Getting rid of a dark scar completely may not be possible, but there are effective scar treatments available that can dramatically lighten their appearance. Diet, exercise, lifestyle choices, and medications with certain ingredients can all work to improve the dark color of scars.
Nutrition and Scar Healing
The goal of a scar treatment is to reduce the visibility of the scar, but not all scar treatments are topical. Nutrition is an important part of any complete scar treatment. When the body has the balance of nutrients it needs, it can supply the injured tissue with the right nutrients that help the scar fade and heal. Eating a healthy diet, and possibly taking appropriate supplements, are the only ways to acquire the proper nutrients.
Exercise also helps reduce scarring. When you exercise, you increase blood flow, which helps nourish skin cells. The increased circulation carries nutrients and oxygen to the skin, as well as carrying away waste products, including free radicals. Basically, exercise flushes cellular debris out of the body, effectively cleansing the skin from the inside out. Another benefit of exercise is that it reduces stress, which is thought to improve certain conditions that can be aggravated by stress, like acne. So exercise can both improve the appearance of existing scars and help prevent them from forming in the first place.
Protect Your Skin (and Scars) from the Sun
Don’t be tempted to try to get a suntan to hide a scar. Far from being an effective method of scar healing (or hiding), the sun will often darken or otherwise worsen the appearance of the scar. First of all, scars are much more prone to sunburn than healthy skin. The darkening of a scar caused by too much sun exposure can be permanent. This effect can be even more pronounced in people with darker skin complexions. Using sunscreen, reapplying it often, and wearing protective clothing over the scar can help prevent darkening of scars caused by the sun.
Read: Does Tanning Fade Scars?
You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating when it comes to scar healing. There’s a good reason why plastic surgeons advise you to quit smoking at least a month before any surgery and not smoke at all during recovery. Anytime your skin undergoes cuts, scars are a normal part of the healing process, but that process can be interrupted and the scar worsened by smoking, which reduces oxygen to the area and increases the risk of infection.
Use a Scar Treatment with Proven Ingredients
Sources of Vitamin C have a lightening effect on scars. Silicone is another ingredient to look for, as it has been shown to improve almost all scars significantly. You should avoid hydroquinone, which carries a high risk of irritation or allergic reactions, as well as a possible link with certain types of cancer. A gel containing silicone can be especially helpful because you can wear a concealer over it to further hide the scar while healing is underway.
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