not a professional. just crazy.

Help Me, Rio: I Burned My Forehead With a Curling Iron!

Photo: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

I’m no stranger to beauty mishaps — I once ripped half of my eyelashes out with a drugstore lash curler. After such an incident, it’s easy to take to the internet to look for advice. The trouble is, there is simply too much out there. Which is why, when I have a beauty dilemma, I prefer to go to trusted friends — people who’ve been there before, know their stuff, and can give me helpful, tailored advice. I’d like to be that friend for you, so I created the email Send me your strange, specific beauty problems, and I’ll respond with tips, tricks, and remedies to get you through your predicament.

Last Friday, I burned my forehead (and my hand, I might add) using a curling iron. To be honest, I never really know what I’m doing when I use it, but I like the look of beach waves. The first night it burned like a bitch, but looked okay — just slightly red — so after icing it for a while, I could conceal it with makeup pretty easily. The next day, however, it started to blister like crazy and then POPPED. By Sunday, it had turned into a really gnarly scab. I’ve been applying Neosporin so that it doesn’t get infected, but how do I get rid of the current scab as fast as possible while ensuring that it won’t leave behind a wretched scar? I should also mention, I’m hosting an event in a few days so it would be great if it looked a little better beforehand. —Attacked by a Curling Iron

Hello, ABACI. Your natural inclination right now might be to pick the scab, or to dry it out so it falls off faster and is easier to cover up for your event. I’m here to tell you right now: Do not pick the scab and do not dry it out. In fact, you want to give scabs as much moisture as humanly possible — that’s the key to getting them to heal quickly, and without leaving behind a scar. You’re going to want to avoid exfoliating the area altogether for the next four or five days (if it’s a super-fresh scab, exfoliating is just going to irritate the area), and instead introduce a whole bunch of extra soothing, calming, and moisturizing products into your routine. Then, once the scab falls off, you’ll want to use some brightening products to help treat any scars that form. After that, there are a couple other things you can use to conceal any lingering scars — and make sure this never happens again!

For healing the scab

Snail mucin does an exceptional job of deeply moisturizing the skin while speeding up cell turnover to promote quicker healing, and you really see it flex its powers when you’re treating a scab. Throw this on after washing your face with a gentle cleanser (like Dr. Loretta Gentle Hydrating Cleanser) every morning and evening for about a week — but you don’t have to stop using it once your scab is gone, because it’s all-around great for your skin.

My friend and beauty guru Alexis Page taught me about this mind-blowing product, which is found often in French first aid kits. It’s a rich emulsion cream that traps moisture in your skin while also protecting it from outside stressors — and is incredible when it comes to healing open wounds and cuts or soothing burns and rashes. Put this right on top of the snail mucin: the combination is truly *chef’s kiss* for burns. It’s expensive, but it comes in a giant tube and a little goes a long way. Definitely worth having in the house in case of emergencies, at least in my opinion.

Aloe is a tried-and-true savior for burns: It soothes the skin while also locking in hydration to ensure that the affected area stays nice and moisturized. These sheet masks are great to have in your cabinet in general (they’re so nice and cooling on hot summer days), but they’re especially perfect when you have, well, a burn on your face! Which you do. Use these once before the scab falls off, and then once before your event, so that your skin looks hydrated and soothed.

For treating the scar

After the scab falls off (again, on it’s own — do not pick, you will regret it), there will be a reddish mark in its place. Which means it’s time to incorporate some brightening ingredients into the mix. A gentle AHA treatment (AHAs treat the surface of the skin, whereas BHAs deal with deeper issues like oil production) is a good place to start. Use this twice a week, right after cleansing in your evening routine. It’s mild, but will exfoliate and gently remove any flaky, dry bits that will look bad under makeup.

Vitamin C is a workhorse when it comes to pigmentation issues. For your predicament, you want something with a lower vitamin C percentage — anything higher than about 15 percent will be too intense for your damaged skin. This, from Soko Glam, is the perfect choice — it’ll help lift out some of that pigment and brighten the skin in the affected area. Use it every day after cleansing in the morning. And no need to stop once everything has healed! This is generally a great brightening product to have in your skin-care arsenal.

When you’re dealing with any kind of scarring, your best friend is going to be your sunscreen. Proper SPF will ensure that the mark won’t get any darker than it already is. Basically, there’s no point in using the above treatments if you aren’t diligently applying sunscreen on top. This is my holy-grail (and budget-friendly!) sunscreen from Purito. Its incredibly hydrating formula is perfect for wintertime.

For coverage

On the day of the event, I would go for a concealer that has enough coverage to knock out redness, and also has a dewy finish so it doesn’t look flaky. I suggest my beloved Shape Tape concealer from Tarte. Of course, you should put as little makeup on the scab or scar as possible so that the wound can properly heal. But a touch of concealer on the day of your event shouldn’t hurt.

For avoiding this in the future

Before I let you go: They might look ridiculous, but I find these heat-resistant gloves are pretty essential when it comes to handling hot tools. They allow me to really bend and twist my curler in the ways I want to without worrying about burning my hands. I also like holding my hand in between my curler and hair with these gloves on, to protect my forehead from burns like yours. If only you had them that fateful Friday!

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

Help Me, Rio: I Burned My Forehead With a Curling Iron!