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Cosmetically smoothing over visible facial scars

September 18, 2018

A novel cosmetic product, designed to fill small to moderate facial scars, has shown promise in covering such deformities in a small group of patients. Participants were generally more satisfied with their appearance after the treatment was applied and the researchers believe it could help improve psychological wellbeing for patients whose self-esteem is affected by their scars.

Patients with noticeable scarring around the jaws and face, called concavities, often experience emotional stress related to the way they look. Many find it difficult to accept their appearance and are reluctant to return to work. Facial prostheses are sometimes prescribed, but can be restrictive and hard to fit properly.

Researchers at Tohoku University used a commercially available cosmetic, designed to cover unevenness, which is based on a facial foundation but has additional 'thickening' ingredients. The material is oil based, not allergenic and can be worn for up to eight hours.

This study, funded by SHISEIDO CO., LTD., is a preliminary investigation and involved only 18 patients who had small to moderate deformities, including one who had undergone surgery to remove a tumour in the jaw area. Each received counselling for their appearance and then a test to match the colour of the cosmetic material to their skin. A professional make-up artist applied the material and taught the patient how to do it for themselves.

Satisfaction about appearance was measured using a scale of 1-100. Although all patients were happier after the application, those with scarring around the forehead and nose had a smaller change on the scale than those with deformities on the midface and chin. The researchers suspect this is because scars on the forehead and nose can be already camouflaged with hair or glasses.

The researchers note these initial results show promise in reducing visibility of small to moderate scars, but future studies should include a larger group of people, and analyse how treatment satisfaction changes based on defect areas, degree of visibility, age and gender.

Shigeto Koyama of the Tohoku University Hospital said: "Facial scarring affects the self-esteem of many people to varying degrees. We are pleased that the patients in this study were more satisfied with their appearance after the cosmetic treatment, and would like to further investigate if it could be a long-term solution for more people."
This study was made available online in March 2018 ahead of final publication in print in July 2018.

Tohoku University

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