“Wearing your scars,” whether they’re physical or emotional, is something we admire as a symbol of resilience and self-acceptance. There’s nothing shameful about having a scar, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with wanting to apply makeup over them.
Whether you want to hide a healing scar temporarily or add scar coverage to your daily routine, knowing how to do it effectively is key to a natural-looking result.
What Actually Is a Scar?
A scar is a visible mark that sometimes occurs after an injury has healed. When skin is damaged, the body’s natural response is to rebuild and replace the tissue lost. When that damage is deep enough into the dermis layer of skin, the body produces lots of collagen to quickly repair the area. Depending on the injury and how it heals, this can leave a visible scar.
There are ways to encourage faster healing and help reduce the scar’s appearance, such as with specialized scar products and skincare. Some scars, however, will remain visible without makeup.
Common Types of Scars
The look and feel of a scar can vary depending on what caused it, how severe the damage was, and how well the area was able to heal.
Common types of scars include:
- Hypertrophic scars: Thick, raised, red scars caused by excess collagen production at the healing edges. These may get flatter and wider over time.
- Keloid scars: Very raised red or purplish scars caused by excess collagen production that continues throughout healing. They can be itchy and painful, and don’t flatten as much over time.
- Contracture scars: Tight, cinched-looking scars formed when edges constrict to seal a wound. This is the kind of scarring usually left by severe burns.
- Atrophic scars: The kinds of sunken, pitted scars (“pockmarks”) seen with things like chicken pox or severe acne.
The Challenges of Working With Scar Tissue
Much of the difficulty of covering scars with makeup comes down to one key feature: texture. Makeup products are usually formulated for use on healthy skin. Scar tissue that’s extremely dry and dehydrated can make foundation look patchy, while areas of smooth, shiny scarring may make it hard for makeup to adhere at all. Good scar coverage is about addressing these issues head-on, not just piling makeup on top of them.
How to Correct and Conceal Your Scars
Follow these straightforward pro MUA tips to hide scars of various shapes, sizes, and colors.
Prepare Your Skin
Start with a three-step prep:
- Wash and gently exfoliate your face, including the area of the scar. This will help remove dead, dry skin and create a soft, smooth surface. Skip the exfoliation if the area isn’t quite done healing.
- Apply any serums or moisturizers and let them absorb. If you’re using any special scar treatment products (Mederma, Retin-A), apply them as directed.
- When your face is dry, apply a scar-appropriate primer. For shiny scarring, choose a mattifying primer. If the texture is uneven or pitted, choose a primer formulated to fill pores and lines. The goal is to create a smooth, matte surface for the makeup to adhere to.
If your scar is extremely discolored, the contrast can make it easier to spot through makeup. Color correction helps you neutralize the scar without going heavier on coverage. Apply a color-correcting product in a shade opposite the scar’s color on the color wheel. If the scar is red or pink, apply a green corrector. If it’s purplish, use something with more yellow.
Concealer can be applied alone or on top of color correction to cover the area of the scar. You’ll want to choose something with a heavier coverage, such as a concealer made specifically for scars or tattoos. Make sure it matches your skin tone so it blends in easily.
For quick spot coverage, apply concealer over scarring and discoloration, then gently blend out the edges. This is best for small scars, as large concealer spots can stand out on bare skin.
If your scars are light or you just prefer a single layer of makeup, you can skip concealer and apply a medium to heavy coverage foundation. This is helpful for covering larger areas and older, more faded scars. If you plan to wear both foundation and concealer, it’s a good idea to do foundation first so that you don’t accidentally buff or blend away the coverage.
If you’ll only be spot concealing or wearing makeup briefly, a light application of powder should be enough to set your work. If you’ll be wearing it for a long time, make sure to finish with a setting spray to seal it in and help keep the scar coverage in place.
Find Professional Quality Makeup and Tools at Scott Barnes
Whether you’re concealing a scar for a photoshoot or practicing your makeup artist skills, you can get pro-level beauty from Scott Barnes. Find more helpful makeup tips and start building your own makeup kit at Scott Barnes today.