Impetigo is a skin infection most commonly seen in children. It is often the result of poor hygiene in children living in moist, humid climates. According to the Mayo Clinic, the infection causes pus-filled bumps that develop a crusty covering and can lead to scarring. Impetigo is highly contagious and usually develops on the upper lip. Pustules typically first appear within four to 10 days after exposure to the bacteria. Impetigo should be promptly treated and covered to prevent passing on the infection and to avoid scratching that can lead to scars.
See a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for a procedure called dermabrasion after you have completely eradicated the impetigo. Dermabrasion is one of the most popular forms of facial scar treatment, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The treatment involves removing the outer layers of scarred skin with a diamond-tip sanding instrument, which also stimulates new skin growth.
Consider visiting a dermatologist or cosmetologist for a chemical peel, a procedure that utilizes strong chemicals instead of mechanical instruments to remove the scarred layer of skin. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, chemical peels vary in strength, depending on the size of the scar and how much you want to remove. Although the more intense peels remove deeper scars, they sometimes result in uneven skin pigmentation in the new skin growth.
Visit a plastic surgeon to get a medical opinion about facial reconstructive surgery. The scars from impetigo closely resemble acne scars and do not become larger over time. Plastic surgery may require skin grafts and lengthy recovery time, but it may be the best solution if the scars have hardened and restrict facial movements in any way. A number of surgical options are available to remove facial scars; however, most leave some minor residual scarring.
Undergo laser scar-removal surgery. A number of different kinds of lasers can reduce the appearance of impetigo scars that you may have endured since childhood. According to the Consumer Guide to Plastic Surgery, lasers can remove the top layer of skin much like dermabrasion or chemical peels. Lasers can also direct the pulses of light to deep underlying layers of skin and heal the scar from the inside out by promoting collagen production to fill in the scarred recesses of the skin.
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According to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, facial skin can take up to a year to fully recover after a bout of impetigo. They advise waiting until you are sure natural healing is complete before undergoing any cosmetic procedure or facial surgery to remove the scars.
Impetigo facial scars may undermine your self-confidence, especially if you've lived with the scars since childhood. While a surgical procedure may result in a better quality of life for you, the scars typically are not considered medical conditions; the procedures usually are considered cosmetic and are not covered by health insurance, according to the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.