The sun makes the scars more noticeable and prominent, darkening your tissues and leading to discoloration that is not attractive. Too much sun exposure may actually result in more discoloration of the scars, and scar tissue is more prone to sun damage than other areas of the skin. Long-term sun exposure can cause uneven, spotty pigmentation, problems with the texture of the skin, deeper, more prominent lines, and other common aesthetic imperfections.
Scars are more prone to this during their early years, which is why protecting your scar areas from sun exposure without protection is essential. Try and protect sensitive scars by avoiding direct sunlight for up to one year after your procedure. You can cautiously expose the scar to sunlight once a month has passed, or when it is pale pink and almost invisible.
Read also: Can Scars Get Sunburned
Your scar is extremely sensitive to intense sunlight, and it burns easily, so please try to avoid exposure of your scar to sunlight. Trying to sunburn your skin to conceal your scar is never a good idea, and it is more likely to cause it to look even more pronounced. Many believe that exposing their scars to sunlight through tanning will help blend their scars into their complexion.
While tanned skin can feel good on its own, the sun does not have any favors on scars and the sites of incisions. If you are able to wait for your scar-line skin to completely heal and settle (12 months), you are more likely to be satisfied with your scars than you would if you exposed the scars to the sun as they healed. Since it takes 12 months for scars to completely heal, you are best served by not having any sunlight at all near the incision line for a good 12 months (or more) in order to maximize the process of scars from your incision lines.
If you have reasons to be out in the sun, and cannot completely avoid it, cover your surgical incision lines or scars with sun-protective clothing, preferably one that has a high UVB rating (50 is ideal). Apply broad-spectrum, UVA, and UVB-protective sunscreen with at least 50 SPF on your scar area, reapplying every 2 hours if you are going to have prolonged sun exposure.
While you should always do so to protect against skin cancer, religiously use sunscreen, and when you can, cover your scars while outdoors. The best ways to protect include staying out of the sun for long periods of time, applying sunscreen with an SPF 30+ on your skin (especially the scar) when spending time outside, seeking out shadows, and wearing protective clothing.
If you have a surgical or healing scar on your head or neck, wearing a wide-brimmed cap or sun shield may help protect healing scars. While many plastic surgery scars are in positions that are easy to conceal, even with a relatively skimpy bathing suit, your clothes might not provide the UV protection that you need.
Disguising Your Scar:
You can disguise a scar with makeup or skin-coating creams, provided that the scar is fully healed. You may also want to try applying green-tinted make-up over your red scar to help it blend into your skin tone.
If you have skin that needs more time to heal, you might have an increased risk of developing scarring from the surgery. In younger patients, or in cases in which skin is more taught, scarring takes between eighteen months and two years to develop.
Scars also require the full 12 months (sometimes more) to heal correctly (meaning that the scars will turn color over time, but they generally will heal beautifully in most patients who have had facelifts, depending on the skin type and your ability to heal, as well as how closely you followed the instructions from the surgeon).
Some scars may take years while others may fade fairly rapidly, depending on the severity of your injuries. Incision scars may take a few months to properly heal, and they tend to progress through different stages while skin is healing where a protective dermal barrier has been broken.
Scars are a normal aspect of the body’s healing process, and they may happen when the body builds tissues designed to fill the gaps and repair damaged skin caused by injury. Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replace the usual skin or other tissues following an injury or surgical procedure. Scarring occurs when the skin or tissues are damaged and the body heals, which is why it is almost impossible to have an operation and not get a scar.
Scar tissue has poorly functioning melanocytes, which are the body’s natural UV protectors, so it is crucial that you keep your scars protected from sun exposure — whether it is at home or abroad.
Scar tissue is far more vulnerable to the sun’s rays than normal skin, and should be protected from UV radiation until the pink/red color has faded, which may take as long as 18-24 months for some individuals.
Scarring may further intensify if exposed to the sun during the healing time, and without protection, may grow larger, firmer, and darker. Sun exposure can result in hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin) hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin), as well as cause blistering or scarring to thicken, making scar treatment more difficult. Sunbathing should also be avoided because it causes the scarring to look more obvious due to hyperpigmentation because UV exposure damages the delicate new skin tissues which form after the procedure.
Be particularly careful with scars that are routinely exposed to direct light — such as those on the hands, face, or arms, or legs in the summertime — at least during the first six months of the procedure. Even if swelling and bruising will go down in a matter of weeks or months, it can take months or even years for the scars to fully flatten out and fully heal, and you need to care for surgical scars with TLC to make sure the best possible long-term results.
Either way, you do not want to have your scars exposed to the sun until they have fully healed and settled — typically, you will want to wait for at least 6 months in total — but 12 months is usually best before your skin is fully healed. Coverage is vital for protecting your scars, at least in the beginning, and making sure that pigmentation continues to wear off.