Does Self Tanner Darken Scars?

Does Self Tanner Darken Scars?

Summer is fast approaching, and with it comes a host of new concerns regarding the health and beauty of our skin. Self-tanner is an incredible option for those who want a beautiful, sun-kissed glow without actually having to bake in the sun and absorb its harmful rays . However, both experienced and new users of self-tanner are likely to have a host of questions regarding this type of product, especially when it comes to the effects that it will (or won’t) have on their scars.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer when it comes to whether or not self-tanner can darken your scars. On the whole, scars tend to be unpredictable when it comes to self-tanning products, as scar tissue is different from normal tissue. In some cases, scars may darken along with the rest of your skin. In other cases, the darkening effect will be less than that of surrounding skin. And, in some cases, self-tanner may have no effect on scars whatsoever.

There are two ways to predict how self-tanner will react with your scars. The type of scars that you have will play a big role in whether or not self-tanners will darken them, as well as the level of DHA in the self-tanner.  Acne scars, especially in cases of scars with post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, is one example in which self-tanning treatments can make the scars more noticeable. It’s therefore advised that if you choose to use self-tanner, you may want to keep it away from the face, where acne scarring and hyperpigmentation may be more prominent.

Small surface scars will usually darken along with the rest of your skin, though they may still be noticeable afterwards. Self-tanner may have virtually no effect on keloid scars. Their effect on stretch marks and other similar types of scars is often negligible. However, with any types of scarring it is important to point out that self-tanner is likely to have the most effect on older scars.

It’s a good idea to use a small amount of self-tanner to test an area of skin with scars in order to determine the effect that it will have before you put it on all over. Self-tanner lotions are generally preferred on scarred skin because it gives you a greater amount of control over where the tanner goes.

So long as you’ve prepared you’ve test patched a small area of your scar(s) in advance and taken steps to ensure you know what the end result of using self-tanner on your scars will be, you can have a healthy and beautiful summer glow. Just remember that even with a “fake” tan from self-tanner, you should always use broad spectrum sunscreen to protect yourself from sun damage, whether you’re spending the day at the beach or the afternoon in your garden. Self-tanner will not protect you from sun damage, a sunburn or further permanently darkening your scar. And just remember, regular tanning is not an option when it comes to scars.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

The information on this site is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please speak to your doctor to treat any medical condition. Information on this site is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.
Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Benefits of Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is one option may people explore when they want to improve the appearance of wrinkles, lines, blotches, or scars caused by acne, too much sun exposure, aging, or other skin damage. Laser skin resurfacing works by removing layers of skin, thereby encouraging the growth of new skin cells and resulting in younger-looking, tighter, and smoother skin. This may be the only procedure done, or it may be done at the same time as other cosmetic procedures.

Specific areas of the skin can be targeted with laser skin resurfacing, such as laugh lines, smoker’s lines, crow’s feet, acne scars, or frown furrows, or the entire face may be treated for the most dramatic results. The procedure is also used in some cases to remove warts, pre-cancerous lesions, benign tumors, and certain skin cancers.

It’s important to understand that this procedure works by first creating a wound, and the skin’s natural healing processes work to form new, fresher-looking skin. During healing, this wound must be cared for like any other wound to ensure the best results.

ReadWhat Affects Wound Healing?

If you think laser skin resurfacing may be right for you, the first step is to consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to discuss your options. If it is determined that you are a good candidate, there are several things you can do right off the bat to ensure that you get the results you want.

First, make sure to follow your doctor’s pre-procedure instructions. He or she will probably counsel you to avoid taking things like ibuprofen and vitamin E, which can affect clotting. You should also avoid smoking, which delays the healing process and exacerbates scarring. In addition, your doctor will probably want you to take an antibiotic, which is important in preventing infection – another factor that affects scarring and final results.

Laser skin resurfacing is typically an outpatient procedure, meaning you will not have an overnight hospital stay. You may receive local or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the area being treated and your and your doctor’s preferences.

After the procedure some patients need light dressings, but most are just instructed to use topical hydrating ointments instead of true bandages. Generally, after the first day, you will be instructed to clean the treated areas several times a day and apply an ointment to prevent scabs, which worsen scarring. Moisture is an important part of the healing process.

To maximize your results, stay out of the sun or, at a minimum, use sunscreen every time you go outside. A scar treatment can also minimize your risk of developing lasting scars from the procedure and improve your overall result. Choose one that contains ingredients known to be effective and safe, and avoid those that contain questionable ingredients such as hydroquinone.

