars on the face.

Starting with home remedies, the secret to healing and to remove scars is moisturizing, moisturizing, moisturizing! Hence most home remedies revolve around natural ingredients that are known to have moisturizing properties. These include:

Aloe Vera: is the go-to product when it comes to moisturizing and soothing the skin. The gel additionally helps strengthen the structure of collagen that exists in the scar tissue. Simultaneously it also suppresses the scars from further forming. Applied in its raw form, as a gel from inside the leaf is usually the most beneficial.

Coconut oil: another one of nature’s gifts to skincare routines is coconut oil. Being highly rich in vitamin E, coconut oil is usually able to help in the production of collagen (3), as well as suppress scarring. And having an easy to apply form makes it an even better contender to remove scars. But this is known to be a very slow elixir, where results are not seen at a fast enough rate.

Apple cider vinegar: this is an ingredient that experts have gone back and forth on. Found in most home remedy recipes, apple cider vinegar is flaunted to be the key to almost all dermatological solutions and has keratolytic properties (4).  These remove prevailing layers of the epidermis to reveal new skin that instantly gives a fresher look.

However, due to it being a fairly strong acid, some people have fallen prey to skin burns when leaving it on for too long. Most users recommend that it should only be left on the skin for ten minutes or less. The takeaway from this would be to consult a certified dermatologist prior to moving forward.

Honey, lemon juice: Some other popular remedies include applying raw honey to the face. With its antioxidant properties, it is known as a healthy ingredient for topical application. However, there is little research done in modern science that firmly backs this fact.

Apart from home remedies, two other viable options are either over-the-counter medication or straight up surgery. Dermatologists often don’t condone the use of over-the-counter medication, such as commonly gels and creams bought from pharmacies, without a professional consultation.

People must understand that the results of the chemical constituents in any topical medication can be far direr than the consequences of simple home remedies. Only a certified expert or dermatologist can identify the right ingredients and chemicals suited for particular skin types and conditions. The last thing you need is scarring your skin even worse in the process of trying to heal a scar in the first place.

Scar reduction or even removal can be achieved through surgical procedures. Although, the irony is not lost in the fact that a new scar is used to get rid of an old one. This is far more serious a move and often permanent. Dermatologists often only recommend this in case the scar is in an unfortunate location or is causing any real hindrances. They often alter shapes of scars and even relocate them into less exposed areas. But hold on to this thought, because it is quite drastic for simple acne scars on the face.

On a lighter note, the simple solutions to reducing and controlling scars quite literally lie in your own hands. Any dermatologist would first and foremost tell you not to pick on wounds. Fidgety fingers and a lack of self-control are often why scars on faces worsen.

Allowing a natural healing period usually is the best solution to healing scars. And protecting your scars from harmful sun rays, with the help of sunscreens, and keeping the skin clean in general are all useful tips that help remove scars on the face. Having a scar free face will always be an idealistic wish, but this can be made into reality with the help of dermatologists and following their continued guidance.

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Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.