Often when people have prominent acne scars, they try tanning to try to make the scar fade or hide it by darkening the skin around it. In fact, tanning is one of the worst things you can do for a scar. For starters, scar tissue is different from normal skin and much less resistant to damage caused by ultraviolet rays. That means a much higher likelihood that your scar will burn – even if the skin around it doesn’t. Excessive sun exposure can also darken a scar permanently. This is especially a problem in people with darker complexions.
When you have acne scars, you should protect them from sun exposure to prevent worsening of their visibility and promote their fading. Use sunscreen religiously. Anytime you sweat or get in the water, you should reapply it. Even better, cover the scar with protective clothing, if possible.
Preventing Acne Scars
Besides protecting your acne scars from the sun, there are other measures you can take to speed their healing and fading. The most important treatment for acne scars is preventing new ones. Treat your acne, if necessary by using antibiotics – see your dermatologist for more information on this. Eat a healthy diet, exercise, and keeps your hands off of the affected area – your hands carry oil and various dirt and germs that can aggravate the condition.
Treating the Scars You Have
For the scars you already have, prioritize hydration – oral and topical. Moisturizers for your skin and plenty of water to drink will both help. Add lemon juice to your water for a dose of vitamin C and to help flush out toxins. And use “skin-friendly” (water-based, hypoallergenic) cosmetics.
Fortunately, there are very effective topical scar treatments on the market today. The sooner you treat a new scar, the more responsive it is likely to be to the treatment. Vitamin C is one of the strongest scar treatment ingredients available; look for a product containing it. Silicone is another one proven to fade and soften scars.
When nothing else has worked, you can try laser treatments. This is appropriate for severe scarring and actually removes the top layer of scarred skin so that newer, healthier skin can replace it. Over time, this makes the scar much less noticeable. Laser scar treatment is often an ongoing, expensive process, but can yield good results in stubborn cases.
Finally, as with any scar, don’t smoke. Smoking causes complications during any healing process. Nicotine impairs oxygen flow to the area, and oxygen is a vital component of the scar healing process. When you smoke, your blood vessels constrict, allowing less oxygen to be transported to the areas that need it the most. Smoking also increases the amount of carbon dioxide in your blood, resulting in even less oxygen. Smoking depletes levels of vitamin C in your body, which is bad for many reasons, but particularly because scars need vitamin C to heal. Vitamin C helps you form new collagen, boosts your immune system health, and is a powerful antioxidant.
Have you tried tanning to fade your acne scars?
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.