Does Sunscreen Help To Remove Scars?

Sunscreen does not remove existing scars, but regular use of sunscreen on newly formed scar tissue has been proven to prevent the darkening of scar tissue. Making scars less visible and protecting weak skin from UV damage.  

Most people have at least one scar on their bodies.

Some wear their scars with pride. Reminding them of childhood mishaps or failed conquests but most would prefer unblemished skin. Leaving the memories for diaries or old pictures. 

For those looking to avoid scars, this article is for you!
Let´s dive in...

How Are Scars Formed?

Scars are formed when the skin's natural healing process is triggered after an injury or wound.

When the skin is damaged, the body sends out immune cells to the affected area, removing damaged tissue and beginning the healing process.

As the wound begins to heal, new collagen fibers are produced to help rebuild the damaged area.

The process of collagen production can sometimes result in the formation of a scar, which appears as a raised or discolored area on the skin.

The type of scar that forms will depend on the depth, size, and location of the wound, as well as the individual's genetics.  

For example, A shallow wound that only affects the top layer of skin (epidermis) will likely heal without a scar. But a deeper wound that affects the deeper layers of skin (dermis) will be more likely to form a scar.

Additionally, some factors such as age, genetics, and the presence of certain medical conditions can also influence the way the skin heals and the likelihood of scarring.

The Most Common Causes of Scarring

Acne

Acne scars are marks left on the skin after a pimple or other form of acne has healed. They can appear as sunken or raised areas, discoloration, or changes in the skin's texture.

These scars are caused by the inflammation that happens during the healing process. 

When the skin is inflamed from acne, the body produces more collagen to try to heal the area, but if the inflammation is severe, the skin can form too much collagen, which can lead to scarring

It's important to note that not all acne will leave a scar. But if you have severe acne, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible to reduce the risk of scarring.

Additionally, keeping the skin clean and moisturized, avoiding picking or squeezing acne, and wearing sunscreen can help reduce the risk of scarring.

Injury

Scars from injury are marks left on the skin after it has been cut or broken or burned. 

They occur as part of the body's natural healing process to repair the damage, as collagen is produced to mend the wound.

The appearance of the scar can vary depending on factors such as the location of the injury, the depth of the wound, and the individual's genetics.

Surgery or Vaccine Scars

Scars from surgery are marks left on the skin after an incision is made during a surgical procedure or injection. 

They occur as part of the body's natural healing process to repair the damage caused by the incision.

Surgery or injection scars are usually a line or a mark left behind after the incision has healed and the skin has closed.

The appearance of the scar can depend on factors such as the location of the incision, the type of surgery, the individual's genetics, and how the scar is treated during healing. 

Infections

Scars from infections are marks left on the skin after an infection has occurred. They occur as part of the body's natural healing process to repair the damage caused by the infection.

Infection scars are usually caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungus and can appear as red, raised, or discolored areas on the skin. They can also be caused by other types of skin infections, such as impetigo, boils, and cellulitis.

Scars from infections can also appear as pockmarks, which are small, round, or oval scars that can have a depressed or raised appearance. 

How Long Does It Take A Scar To Heal? 

The time taken for a wound to fully heal can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • The size of the wound
  • The depth of the wound
  • The location of the wound
  • How the wound is treated during the healing process. 

For minor cuts and scrapes, the healing process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

For more serious wounds, such as those from surgery or burns, the healing process can take several weeks to several months.

It's also important to note that the visible healing of the wound is not the end of the healing process. Collagen production and maturation continue for months and even up to 2 years.

Scars from wounds will continue to improve over time and will eventually become less noticeable, especially when the skin is kept moisturized and protected from UV rays. 

Girl holding sunscreen

How Does Sunscreen Help To Heal Scars?

Sunscreen has been proven to aid the healing of scars by protecting the newly formed, sensitive skin from harmful UV radiation.

UV radiation can cause visible damage to the new skin, including: 

  • Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin)
  • Hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin).
  • Blisters 

Such effects make scars more noticeable against the surrounding skin and can increase the length of time taken for scars to disappear. 

