A new way of smoothing over visible facial scars – based on make-up – has been developed by scientists in Japan.
Researchers say the novel cosmetic product, designed to fill small to moderate facial scars, has shown promise in covering such deformities in a small group of patients.
The participants were generally more satisfied with their appearance after the treatment was applied, and the researchers believe it could help improve psychological well-being 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.
Now 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.
The study was 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.
Shigeto Koyama, of 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.”
Satisfaction about appearance was measured using a scale of one to 100.
Although all the 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 mid-face and chin.
The researchers suspect that is because scars on the forehead and nose can be already camouflaged with hair or glasses.
They said 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.