The skin may take up to three weeks to heal. The skin will typically have a pink appearance that may last for several weeks. This can be easily covered with makeup, but be sure to apply your scar treatment before your makeup, as it does its best work when applied directly to your skin. Swelling is normal and using an extra pillow or two at night to sleep in a more upright position can help.

Laser skin resurfacing is a highly effective procedure and many people who choose it are thrilled with the results. Combine it with an effective scar therapy and impeccable adherence to your doctor’s instructions for younger, smoother, more beautiful skin.

Have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

Skin Changes During Pregnancy

Skin Changes During Pregnancy

One of the common side effects of pregnancy is your skin’s reaction to the unfamiliar hormones flooding your system. Some of these are pleasant, such as the “glow” many pregnant women enjoy. Unfortunately, more of them are unpleasant for pregnant women; symptoms commonly experienced by pregnant women include everything from stretch marks and skin tags to acne and melasma.

Acne
Some pregnant women are lucky enough to enjoy a decrease in acne and clear, glowing skin. Some unlucky women, however, experience an increase in acne or even acne when and where they have never had it before. This type of acne usually disappears after delivery, when hormones gradually return to normal. But acne scars and dark marks can remain, and can be distressing for the woman.

Melasma
Pregnancy can cause an increase in skin pigmentation in certain areas of the body, even the face, as seen with melasma. Women who are not pregnant as well as (rarely) men can also experience melasma, but it is by far more commonly seen in pregnant women. Melasma causes a patchy tan or brown discoloration of the facial skin, typically on the cheeks, upper lip, chin, and forehead. Sun exposure can worsen melasma. People with darker skin tones have a greater risk of developing melasma during their pregnancies.

What to Avoid During and After Pregnancy
Depending on the type of skin change you experience, there are different methods for minimizing the appearance of the change and restoring your skin to its original state. However, whether you are dealing with melasma, acne, or even a cut or scrape unrelated to your pregnancy, you want to be sure to choose products and techniques that are safe for use during pregnancy.

That means avoiding:

  • Vitamin E: Studies do not show that vitamin E improves scars, and it can also cause skin irritation.
  •  Hydroquinone: Although it does lighten scars, hydroquinone can also cause permanent skin discoloration, delayed healing, and skin irritation. It has also been suspected of causing some types of cancer, and has been banned in certain countries.
  • Kojic Acid: Kojic acid can cause increased skin sensitivity, potentially resulting in allergic contact dermatitis.
  • Additives such as fragrances and preservatives: Depending on the specific agent used, these can cause skin irritation.

How to Treat Skin Changes during Pregnancy
Instead, focus on treatment methods that involve natural and safe ingredients, such as licorice extract and vitamin C, to lighten scars, melasma, and acne marks during pregnancy. You can also maximize your results by drinking plenty of water, which benefits overall health, eating a healthy diet, avoiding the sun, and getting plenty of (doctor-approved) exercise. Exercise improves oxygen-rich blood circulation and contributes to the healing process; walking is a great exercise that most pregnant women can do daily. If you are already accustomed to more strenuous exercise, ask your doctor about continuing your normal routine during your pregnancy; it’s safe in many cases.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave us a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

Dangers of Using Hydroquinone to Fade Scars and Hyperpigmentation

Dangers of Using Hydroquinone to Fade Scars and Hyperpigmentation

Hydroquinone has made quite a name for itself around the world in skin lightening creams and scar treatment products. What many people may not realize is that hydroquinone is a harsh chemical that exposes you to many dangers.

Hydroquinone is a chemical that inhibits melanin, which is what gives your skin its color. Areas of the skin that have become darker than the surrounding skin – from sun exposure, freckles, acne, or melasma, for example – are often treated with products containing hydroquinone by well-intentioned and hopeful people. Unfortunately, hydroquinone is associated with many health risks, and many people end up disappointed with its results, or worse.

Toxicity
One major problem is that hydroquinone is known to be quite toxic in high concentrations. It is believed by experts to have carcinogenic properties, and it is known to contain mercury, which can cause liver damage as well as other health problems. Other side effects of hydroquinone can include nausea, ringing of the ears, cyanosis, and seizures.

