Tips On Facial Scars

acne_scarsScars on the face can be caused by multiple events in one’s life.  Common causes include acne (which are the most common, as seen in the picture on the left), surgery, trauma, and burns.

As on other parts of the body, scars can cause the surface of the skin to look uneven in both color and texture.  For these reasons, facial scars are difficult to conceal and can affect a person’s self-esteem.

Modern technologies have made facial scars easier to treat.  In most cases, scars on the face can be minimized and even diminished significantly enough to rejuvenate the complexion of that damaged area.

Depending on the particular type of scar and depth of damage below the surface, multiple methods of treatment can be used individually or in sequence to repair and reduce the effects of scarring:

1.)  Topical Treatment– Treat the Surface

cosmedical_peelMany times, scars on the face can be very superficial, especially in cases of mild teenage acne that were subject to scratching or “pimple popping”.  In these cases, facial peels can remove minor surface irregularities, resulting in smoother, softer and more even toned skin.

My favorite treatment for slightly irregular skin surfaces is the HydraFacial, performed by our aesthetician Denise Gidney.  This procedure gently smooths the epidermis while hydrating the deeper dermal layers of the skin, producing a plumping effect.

2.)  The Filler Fix– Pushing the Scar Up From the Inside

fillers_scarsFor deeper scars which result in a depression of the skin surface, dermal fillers can be an excellent choice.  Many types of acne scars and even surgical scars can be treated in this manner.

Fillers do not change the color of the scar, but can reduce the depth of scar which can become more and more of a problem as we all grow older.  Sometimes, a scar which was not a problem cosmetically in your youth can become more noticeable with the natural loss of surrounding collagen as one grows older.

As with all cases, I always say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  By that expression, I mean that I can frequently tell which type of treatment and/or which type of filler would be best in the individual case with a look and a photo.

3.)  Lasers– Technology Can Address the Deepest Issues

fraxel_closeupWhen scars are much deeper in the skin, stronger treatments are needed to reduce their appearance.  Ice-pick acne scars and traumatic scars (I have sadly had several patients who have scars from knives and other blunt trauma) require a deeper solution.

For the deepest scars, fractional skin resurfacing is the best solution in the form of Fraxel.  Literally, the laser drills holes in the skin to a depth selected by me to address the depth of the scar itself.  Over a series of treatment, the entire skin surface of the treated area will be rejuvenated with fresh new skin.

While the skin surface is improved dramatically, the remaining healthy collagen below the surface is stimulated to grow again and to push the scarred area up from below.  This combination of effects results in significant reduction of the scar appearance, both at superficial and deeper levels of the skin.


Similar to many other areas of medicine, treatments for scars, especially on the face, are developing and improving all the time.  I remain committed to learn these new techniques as they develop and are proven to benefit.  I will also bring these proven therapies to the central Maine area as soon as possible.

If you or anyone you know or love has facial scar issues that bother them, let them know that there are safe and affordable solutions available that do not involve surgery or significant downtime.  Call (207) 873-2158 to set a free consultation on this or any other skin issues.  I am here to answer questions and ultimately to help.

About Dr. John Burke

John Burke M.D. has practiced medicine for over 25 years, and is the founding partner of MidMaine Internal Medicine. He established Maine Laser Skin Care in 2004 after devoting years to learning the latest in laser and dermatologic technology. Dr. Burke has treated patients from all over the United States. He is one of Maine's busiest practitioners in laser treatments, and in the use of Botox for upper facial lines and excessive sweating.
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