We all know that scars look and feel different from the skin they have replaced, but they also react differently to the sun. Now that Summer is here and we are trying to spend at least part of the day outside, extra care should be taken to avoid direct sunlight on all scars and particularly those that are still actively healing (less than 2 years old).
Keep your scars covered with clothing or high factor sunscreen if they’re within this two – year time scale. They will still be healing and changing. While the idea of getting a tan to hide your scars sounds good, it’s also impractical. Melanin is what gives your skin a tanned look, but scars produce it in uneven patches. Too much melanin on the upper layers of skin creates hyper-pigmentation. This means that the scarred area develops a red or even purple appearance. This coloration doesn’t fade easily and can make scars more noticeable. Even old scars need more protection from the sun as the new skin tends to be thinner and burn easier.
Scars heal faster when the skin is clean, infection free and well hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids during the summer to replace water lost through sweat. Spending lots of time in the pool or sea will not hydrate your skin or protect you from the sun. It can have the opposite effect as the chlorine or salt content of the water can dry your skin out more quickly. Shower after swimming to remove these chemicals then apply a good quality moisturiser.
A healthy diet with lots of protein, fresh fruit and vegetables will provide the skin with the vitamins and minerals that it needs to re-build itself. This works better that trying to rub vitamins into the skin through creams and oils. Some lotions can be too strong for the new skin and cause irritation whilst others are just a marketing gimmick. Let your body heal itself, it’s what it does best.
If you have any questions about how I may be able to help, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a no-obligation chat.