Ochronosis
Ochronosis, a disfiguring skin condition characterized by thickening and discoloration, is believed to be caused by hydroquinone use in some cases, and the chemical has also been implicated in cases of increased pigmentation. That means that using hydroquinone could very well yield the opposite of the effect you are hoping for – darkening and worsening of your scar or dark spot rather than lightening and fading. The highest risk of ochronosis is found in people with darker skin tones.

Photosensitivity
Hydroquinone can also cause increased photosensitivity, meaning that it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Using hydroquinone on skin that is already sunburned or otherwise irritated can worsen the condition; also, prolonged sun exposure while using hydroquinone can result in severe sunburn. Besides the pain and health risks associated with sunburn, it can also worsen the appearance of scars, sometimes permanently.

Allergic Reactions
Many people who use hydroquinone also have allergic reactions to the chemical. Severe burning, stinging, tingling sensations, hives, trouble with breathing, and throat and mouth swelling have all been reported by hydroquinone users. The appearance of any of these symptoms when using hydroquinone should be considered a medical emergency and evaluated by a doctor at once.

Some countries have banned hydroquinone altogether, citing worries over its safety. Even in the United States, where it is currently legal at limited concentrations, the FDA admits that it cannot be ruled out as a carcinogen and is considering a ban on hydroquinone in over-the-counter preparations because of the safety concerns. Because of all of the health risks of using hydroquinone, in addition to the fact that it may actually worsen, rather than improve, your skin condition, hydroquinone is not recommended for use on scars or dark spots. Instead, choose products containing ingredients that are known to be both safe and effective, such as dimethicone silicone to improve the appearance of your scar, and licorice extract and Vitamin C to fade the dark coloring. Also incorporate healthy and natural lifestyle changes that help your skin heal and your scars fade, such as eating a healthy diet, and getting plenty of exercise and sleep.

Do you have a question about your scars? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to help.

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!

Does Licorice Extract Get Rid of Scars?

Does Licorice Extract Get Rid of Scars?

Grown mainly in southern Europe and China, “licorice” means “sweet root.” This perennial plant grows up to five feet tall with a vertical root. Licorice is not difficult to grow, but it takes several years before the roots can be collected. The main ingredient in licorice is actually a sweetener which is many times sweeter than sugar.

Licorice may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about scar treatment, but in fact, licorice is excellent for lightening hyperpigmentation, melasma, and dark scars and evening out skin tone. Licorice has natural properties that allow it to reduce dark spots and diminish the appearance of scars, and it has the added benefit of being a natural ingredient that carries none of the health risks of chemicals such as hydroquinone.

Licorice is often used in traditional Chinese medicine to harmonize ingredients in herbal formulas. Scars, uneven skin tone, and dark spots caused by acne or sun exposure can all be greatly improved by using a product that contains licorice extract. Licorice extract is a highly effective, safe, and natural ingredient which may prevent the need to resort to more drastic measures such as laser skin resurfacing.

Licorice contains several components which have positive skin effects. Due to its makeup, licorice is effective at skin brightening and lightening, improving acne, and oil production regulation, as well as having antibacterial and antioxidant properties. This versatile extract is also a strong anti-inflammatory agent.

Licorice extract works to fade hyperpigmentation by inhibiting melanin activity, thereby producing whitening of the skin. However, skin whitening is just one of licorice’s beneficial properties. It has also been found to have sunscreen-type properties that help protect against harmful UV rays and reduce skin sensitivity. This keeps skin looking younger and helps minimize or prevent hyperpigmentation or scar worsening. Licorice is also safe for sensitive areas because it is a natural, gentle ingredient.

Another condition for which licorice extract can be used is melasma, which causes patches of dark pigmentation on the face. This discoloration is typically seen in pregnant women or in women who have recently given birth; it can also be caused by certain drugs such as hormonal contraception, some antibiotics, or even anti-malarial drugs. Melasma may be transient or it may persist for years – but licorice is an effective remedy.

It is important to understand that most scars cannot be erased completely by any means – most scars are permanent. However, certain products have been shown to have dramatic lightening and minimizing effects on scars, and licorice is one of those ingredients. When applied topically, is has proven skin brightening effects, lightens dark pigmentation, and can reduce the visibility of scars dramatically. When used in combination with other proven ingredients, such as dimethicone silicone, licorice can make a huge difference in how your scar looks and how you feel about your appearance. And given the fact that it is completely natural and safe, this is one remedy you’ll definitely want to try.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and we’ll be happy to answer.

Subscribe to Scars and Spots to get our posts delivered directly to your inbox!