There are many people believing that tanning, which makes the skin darker can hide visible scars, or even make these scars less noticeable as they tan into similar darker complexion with the skin surround them. However, before you go to a tanning bed or put the skin under the sunlight exposure, you need to think thoroughly about what effects your skin—and the scars will get from the activity.
Why skin gets darker when tanned?
When your skin is tanned on the tanning bed or under the sunlight, it produces more melanocytes—the skin cells producing melanin or the skin pigment. This pigment has a role of absorbing UV radiation in sunlight, protecting the skin cells from damages. However, some people may not produce enough melanocytes, which makes the skin pinkish rather than tanned when exposed to sunlight.
Do scars get tanned?
Scar tissues are different from normal skin tissues. The former ones perform more inferior functions than the latter. While the normal skin tissues are able to release melanin when exposed to sunlight in order to protect them from damages, scar tissues are not able to do this. As a result, they are less resistant to ultraviolet rays and thus, more prone to sunburn.
Do scars go away when you tan?
There is a seemingly-logical idea believed by a great number of people with prominent acne and wound scars on face that skin tanning will be able to make the complexion between the normal skin tissues and scars tissues even, so that the scars will be less noticeable. With this opinion, darkening the skin around scars will make the scars fade. However, this, in fact, should not be a treatment to make scars fade, as prolonged exposure to sunlight will instead cause the scars to be permanent, especially in those with darker skin tone.
If you tan, your normal skin tissues will get darker—or pinkish if it does not produce enough melanin. On the other hand, your scar tissues will not get tanned. As a result, the skin around the scars will be much tanner than the scars itself, causing even more prominent, visible scars, rather than fading it. Even when you notice that the scars do tan, they will be more noticeable when your tanned skin get back to its normal complexion. Tanned scars will even be more visible and permanent, especially if the scars are fresh and you have darker complexion. In other cases, the scars exposed excessively to sunlight experience hyperpigmentation, which is really difficult to eliminate. As a result, these scar tissues are more prominent and visible.
Caring for scars
It is not a good idea to expose any kinds of scars to sunlight, as instead of making them fade, this will make those scars more noticeable. If you have got new, fresh scars from acne, wounds, or surgical procedures, thus, it is best to give them more sufficient cares, especially when you need to go under the sunlight. These ways can be considered:
- Some research found out that there is a relationship between the optical nerves with the degree of tan your skin may get when exposed to sunlight. Hence, wearing sunglasses when out in sunlight can help reducing the risk of hyperpigmentation to your skin. Thus, the appearance of the scars can be minimized.
- Wear sufficient sunscreen when you need to go under the sunlight. Wearing hat is also recommended, especially if you have got scars not older than 6 to 12 weeks.
- Apply some home remedies and/or natural creams or oil that are able to reduce the appearance of scars. For acne scars, lemon juice applied regularly will be able to reduce its prominent appearance, especially those occurring with recurring cystic acne.