Scars are pesky things. While they fade over time, they’re annoyingly permanent, so the only thing you can really do is learn how to cover them. And while scars come in all shapes and sizes, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all cover-up solution for scars either. Depending on whether your scars are flat, red, dark, post-acne pigmentation scars, or raised or indented marks, you’ll need to vary your camouflage approach to suit.
I suffer with acne scarring, it’s red and angry, and while it fades over time, I have learned how to cover it. My go-to product is Vichy Dermablend Concealer Stick ($28), which conceals scars yet leaves your skin looking, well, like skin and not like skin that’s been caked in product. With that in mind, I called on Claire Ray, Vichy Dermablend’s expert.
Meet the Expert
Claire Ray is Vichy's Dermablend makeup artist ambassador. She has worked in the beauty industry for two decades and most recently, created a series of video tutorials on Vichy's Dermablend foundation.
Keep scrolling for her step-by-step guide to covering every type of scar quickly and easily.
Types of Scars
Before we tackle the fine art of covering scars, it’s worth knowing the different types of scars that exist.
Flat, pale scars are often the result of a wound healing; these can occur where you’ve had stitches. With acne scarring, you can suffer with pigmentation (red or brown spots), and if you’ve suffered with severe acne, you may be dealing with pitted or sunken patches on the skin, known as ice-pick scars. In some cases, your scar may be raised, these are known as keloid and hypertrophic scars. Both occur when your body produces too much collagen during the healing process, but keloid scars are usually larger and more troublesome.
“When covering a pigmented acne scar, you need to take a different approach to concealing the area compared to covering indents in the skin,” says Ray. “With indents, they tend to be a few shades lighter or darker than the natural skin tone, and also tend to be smoother. The aim is to even out the skin tone and slightly plump out the indents.
“Acne scars tend to be darker. The aim is to neutralize the color of the scar to match the rest of the skin, and then to apply setting powder to the area to ensure it won’t slide off,” adds Ray.
First things first, you need to prep your skin ready for the cover-up. “The main aim is, of course, to cover your scar, but you also need to prep to ensure the concealer stays in place all day,” says Ray. “With acne or acne scarring, if your skin tends to be oily/combination, you need to ensure the skin is free from any moisture. Use an oil-free moisturizer like Estée Lauder Advanced Time Zone Creme Moisturising Oil Free Gel ($72) or oil-free primer like Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light ($34), and dab a tissue over any areas that may look shiny to give you a matte base to work on."
“When it comes to indented scars, you can use a moisturizing primer or face cream, as this will help give you a smooth flawless application,” suggests Ray. In this case, I would recommend looking for a smoothing, filling primer like Benefit the POREfessional ($32).
When it comes to covering up a scar, choose products with a creamy texture as they tend to work best. These allow you to build coverage and also don’t dry too quickly, giving you plenty of time to blend and achieve a flawless finish.
Steps for Covering Indents in Skin
- Apply a moisturizer or primer to soften the skin, it also helps the concealer go on more easily. Remember, the aim of covering indents is to even out your skin tone and slightly plump the indent with foundation or concealer to give the illusion of smooth, flawless skin.
- Using a foundation brush, apply foundation like Vichy Dermablend Corrective Foundation ($28) to the face using light-handed brush strokes. Using your finger, dab the concealer over the indent. The heat of your fingers helps blend the concealer into the skin and gives a lighter application.
- Using a brush about the size of a blusher brush, dust translucent powder over the whole face.
Steps for Covering Acne Scars and Pigmentation
- Make sure the area you’re covering is free from moisture or sebum by dabbing tissue over the face.
- I like to lightly dust the scar area with a very fine layer of powder to really to ensure the area is shine-free.
- The scar area will require a layering method of application. So using a small concealer brush for precise application, dab the concealer over the scar until the color matches the rest of your skin tone. This may take a couple of layers. Keep the layers thin, and use a very delicate dabbing motion.
- When the scar is covered, gently dab a tissue over the area to remove any moisture (you don’t want to lift the product you just applied) and with a small feathered brush, dust over the area with translucent powder to set the concealer. This will make it both sweat- and waterproof.
Covering Keloid Scars
To cover raised keloid scars, use the same layering method that you use to cover acne scars. This method can be used to cover any scars on the body as well, even tattoos if you want to conceal them at any time. Remember to set your foundation/concealer with translucent powder to ensure longevity.