You’ve had an acne breakout, you’ve been picking at your skin, and now you want to know how to get rid of scabs on your face. Or maybe it wasn’t acne…perhaps it’s a rash, or a scrape, or a hickey that went wrong. Regardless, if you’ve found your way here, you’ve most likely had or currently have scabs on your face that you want or need to remove. A scab is sort of a provisional artificial skin that your body creates to protect an open wound from bacterial infection; basically, the biological equivalent of putting a cover over a swimming pool to keep leaves and bird droppings out. “Open wound” might make you think of being sliced neck to navel like a frog in biology class, but anything that makes you bleed is considered an open wound, popped zits included.
If you have scabs on your face, there are a few things you should do, and some other things you shouldn’t do. Here are the things you should do:
- Keep it clean. Gently cleanse the area every day with warm water and soap, and use some kind of anti-bacterial or anti-septic over-the-counter salve (such as Neosporin) or facial cleanser on the scabs to ensure infection does not take root.
- Inspect the affected places for signs of infection (oozing, changing in size or color, warm to the touch, and painful). This is unlikely to occur from acne, but it’s best to make sure anyway.
- Give your body time to heal. It might take up to a couple of weeks for facial scabs to go away, and it may even take up to six months for the scars left behind by healed scabs to disappear (if the scars left even vanish at all), but they will mend. Time is as essential as cleanliness.
- Check scabs for signs of healing. Sometimes, a scab may linger long after the wound has healed, and it’s safe to scratch the scab off. Don’t do this for at least ten days, just to be on the safe side. If you do, be sure to moisten the scabs with warm water so they’re easier to remove.
And here are a few things you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t pick the scabs. Not at first anyway. The urge might be insufferable, but try your best not to scratch at the wounds. Doing so can tear the skin back open and possibly introduce bacteria into the area. This will not only encourage infection and scarring, but prolong the healing process. Use an anti-itching ointment if you can’t resist the hankering to dig your skin to the bone.
- Don’t use make-up to hide scabs on your face. The scab will need to breathe a little to heal, and caking cosmetic cover-up onto the affected spot will cut off air flow and promote moisture. And said dampness will soften the scab and make it more liable to be rubbed off. That being said, don’t bandage the scabs either, for the same reason.
- Don’t wipe your face after washing it. Instead, just lightly pat it dry with a towel. The reasoning behind this is pulling a towel across your face while the scabs are still wet and weakened might split the skin open.
A vast majority of the time, facial scabs are the result of acne. It’s always advised to leave inflamed zits alone, but when you have a blemish the size of a marble on your face, you’re going to want to pop it because that scab is more bearable to look at than a colossal boil. You might just have one little scab, or you might have them all over your face – regardless of frequency, they are often just as discomforting as the acne itself that causes them.
If all else fails and you’ve got spots a Dalmatian would envy, speak to a dermatologist. They will be able to provide advice, prescription medications, or information on chemical peels.