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.

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  1. 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.
  2. Hi i really need your help! Im only 15 years old and i have a lot of dark spots because of insect bites and mosquito bites when i was a little. And now im having trouble because i cant hang out with my friends to the beach. I’ve tried peeling oil, mederma and other products but none of it works. And i saw a video on YouTube that any type of scars and no matter how old it is it can still fade so i was hoping that you can help me solve my problem.

    • Hi Jane, aside from a scar treatment, the MOST important thing you can do is to wear sunscreen (SPF 30+) every day over your bite scars. The sun will darken them and they will not fade. You can apply a scar treatment to your scars twice daily and should notice a considerable difference in about 12 weeks. UPF clothing will also help you to protect those scars as well. Was the video you mentioned ours?

  3. I have scars from a dog attack and the two marks have turned white which I can’t cover or make darker with makeup at all for some reason. I only apply fake tan on the scars and not to the rest of my face as I never tan my face just my body anyway. It works well for me because they match my foundation and are not too dark compared to my skin as they were paler to begin with.

  4. I am Hispanic and have suffered from psoriasis since I was a child. Now I have it under control my legs a covered with dark scars. How can I blend my psoriasis scars? Is tanning the way to go or would using a self tanner work?

  5. Bryanna says:

    I have many scares on my legs and even on my arms from insect bites from when I was younger. I am now 16 and I am extremely self conscious about wearing shorts around people because I am tan so the scars stand out on my skin tone. I have camp in a couple of weeks which requires wearing shorts and I want to see if there is a way to lessen the appearance of my scars. I have read that tanning is bad and may cause the scars to stand out more. Will self tanning do the same? Do you know of any other ways to reduce the appearance of the scars?

    • Hi Bryanna, whatever you do, please do not go tanning or it will further redden them or could cause them to become darken than your skin tone. You may want to give Dermablend a try? You can find it at your local Ulta to try to match it to your skin coloring. It’s not a permanent fix, as it is a concealer, but it may do the trick for you while at camp.

  6. Hi Everyone
    I’ve had psoriasis for 40 years! and was given steroid cream in the 70s with no instruction on how to use…consequently I’ve been left with scaring on the tops of my legs due to thinning of the skin,
    My Psoriasis has now been clear for 3 months as I have been given Stelara injections…yay!
    I also have marks where the psoriasis used to be,
    The absolute miracle cover up is…..(drum roll) SALLY HANSON AIRBRUSH LEGS!
    use it everywhere i’ts brilliant, moisturize beforehand use the spray one then blend with your hand gently, wash hand afterwards,
    it doesn’t come off without soap and water though does rub off slightly on clothes, not a problem unless your wearing white!
    good luck everyone, and don’t let your skin rule your life

  7. Michella says:

    I came across this article as after using fake tan for many years it has permantly left a brown stain on a chicken pock scar i never even knew i had previously. The scar was previously invisible and i never even knew it was there until i started using fake tan. I have tried exfoliation and over the counter whitening creams but nothing has worked.
    Any advice would be greatly appriciated.
    From London,UK

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