Summer and Scars

It’s a great time to be out and about in summer—after all, this is the season so many of us look forward to all year. It’s great to feel that warm sun on your body as you attend a barbecue or hit the beach. But the same sun that makes you feel warm and vibrant is the same one that can give you skin cancer, dry out your skin or cause premature wrinkles.

We will discuss how to protect your skin from those harmful UV rays, from covering up with layers to moisturizing to slathering on the sunscreen. You don’t want to become a statistic:

the Skin Cancer Foundation says more than 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer occur every year in 3.3 million people.

Beyond Skin Cancer: Handling Scars in the Sun

But while those stats are sobering, it’s not just skin cancer you have to worry about. If you have a scar, you may understandably be worried about how it will react to being exposed to the sun.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, scars are more sensitive to sunlight than areas of the skin that are not scarred. New scars are especially vulnerable to the sun, as they are raw and red. Old scars, while white, will intensify in that white color rather than get tanned. Whether you have a new or old scar, you will need to give it special treatment.

You would assume that your scar would get tanned and look more even with the rest of your skin, but this isn’t so.  Scars don’t tan like normal skin does. Rather, that hyperpigmentation causes them to become discolored.

Get the Right Sunscreen

First of all, you have to select the proper sunscreen. Be on the lookout for scar-friendly sunscreens in SPF of 30 or more. You will see products with SPFs between 50 and 150, and while your first instinct may be to reach for the highest number possible, it’s likely just overkill. High SPF lotions often feature extra chemicals and ingredients that can irritate your skin, causing rashes and hives.

Just search for sunscreen designed with sensitive scarred skin in mind. If you can’t find it online or in a store, ask your dermatologist for a prescription.

Once you’ve chosen the right sunscreen, apply it as often as you can, whether at the pool or sweating during a pickup beach volleyball game. In general, you should re-apply every hour. Don’t forget to put it on 15 minutes before going into the sun, being sure to add extra to the scarred area.

Another suggestion is to wear a wide brimmed hat if you have facial scars, and don light-colored long sleeves and pants in breathable materials.

But even more important than sunscreen and covering yourself up is to treat the actual scars themselves. Get into a routine of applying a scar gel treatment like Scarfade, which happens to be the most effective gel on the market. It will heal and reduce the appearance of your scars – especially in summer.