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  5. How To Treat And Prevent Scabs On Your Face?

Did you just spot a scab on your face during your daily skincare routine? While scabs are a part of the natural healing process, they are annoying, especially if they are on your face.

Read this article to know what causes scabs, how to prevent scabbing and remedies for a scab in case you have one.

What Are Scabs And How Are They Formed?

Scabs are a hardened layer of dead skin cells formed while your skin is healing from some kind of trauma. They are usually orangish or brownish in colour depending on how old or how deep the injury is. When there is a cut or any other injury on your skin, special blood cells called platelets come together to form a clot. [1] This clot has 2 ways of functioning:

a. It plugs the opening in your skin which eventually stops the bleeding.

b. It prevents germs and other external irritants from entering the wound.

There is actually a lot going underneath a scab. Your body produces collagen to repair the connective tissues damaged by the injury. [2] New skin cells are being formed, damaged blood vessels are repaired, and WBCs (white blood cells) migrate to the area beneath the scab.

Some of the WBCs kill the germs that might have already entered through the broken skin. Other WBCs clear up the dead skin cells or other blood cells, so that the new skin layer may grow uninterrupted.

wound healing process

What Causes Scabs On The Skin Of Your Face?

The skin on your face is very delicate. Any lesion, cut or burn can affect your facial skin greatly and lead to the formation of scabs. Listed below are a few common reasons for scabs forming on your face.

  • Nicks and cuts
  • Popped pimples
  • Burns
  • Excessive dehydration of the skin
  • Bacterial infection such as impetigo [3]
  • Viral infections such as cold sore, chicken pox, etc.
  • Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis,etc.
  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, pemphigus, etc. [4]
  • Insect bites and allergies
  • Harsh skin care products or procedures
  • Surgical procedures
  • Laser burns
  • Certain form of skin cancers can also cause scab like appearance

How To Treat A Scab On Your Face?

Not only do scabs blemish your face, they may be itchy or even painful sometimes. Even though a scab will take its own time to disappear, here are a few things you can do to help speed up the healing process.

1. Keep Your Hands Away

You should resist the urge to scratch or pick at a scab at all costs. If you pick at the scab, the layer of newly formed cells will be disrupted. This will not only slow down the recovery process but increase the chances of infection and scarring in the long run.

2. Moisturise

The skin around the scab tends to get dried and shrivelled up, especially as the scab gets older. Keeping the area around the scab moisturised will prevent irritation and also help in healing the skin. If you have oily or pimple prone skin, opt for a light, non-greasy moisturiser.

You can take SkinKraft’s SkinID quiz to know your skin better and receive products customised specifically for your skin concerns.

3. Hot And Cold Compress

You can use a hot towel over your scab to help fasten the wound healing process. A warm compress will stimulate blood flow to the affected area, which in turn will ensure faster skin rejuvenation.

A cold compress over the scab will help reduce swelling and also mitigate itchiness. You can wrap an ice cube in a clean face towel and rub it around the scab for a few minutes to get relief from pain and irritation.

4. Aloe Vera Gel

Using aloe vera gel on your scabs will not only moisturise it, but also minimise the chances of scarring. For best results, cut open a fresh aloe vera stem and apply the gel directly on your wounds. If you don’t have access to fresh aloe vera gel, you can also use products containing aloe vera gel.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

Dilute apple cider vinegar (acv) in a small cup of water, and dab it over the scabs using a cotton ball. Do not apply this on open wounds as it may sting. ACV will help clear up the dead cells, reduce redness and also fight off the infections if any.

6. Papaya Mask

Mash a few pieces of ripe papaya and add a few drops of lemon juice to it. Alternatively, you can use papaya juice also. Apply this mask on your face and let it sit for a few minutes. Wash it off with cold water once it dries up a little bit. This mask will make your skin supple and remove blemishes. For best results use it daily for one week.

woman applying a healing cream to acne on her face

Tips For Prevention Of Formation Of Scabs On Face

Scabs are a part of the natural wound healing process and sometimes they are unavoidable. There are few precautions you may take to help prevent the formation of a scab and risks of future scarring on your face.

1. Treat Underlying Conditions

You must have heard of the phrase, prevention is better than cure. Certain conditions such as acne, cold sores, infections, etc. if treated properly at an early stage can get cured before it gets worse and leads to the formation of scabs.

2. Protect Your Face

You should keep the wounded area hydrated as much as possible. Use a high SPF sunscreen, hats with visors or an umbrella when you step out during the day.

3. Cover It Up

Cover up the injured area with an antiseptic patch or cotton bandage to protect it from the external elements. This will help to heal the wound faster and minimise damage to the skin.

How Long Does A Scab Take To Heal?

If not disturbed otherwise, the scab will fall off by itself once the new skin layer is formed completely. This can take between a few days to a week depending upon the rate of recovery from the injury. If the wound is deep it will take longer to heal and the scab will stay on longer.

Also, if you accidentally pull out the scab, the newly formed skin underneath, which is still delicate will be exposed to the environment. This may delay healing and even lead to infections.

Do Scabs Leave Scars?

Whether a scab will leave a scar or not depends largely on the extent of injury caused to the skin. If there is a deep cut underneath the scab, the new skin formed might not be in an even layer causing a scar or blemish. The skin underneath a scab will appear light pink or light brownish in colour.

Picking at the scabs repeatedly, especially on your face, is a sure shot way to get scars that refuse to disappear. So you should avoid touching the scabs on your face at all times during recovery.

Keeping the wounded area clean and applying petroleum jelly can prevent scarring to a great extent in case of minor wounds. [5]

Wrapping Up

Scabs are a part of your body’s natural wound healing process. Scabs cannot be avoided altogether in some cases. But treating them well will ensure faster wound recovery and minimise the chances of scarring. You should take special care of the scabs on your face as your facial skin is more delicate and prone to scarring than the rest of your body. If your scab refuses to heal even after taking good care of it, you should consult a healthcare professional.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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