In addition, sunscreen can also help to moisturize and hydrate the skin, which can promote healing and reduce inflammation.

When the skin is well-hydrated, it is better able to repair itself which can help to reduce the appearance of scars.

When choosing a sunscreen, look out for the below ingredients which have moisturizing, healing, and antibacterial properties. 

  • Aloe vera
  • Shea butter
  • Lemon balm
  • Chamomile

What´s The Best Sunscreen For Scars? 

When choosing the best sunscreen for scars, it is important to consider that scar tissue is much more sensitive than normal skin.

Your go-to sunscreen may not be the best fit for the purpose. 

When choosing a sunscreen for your scar consider the below factors: 

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF)

SPF is a measure of the effectiveness of sunscreen in protecting the skin from UV radiation. The SPF number indicates the timing of protection that a product provides.

For example, if it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red in the sun, an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer - about 5 hours.

This is especially important as scar tissue will begin to turn red much quicker than your normal skin. 

Choose a sunscreen that has an SPF of at least SPF30. 

It is also important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Suitable for sensitive skin

It's best to look for a sunscreen that is specifically formulated for sensitive skin. These types of sunscreens tend to be less irritating and less likely to clog pores.

Due to the sensitive nature of scar tissue studies it is recommended to avoid sunscreens that contain:  

  • Perfumes or fragrances 
  • Alcohol
  • Harsh chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate

Mineral Sunscreen Formulas

Mineral sunscreens, also known as physical sunscreens contain active ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. 

They have been proven to provide the highest standard of UV protection whilst remaining kind to sensitive skin and scar tissue.

    Palm & Pine´s mineral formulations have been developed to protect from harmful UV radiation whilst nourishing the skin with delicate, natural ingredients. Ideal for aiding the healing of scar tissue and reducing the long-term visibility of scars. 

    Water Resistance

    Water-resistant sunscreen is formulated to stay on the skin and provide protection even when the wearer is sweating or swimming. 

    Using a water-resistant sunscreen on your scars will ensure that they are protected under a wider variety of conditions. 

    How To Apply Sunscreen To Scars

    Scar tissue is more sensitive than normal skin so care must be taken when applying sunscreen to the affected area. 

    When applying sunscreen to scars, it is important to follow these steps:

    Clean the area - Make sure the scarred area is clean and dry before applying sunscreen.

    Apply sunscreen to the surrounding skin first - Apply a thin layer of sunscreen to the skin surrounding the area, working it gently across the scar. 

    Be gentle - Be gentle when applying sunscreen to the scarred area. Avoid rubbing or pulling on the skin, which can cause further irritation.

    Reapply - Sunscreen should be reapplied to sun-exposed skin every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.

    Does sunscreen remove scars

    Does Sunscreen Remove Acne Scars?

    Sunscreen does not directly remove acne scars, but it can help prevent further damage that can worsen the appearance of scars. 

    Sun exposure can cause inflammation, hyperpigmentation, and discoloration in the skin, which can make acne scars more visible.

    By protecting the skin from sun damage, sunscreen can help preserve the appearance of the skin and prevent the scars from worsening.

    It is important to note that, sunscreen should be used as a preventative measure and not as a treatment. If you are experiencing acne scars, it is best to consult with a dermatologist to determine the best treatment plan for you.

    Does Sunscreen Help With Vaccine Scars?

    It is not uncommon for people to experience redness, swelling, or tenderness at the site of a vaccination. These side effects, known as injection site reactions, typically resolve on their own within a few days.

    After a 24 hour waiting period, sunscreen can be applied to the area to protect the skin from further irritation or sun damage. 

    As mentioned above, sunscreen can help preserve the appearance of the skin and prevent the scars from worsening.

    Thanks For Reading 

    We hope you have enjoyed reading this article and have learned more about how the importance of applying sunscreen to your scars. 

    If you have any questions about the article or would like to know more about our natural sunscreen, please feel free to get in touch by clicking on the chat icon in the bottom right of your screen. 

    Written with help from

    Michigan University

    University of Texas

    Medical News Today

    Dovepress


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