Scars can be a major source of embarrassment for men. Whether they come from acne, cuts, or stretch marks, it is not unreasonable for you to want to conceal them.
MadeMan is committed to offering you transformational skincare that will change the way you think about your skin and feel about yourself. Not all scars require treatment and may fade away over time, but if you are looking for a more immediate solution, we are here to help.
Today we will be discussing how you can treat and cover up your scars.
What Are Scars?
After your skin has been damaged, it will begin to repair itself by growing new tissue to pull together the wound and fill in any gaps. It is very common for this natural biological healing process to result in some degree of scarring.
Scar tissue is made primarily of collagen, a protein in the body that acts as the main component of connective tissue. When the dermis is damaged by acne, a wound, or any number of skin conditions, the body forms new collagen fibers to mend it. When the wound has completely healed, it will result in a scar.
Scars can develop in several different ways. Though all scars will generally have a different texture and look than the surrounding skin, they can take on different shapes and sizes depending on their type.
Types of Scars
There are several different types of scars that you can develop. Some are flat, some are pitted, and some are raised. The type of scar you develop is based on a few different factors, including your skin type, how your skin becomes damaged, and how much collagen your body produces in response.
Here are some of the most common types of scars.
Fine Line Scars
Fine line scars are considered the standard type of scar. These scars, though potentially lifted at first, will flatten as it heals. Fine line scars are also most typically pink or red and will lighten over time.
Keloid scars occur when too much collagen is produced at the wound site, resulting in an overgrowth of tissue. Different from fine-line scars that flatten with time, keloid scars will continue to grow even after the wound has healed. They often rise above and beyond the wounded area.
Hypertrophic scars are most similar to keloid scars because of how they rise. They are the result of an excess amount of collagen produced where the damaged skin is healing. Unlike keloids, however, hypertrophic scars do not grow beyond the boundary of the wound. Instead, they have the potential to thicken for up to six months after being damaged but do have the potential to get smaller over time.
An atrophic scar is a sunken scar. These scars develop when it heals below the standard layer of skin tissue and cannot regenerate tissue. These scars are also sometimes referred to as pitted scars or pockmarks. One of the most common causes is acne. Acne scars do have the potential to become more noticeable as you age due to a reduction of collagen and elastin.
Scar contractures occur when a large area of skin is lost, and the scar that forms pulls the edges of the skin together. The pulled skin will shrink or contract, causing a tightness that can restrict motion depending on the location of the scar. The most common cause of skin contractures are burns.
When skin expands or shrinks rapidly, it is natural for the connective tissue in the skin to become damaged. These damages, when visible, are often referred to as stretch marks. They can occur anywhere on the body and are most commonly a direct response to increasing height or losing weight.
How To Treat Scars
The only way to permanently cover up your scars is to work on healing them and reducing their appearance. Here are some ideas for treating your scars.
There are a variety of scar creams that can be purchased over-the-counter to help treat your scars. Silicone ointments or corticosteroid creams have the potential to minimize the scar or prevent it from forming.
The main objective of scar treatment creams is to reduce your scars’ overall appearance, hydrate your skin, and ease any discomfort.
If you are in need of something stronger, you can request a prescription from your physician for a more intensive retinol scar cream or gel. In certain instances, your physician may also recommend that you use a skin-lightening cream containing hydroquinone to treat any discoloration.
Whichever cream you choose to use, consistency is key for seeing progress.
Chemical peels are facial treatments in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers and deeply exfoliate the skin. Chemical peels are commonly used to minimize scars. Since they work by removing skin from the epidermis, they can help new cells to regenerate.
The peels are most effective on fine line scars and typically require multiple rounds to achieve maximum results. Chemical peels use acids in their solutions to break down and remove build-up on the skin.
These acids may include glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and pyruvic acid.
For a less intensive version of chemical peels, you can try using chemical exfoliants to reduce the appearance of your scars. The acids in these exfoliants treat and resolve blemishes on the skin, just to a lesser degree than a chemical peel would.
Remember to consult with a professional before scheduling an appointment for a chemical peel to ensure that you are well suited for the procedure.
Dermabrasion is a skin resurfacing treatment that removes both the skin’s epidermis (top layer) and dermis (middle layer). During the procedure, a rapidly rotating device is used to sand the skin to encourage cell regeneration and so that new skin can grow back smoother, clearer, and more evenly toned than before.
Dermabrasion is known to work less effectively on deeper scars, though the full potential for treatment on your skin can be discussed with your dermatologist. Additionally, if performed incorrectly, you may be at risk for developing new scars.
If you would like to start with a less abrasive treatment, you can inquire about microdermabrasion. Microdermabrasion is a treatment that mirrors dermabrasion. It is simply performed on a smaller, more controlled scale.
There are a few different injection options that you can use to treat scarring.
Fillers using fat-based substances or collagen that can be used to treat sunken scars. The fillers are injected into the scar to plump up the skin and fill in the gaps. These fillers are not permanent and may require more fillers approximately six months after the initial injection.
It is also possible to receive medical injections from a physician to minimize the size and height of your scars and reduce any discomfort. This option is particularly popular for treating keloid and hypertrophic scars. Corticosteroid injections are a particularly popular option for reducing raised scars.
Also, in the same vein as injections is microneedling. Microneedling is a treatment in which needles puncture your skin with sterilized needles. The procedure aims for the skin to naturally fill in any gaps found in atrophic scars through the production of collagen. Initial effects of the procedure may include bruising or swelling but will reduce the appearance of your scarring with success.
Covering Them Up
While all of the aforementioned treatment options are effective for improving the appearance of your scars, they all take time to achieve maximum results.
Still, we understand that some men are in search of more immediate results. If you are anxious to cover your scars as they heal, you can use a concealer to help you out.
While cosmetic products like concealer are more typically associated with and used by women, they can be used by men as a tool to conceal their blemishes.
If you are looking to cover fine line scars and unwanted pigmentation, you can use a layering method to conceal the area. First, free the sebum area by dabbing a tissue, blotting paper, or cotton pad over your face.
Once your skin is moisture-free, dab some concealer over the scar until it blends in with the surrounding skin. Then, you can begin to layer. Repeat the application of concealer until the scar is no longer visible.
A similar method can be used to cover atrophic scars. Different from when you are concealing fine line scars, atrophic scars need moisture for coverage. Start by adding a moisturizer to your skin. Once primed and the moisture has been absorbed, use your finger to dab concealer over the scar. The heat emitted by your finger may actually contribute to the blending of your concealer into your skin.
Raised scars can be covered using a combination of both methods. Moisture can be good for priming the keloid or hypertrophic scar and preparing it for absorption. Because these scars are lifted, they will not be entirely concealed. Still, the discoloration can be hidden using the previously mentioned layering method with your concealer.
But while your body gets to work at healing, there is no reason why you can’t do your part to speed up the process and reduce the appearance of your scars.
The best news is that you have several options for minimizing your scars daily and long term. What you choose to do is entirely up to you.
Proper wound care: How to minimize a scar | AAD
Scar contractures, hypertrophic scars, and keloids | PubMed
Chemical Peel (Deep, Medium, Light) | PubMed