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Deformed skin due to coal tar. How do I accelerate the healing process near the nose?

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Internal Medicine Specialist
Practicing since : 1975
Answered : 269 Questions
Doc. I would like to chronologically describe the events that have transpired over the last 9 years leading to this problem.
When I was in my high school I had an acute acne problem, to surmount the disease I was recommended a coal tar based cream. I applied the cream liberally and copiously for the next 4-5 months. The cream had a peculiar tendency that it used to very hard when left to dry over the skin and used to put a lot of pressure on my face to extent that I was unable to move my facial muscles for the time it was applied. Once the acne subsided I discontinued the cream, but I noticed a strange deformation/change in my facail structure. Very soon (in one year's time of application of cream) my facial structure was changed so much so that people familiar to me: close friends, relatives etc. whom i have met after a hiatus of 6 months' time refused to recognize me, according to everyone without exception I had changed a lot in those 6 months. Though I had very few photos of my recent past I tried to compare 1 year back me with present me and noted following observations: eyes had sunken in, nose had protruded out, lips swollen, forehead swollen out, chin dropped down and the area from temple to cheeks had become remarkably swollen. Meanwhile the same time another development took place which continues till date: the area where the nostrils meets the face there was a growth of dead skin and the covering that you typically see during healing of a wound, I have consulted a lot of doctors to get rid of this outgrowth but to no avail. There is another phenomena that continues till date: there is a continuous pull up of facial muscles from bottom of my face(jaw area) and near temple area towards the nostril area where there is 'wound healing type outgrowth'. This continuous pull up muscles happens day in and day out 24X7, sometimes with less intensity and sometimes with more intensity. In the initial days when the intensity of the pull was of very very high I could feel a slight but sure change in the facial structure with eyes filling in, chin moving up etc, basically what seemed like a facial restructuring. This phenomena is very very disturbing for my concentration while studying and my concentration span has decreased drastically because of this movement.

I hypothesize my problem due to following: Due to the application of the coal tar cream my face has become completely deformed almost instantaneously( span of 4-5 months) after discontinuing the cream my face tried to gain it's original structure by pulling up the muscles from the nostril area and by healing the wound there, but has been largely unsuccessful in doing so and continues to try till date.( though the intensity of pull was very very high in the initial 1 year it has gradually faded to a constant value over the years).

Why I need to fix the problem:
1. This problem i.e of dead skin and 'wound healing type outgrowth' continues till date for the last 9 years, it looks very ugly and embarrassing, though I have brushed it aside as an allergic reaction till now.
2. The continuous muscle pull over for last 9 years from the jaw and temple area towards nose area is a real concentration breaker and is making it more and more tough for me to concentrate on anything.
3. The damage to my facial structure leads to people I XXXXXXX after some time totally not recognizing me, which is very embarrassing and a self confidence dampener.

What Needs to be fixed: My facial structure to it's original form

How to fix:
By accelerating the healing process near the nose etc ????

I have undergone some medications over the years to surmount the Problems 1 & 2 mentioned above but to no avail. The doctors over time have concluded that I have no neurological or psychiatric problems and my blood test reports are completely ok. Though I have not described my problem to any of the doctors in such length and have just stated the problem without the background.

Thanks for the help
Posted Sun, 6 May 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Geeta Sundar 1 hour later

Thanks for posting your query.

Yes, coal tar can cause drying up of underlying skin with loss of elasticity and a feeling of being stretched out.

The problem of dead skin near the nostrils can be solved by laser treatment.

Regarding rest of the face, you can drink a lot of water and go in for re-hydrating treatment that will restore your facial elasticity.

Additionally there are facial fillers available with good skin specialists that can correct local unevenness.

I would suggest you to consult a good cosmetologist in your area. I am sure he/she will be able to help you.

I hope, I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Deformed skin due to coal tar. How do I accelerate the healing process near the nose? 22 hours later
Thank you for your insight.
Yes i face a lot of drying/tightening up of skin, especially after face wash the skin is so tightened that it becomes difficult for me to even talk properly.
Yes the elasticity is lost because whenever someone punches/slaps me in the face in takes a lot of time for that local area to regain shape.
Regarding water, I generally drink 3-4 liters of water in a day.

I have been to some skin specialists but after i tell them about the muscle pull over problem they all invariably refer to me to neuro specialists who always clear me off as perfectly ok and then the skin specialist refers me to psychiatrist who again clears me and so on; the problem remains as is and I end up eating lot of medicines.

I would be very kind of you if you can tell me the foll.:
1. Which branch of medicine should i pursue.
2. In your knowledge the hospitals/practitioners in the country which are good in this field
3. As you know the problem can be due to a lot of reasons, can you tell me in medical parlance that I should say to make the doctors understand what i am trying to say.

Thank you for the help
Answered by Dr. Geeta Sundar 1 hour later

Thanks for writing back.

From the history you have given, I would suggest you go to a good cosmetic dermatologist in your city and request him to solve both problems in the manner I have already outlined.

Tell them it all started after coal-tar treatment for acne, but do not dwell too much on words like 'tightening', 'deformity', and do not appear overly anxious.

Medicines can be prescribed only after physical examination. It would be unethical and inappropriate to prescribe you scheduled drugs without doing a proper examination.

Hope this answers your query satisfactorily. If so, please accept my answer.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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