di Maria Serena Patriarca

Does tanning camouflage scars or highlight them even more? The question, especially in the months dedicated to sunbathing on the beach, arises spontaneously: especially for those who have recently undergone cosmetic surgery treatments.

If – for example – you have just had a tummy tuck or breast augmentation this is a very topical issue. Nowadays, there are truly minimally invasive non-surgical procedures that can help manage keloids or prominent scars: but these procedures could prove costly and require additional downtime. This explains why some patients resort to tanning as a solution to “soften” the appearance of cosmetic surgery scars. But it is time to clarify this point. Scars from cosmetic surgery treatments are usually hypopigmented at the end of the ripening stage, but a University of Michigan study of patients with lighter or darker pigments (who had post cosmetic surgery scars) found that excessive sun exposure can result in hyperpigmentation of the scars themselves.

According to this research, prolonged exposure to sunlight during the wound healing phase (in patients with surgical scars) can even increase the risk of scar pigmentation, and in an obvious way. Therefore, Michigan University scholars warn that reducing exposure to sunlight can undoubtedly prevent hyperpigmentation of the wound that is in the process of healing.

This is why tanning obtained through sun exposure or spray tanning should preferably be avoided: it can in fact negatively affect the appearance of surgical scars.

A seguito di una qualsiasi procedura cosmetica è davvero importante – quindi – proteggere le ferite in via di guarigione dagli effetti dannosi del sole (o dei lettini abbronzanti, per i fan dell’abbronzatura ad ogni costo).

Here are some suggestions to understand what can be done in practice to prevent hyperpigmentation of surgical scars: first of all, do not go out in the sunniest hours if not necessary. Then it is good to wear protective clothing that prevents exposure of the surgical wound. Spray bronzer should never be used on surgical incision lines.

You should also always remember to use sunscreens with SPF 30 or higher (even better SPF 50). Sunscreens with SPF 30 – or higher e – are in fact able to block 97% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Avoid “lamps”: tanning beds not only cause hyperpigmentation of surgical scars, but also damage skin cells, generating visible signs of skin aging and a potential greater risk of skin cancer. Being slaves to the tanned image always and in any case even in the city and in every season of the year can become the cause of considerable inconvenience in future years. Instead, it is worth sunbathing in a natural, healthy and moderate way to guarantee our skin a state of real well-being.

After exposure to the sun and a shower, never forget a self-massage with a good moisturizer to ensure that the skin does not dry out. The cream can be alternated with natural oils with an emollient effect, which also become a beneficial and pleasant ritual after a day on the beach, to face the relaxed evening hours.

It is also essential to hydrate properly, not only by drinking plenty of water (and avoiding alcohol and carbonated drinks) but also by integrating vitamins and minerals through adequate portions of seasonal fruit and vegetables daily.

Personal trainers also remember, compatibly with any scars, not to forget a healthy physical activity suitable for everyone’s athletic preparation. Even a simple walk in the morning, by the sea, is a cure-all for all ages.