Treatment for white scar on face?
November 13, 2011 9:23 AM   Subscribe

How to deal with white scar on my chin?

I have a 1"x1/8" scar along my chin from a bicycling accident ~7 years ago, involving gravel. Since I'm male, I've been able to keep it concealed by growing a beard over it, which was also a good because I didn't like shaving the area; the lack of sensation in the scar area, combined with my instinct to protect the wounded area, just made me squick when shaving. But I don't know if I want to keep a beard over it forever.

Now, even though sensation has come back to the area, so its not as bad shaving, the problem with having no beard there is that the scar kind of stands out. Its very white pale skin, and no hair grows from it. Even a hint of a 5 o'clock shadow increases the contrast even more.

Is there anything I can do? Ugly scars are a common problem, so people hawk all sorts of solutions, supported by all sorts of anecdotal evidence, but a lot of them don't seem to pan out when I try to find objective proof that they could help. Chemical peels might help some people, but all I can find reference to is that they lighten scars, the opposite of what I want. Is there anything even a dermatologist could do?
posted by Hither to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Plastic surgeons can do scar revision surgeries. It won't completely get rid of the scar, but it can make it smaller and less noticeable. I had a friend who had a large chin scar for many years of her childhood. It bothered her a lot, and she got scar revision surgery as soon as she turned 18. (Her parents didn't want her to have it.) You can still tell that there's a scar there, but it's much smaller. More importantly, she feels much more confident about it. It's kind of a drastic option, though.

The most important thing you can do, now that your scar won't be covered with a beard, is keep it well-covered with sunscreen. Scar tissue is more affected by sunlight than regular skin, and keeping the UV rays off of it will help keep it from becoming more noticeable.

If it were me, frankly, I'd just roll with it. Bike accidents make for decent stories. But to each his own.
posted by phunniemee at 9:30 AM on November 13, 2011

My sister has scars from getting chicken pox very late in life (19) combined with scarring easily. One of them is on her throat and could only be concealed by wearing polo-necks all year round. It certainly hasn't lessened her attractiveness if the guys I know she's turned down are anything to go by. She doesn't like it at all, but she's learned to just get on and ignore it. I'm not saying that's the only solution, but in this age of cosmetic cover-ups it's one many people wouldn't consider because fashion tells them it's a Bad Thing.
posted by fearnothing at 9:33 AM on November 13, 2011

I've had a scar on my palm since I was 5 (I touched a stove). As part of another treatment, my chiropractor did laser treatment on it, and then had me rub wheat germ oil on it 3x a day and take it orally. The scar diminished... and actually moved about a quarter inch lower. I stopped the treatment because I am lazy and was broke, but it definitely made a difference.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:47 AM on November 13, 2011

Best answer: I just wanted to add that I've seen people with a lot of scars, and they've very rarely made them less attractive. Scars are one of those things that your brain recognized and processes pretty automatically I think, so you mostly don't really notice them after the initial meeting.
posted by mercredi at 9:52 AM on November 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding sunscreen. But I wonder, since you've started shaving has anyone mentioned the scar? I have one a bit smaller than yours on my jaw from a car accident and most of the time I forget it's there; you might just be extra sensitive to its presence since having it exposed for the first time in years.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:53 AM on November 13, 2011

A chin scar works for Indiana Jones. Granted, your story isn't quite as good as his, but I bet it still works for you. And who says you have to tell the true story when someone asks about it?
posted by supercres at 10:02 AM on November 13, 2011 [4 favorites]

I have a friend with a similar facial scar, and he likes to tell people that he got it in a swordfight to the death. Knowing him, it's vaguely plausible.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:14 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: phunniemee: Being Zen about it is something I can do, but if there's some simple effective thing I could do, I'd feel silly not trying it. Its not that great of a story, I was going to a math final exam, not being chased by the Yakuza, or unicycling the Appalachian trail.

supercres: Thanks for pointing that out, its actually similar in size/shape/location to Harrison Ford's scar. And now I have another story for the credulous.
posted by Hither at 10:16 AM on November 13, 2011

My son had severe injuries to his face when he was a child, and we used something similar to this to help minimize the scarring. Not having a control group, I don't know how much they helped, but it is very surprising how little scarring he has for the extent of his injuries.

And in my objective and unbiased perception as his mommy, I can attest that he's a very handsome man today, and that the scars he does have (which sound similar to yours cosmetically) just add character.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:29 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Last year, my 19 year-old went over his handlebars and faceplanted on the asphalt, tearing up the left side of his face, biting through his upper lip, and ending up with gravel embedded in the tragus of his ear. His injuries were pretty impressive.

He now has a problem similar to yours - there are a couple of scars that stand out in gigantic contrast to the rest of his face - he's of Middle Eastern extraction, so his super white scars on his olive skin bug the hell out of him. So once his wounds were completely healed and it was determined that plastic surgery was not necessary, we started treating his scars with OTC silicone sheeting. (We used Neosporin Scar Solution, but there are a bunch of different brands.)

He spent 6 months wearing these sheets for 12 hours a day, and the scars became noticeably smaller. They didn't disappear altogether, but they're much thinner and harder to see unless you're really close. He tells everyone his bike got pissed at him and beat him up.
posted by MissySedai at 10:44 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

So no idea what your views are on male grooming products and male make-up but if you are willing to look into that that's what make up is for. To smooth out your skin tone and make it look even. It sounds as if one of your main concerns is how noticeably lighter the scar tissue is compared to your normal skin tone this may be something to explore.
posted by koahiatamadl at 10:47 AM on November 13, 2011

Best answer: I hang out with a lot of people who ride bikes and after a while you realize everyone's scarred up. I have a huge shiny pink and white patch on my shoulder and various dark spots of scarred road rash on every joint, my messenger boyfriend has a Harry Potter forehead scar, another messenger dude I know has the world's most obviously broken-several-times-over nose. Everyone has fucked up shins from pedal strikes.

It sucks to be self conscious about but I'm probably think you were badass and not find it unattractive.
posted by Juliet Banana at 11:04 AM on November 13, 2011

Facial scars give a man character. i'd own that scar instead of hiding it. You have nothing to be ashamed of.
posted by Renoroc at 11:08 AM on November 13, 2011

Vitamin E oil rubbed on it twice daily will make it smaller. Takes a long time, though; think months not weeks.
posted by Specklet at 11:38 AM on November 13, 2011

From Ms. Vegetable- I've had good luck with mederma in terms of getting old scars to fade.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 11:51 AM on November 13, 2011

The silicone stuff noted above works well I've used it.
posted by fshgrl at 11:54 AM on November 13, 2011

I've had lot of success using mederma scar treatment. It's a gel you apply a few times a day so no one even knows your using it, which is a plus. It really evened out the skin tone around my scar.
posted by smokingmonkey at 12:42 PM on November 13, 2011

"you should wear with pride the scars on your skin. They remind of the people and places you've been. "

I also took an elbow playing basketball and split open a similar size wound across my eyebrow. I was conscience of it for quite a while now i rarely notice it.
posted by pianomover at 1:51 PM on November 13, 2011

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