ARTICLE | Women's Health | July/August 2015
HOW TO COVER UP ANY TYPE OF SCAR; And how to get rid of them for good.
Some wear their marks as a badge of honor (mastered skateboarding!); others aren't quite so fond (we get it). For those in the second camp, new advances help make scars vanish for the night—or for good.
COVER IT: Choose an opaque concealer specifically designed for scars, such as Dermablend Quick-Fix Concealer ($28, dermablend.com). The concentrated pigments mean you don't have to layer on a ton of it, says makeup artist Melissa Street. Dab on a skin-tone shade with a small synthetic concealer brush, which will "get in the hard-to-reach crevices," says Street.
REMOVE IT: While steroid injections used to be popular for keloids, they often cause hypopigmentation on dark skin. Today, "I cut off most of the scar, then use a fractional ablative laser," says dermatologist Jill Waibel, M.D., owner of the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute. This creates a small wound that the body then repairs like normal skin; it also removes overgrowth. It usually costs less than $1,000 (often covered by insurance) and takes 10 minutes.
COVER IT: A cream formula can help smooth over the bumpy texture; pick a greenish tint to neutralize red tones. Once you've applied with a concealer brush, layer on a second cream that matches your skin color. Physicians Formula Concealer Twins 2-in-1 Correct & Cover Cream Concealer($8, physiciansformula.com) comes with both parts.
REMOVE IT: Depending on the scar's thickness, you'll need two to seven injections of a corticosteroid like Kenalog (around $100 to $300 each, sometimes covered by insurance). Then wear silicone gel sheets (like ScarAway, $22, cvs.com) for eight to 12 weeks (new scars) or three to six months (old ones); they apply light pressure to prevent collagen from building back up. Your scar will still be visible but much less noticeable.
COVER IT: In the past, hiding recessed marks used to be nearly impossible. But Dermaflage ($60, dermaflage.com) has a skin-tone-hued silicone putty kit that fills in the recesses beautifully, says Street. It comes with a primer (that helps it adhere) and a texture pad (that helps mimic the surface of natural skin). It dries in a minute and lasts up to 36 hours.
REMOVE IT: A fractional ablative laser (about $1,000 per session) will "vaporize the scar tissue," says Waibel. Then an injection of Sculptra, a polylactic acid filler (about $400), "pops those divots right up." While the effects of Sculptra are temporary (two years, tops), it "stimulates the growth of collagen," which is permanent. Generally, two to five combo treatments are needed (these aren't covered by insurance).
COVER IT: Scar specialist Roy Geronemus, M.D., director of the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York, recommends Microskin, a waterproof liquid that can be customized to precisely match your skin tone ($165 for the starter kit, microskincenter.com; this includes a 2-oz color blend, sponge, powder, and removal serum). It can stay on for several days, even through sweat and showers. The kit lasts approximately a month, depending on the size of your scar.
REMOVE IT: Physical therapy helps with range of motion, while steroid injections (around $100 to $300) and fractional ablative lasers ($250 to $1,500) help break up excessive collagen. These are often used in combo with Z-plasty, during which a Z-shaped incision at the site helps remove the scarred skin and muscle tension. (All four treatments are sometimes covered by insurance.) But know this: These serious scars rarely disappear completely.
Caitlin M. Keirnan (July 30, 2015). Women's Health. In July/August 2015 (Ed.), Scar Tactics. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/how-to-cover-up-scars