Updated 12/1/17. With the hair trend of having soft, beachy waves, women are using curling irons to achieve this look. Sometimes the use of a curling iron leads to accidental burns and I’m often asked, “How do I heal a curling iron burn?” and “How do I fade and lighten a curling iron scar?” Healing a burn and fading a scar require two different treatments.
How to heal a curling iron burn
The less you do to a curling iron burn, the better, but keeping it moist and protected with an antibacterial ointment such as Neosporin followed by a band-aid or sterile, lint-free gauze can aid in the healing process. Many people will ask about applying tea tree oil, aloe vera gel or lavender oil to curling iron burns, but some of these may actually be an irritant to oozing and inflamed skin. My experience tells me the less you mess with it, the quicker it will heal. The human body is truly amazing and whenever there is an injury (and in this case, a burn) your body will go into overdrive to heal it. (Note: The tooth is the only part of the human body that can’t repair itself.)
Once the skin has closed and the crusty scab is completely gone (be sure not to pick!) and you’re left with a dark, discolored scar then you’ll treat the scar differently.
How to get rid of burn scars from a curling iron
Let’s talk about how to lighten and fade burn scars once they have fully healed and you’re left with a discolored mark.
A curling iron burn (depending on severity) usually lasts 7-14 days, but the red or dark burn scar can linger for weeks—or even months.
Red or dark burn scars are caused from trauma to the skin cells. These scars should be treated the same way a blemish scar is treated. Like blemish scars, burn scars will fade with time, but with proper treatment, you can expedite the healing process considerably by doing these three things.
- Use a gentle acid exfoliating product. Acid exfoliators contain ingredients like glycolic and lactic acid that work deep within the skin to dissolve and digest the damaged cells caused by the curling iron burn and stimulate new and healthy cell growth. Simply put, they get out the old and encourage the new to create more even-toned skin. As mentioned, discoloration from a burn can be treated just like discoloration leftover from a blemish. Post-Breakout Fading Gel is a gentle exfoliant for removing pigmented cells.
- Use a natural skin lightener. Above and beyond exfoliating the skin regularly, you’ll want to use skin brightening ingredients to help fade the appearance of a burn scar. Ingredients like vitamin C (the best kind of vitamin C for fading pigment is magnesium ascorbyl phosphate which can be found in Vitamin C&E Treatment), arbutin, licorice extract and white tea extract. These are also helpful for brown spots from sun damage.
- Use sunscreen faithfully. When your skin is exposed to UV daylight (in spring, summer, fall and winter), this keeps pigment cells awake and active and prevents a scar from fading as easily. Wearing sunscreen protects damaged cells so they can properly heal and recover so your skin can get even-toned much faster.
Most importantly, be patient. Burns can take a few months to fade (even more for deeper skin tones) but follow my expert advice and the fading process will go much more quickly. Like this post? I have over 1000 of them here.
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Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”