Whether you’ve had surgery to remove a scar or pursued medical treatment to minimize its appearance, NYU Langone dermatologists and plastic surgeons offer continued care to ensure that your skin looks smoother, even-toned, and natural.
Doctors recommend using broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every time your skin is exposed to sunlight. Scar tissue is sensitive to sunlight, so it tans and burns easily. Often, discoloration on a scar as the result of a tan or burn becomes permanent.
Scar tissue is most sensitive in the days, weeks, and even months after an injury, so doctors recommend using sunblock or covering that area of skin with a bandage or clothing when you’re outside.
Acne scars are also vulnerable to discoloration as a result of sun exposure. Dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen to your face every two hours if you plan to be in the sun.
Sun exposure is not limited to time spent at the beach or outdoors. If you don’t apply sunscreen when you’re going outside, even walking to a subway stop or propping your arm on the sill of an open car window can result in discoloration.
Research has shown that gently massaging a scar may break down scar tissue as it forms. It may also prevent hypertrophic scars or keloids from developing after an injury.
This technique is effective only after a scar has begun to form—typically two to four weeks after an injury—and can be performed at home by rubbing two fingers in small circles along the length of a scar. Massage may also help evenly distribute steroid medication throughout a scar after a steroid injection, helping to maximize its effectiveness.