How to Prevent Facial Scarring

Close up of Hispanic woman applying face lotion
Careful skincare is the first step toward preventing facial scars. (Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images)

Although skin cells continuously regenerate, scars can form when skin is damaged. As unattractive as facial scars may appear, all scars play a role in the healing process. It’s the way the body responds to injury. The problem is the new tissue that replaces the damaged tissue is not the same; therefore, it may look different in color and texture from the rest of your skin.

Step 1

Treat acne early. According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, proper skin care is the best way to prevent scars. Cleanse the skin gently as scrubbing can make acne worse. Squeezing, popping, scratching or picking at pimples can cause scarring. Avoid doing anything to irritate the skin as inflammation is more likely to damage skin tissue and cause scars.

Step 2

Keep cuts and skin blemishes clean and free from infection. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends washing your face with lukewarm water, which is best for cleaning dirt from the area. Apply an antibiotic ointment to wounds or open blemishes to reduce the risk of infection, which increases the likelihood that damaged skin will scar. Continue applications for about a week or until the area begins to heal.

Step 3

Cover any open wounds with a bandage strip. A wound will dry out and scab over if you don’t cover it. The skin can heal faster if you prevent a scab from forming. Dr. David Leffell, professor of dermatology at Yale University School of Medicine, points out that keeping a wound moist will help it heal twice as fast. Moisten the area with petroleum jelly and keep covered until you notice signs of healing.

Step 4

Massage the area a few times each day once it begins to heal. This can keep a scar from forming or make it less noticeable. Use your fingertips to massage in small, circular motions. Massage for about 30 seconds. Moisturizing the area with lotion before massaging will keep the wound from drying out.

Step 5

Stay out of the sun. Ultraviolet rays slow the healing process and can discolor a scar. Apply a sunscreen with SPF higher than 15 before going outdoors.

Warning

Do not use iodine or hydrogen peroxide to clean a wound as these destroy white blood cells, thereby slowing down the healing process.

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