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Protecting Scars from Sunlight

Summertime skin care can be more involved than in the other seasons. For people dealing with epidermal scarring, this summer skin care attentiveness is all the more important. Scar tissue represents a whole different set of challenges than normal tissue.

Like ordinary skin, scar tissue is composed primarily of collagen, which gives our skin its elasticity. But unlike typical skin tissue, the collagen forms quickly and usually in a haphazard fashion, as our body naturally begins to form fibroblasts (connective tissue) in response to injury. This rapid buildup of skin cells limits the skin’s flexibility and increases sensitivity. Injuries that are serious enough to cause scarring typically stem from skin nerve damage. The resulting scar is less resistant to UV (ultraviolet) rays and is much more prone to sunburn and darkening. In rare cases, this exposure to UV rays compromises the fibroblast structure in a way that leads to the formation of scar neuromas, which are tumor growths of nerve and fibroblast tissues.

However, all of this can be avoided with early preventative and protective measures. These include proper clothing coverage and application of a highly-rated SPF sunscreen, like EltaMD. In the first year after the wound is inflicted, it is critical to keep it covered and out of direct sunlight. Start with the proper gauze and antibiotic ointment. One of the easiest ways to ensure sun protection for the first year is with UPF clothing, as it offers thorough protection from both UV-A and UV-B rays. This helps minimize the amount of dense fibroblast cells that can form in response to UV interference. After the initial year, it is crucial to stay diligent with the application of a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher, and to keep an eye on the healing of your scar as time goes on.

The professional skin care team at Collins Advanced Dermatology Institute can not only offer a range of UPF clothing, but can provide you with a customized scar-reduction treatment with options that work for you. For more questions and tips about keeping your skin safe this summer, call or book an appointment online.