Using a tanning bed properly, you should be able to achieve a golden tan that is even all over, but sometimes, if you have scars in noticeable areas, your tan might not be as even, and you might land up making the scars appear more noticeable.
To prevent having your scars tan and appear more obvious than before, you need to protect them when in a tanning bed.
How do you protect scars in a tanning bed? There are a few different ways that you can protect scars in a tanning bed, and it will depend on the size and severity of the scars. For smaller scars, you can use tanning stickers, and for larger scars, you could opt for sunscreen or even protective clothing to shelter them from UV rays.
Before you head off to your next tanning bed session, take a read through the below on how tanning affects scars, and how you can better protect your scars, to give yourself a beautifully even tan.
How Does Tanning Affect Scars?
Tanning is not the best way to help your scars blend in with the rest of your skin, and it can actually have the opposite effect where it causes the scars to appear more obvious against your tanned skin.
Scars need a little extra care when exposed to UV rays, as the scar tissue is usually more sensitive than the rest of your skin. The scar might also go through either hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation, which will cause the scar to be more apparent.
Hyperpigmentation happens quite often in the sun, where the skin becomes darker in certain areas, and sunspots form. Hypopigmentation is when the skin becomes lighter, and this can happen to scar tissue.
This means that some of the scar tissue could lighten in the sun due to hypopigmentation, whereas the skin around it could darken, causing more of a contrast that causes the scar to stand out more.
As the scar tissue is very sensitive, tanning could also harm the area by causing severe sunburn and even blistering. This could then cause the skin to thicken at the scar, and this makes it even harder to treat the scar going forward.
It is best to keep scars out of UV rays, whether you are tanning in a tanning bed or out in the sun, and to instead treat them with gels and creams made specifically for scars.
How To Protect Scars In A Tanning Bed
Now that you know it is important to protect your scars when tanning, you would need to know how.
Here are some of the best ways that you can protect your scars when in a tanning bed, to prevent them from appearing more obvious, and to prevent the scar tissue from becoming more damaged.
Using sunscreen is one of the best and most obvious ways that you can protect scars in a tanning bed. Sunscreen can be used for small and large scars, as you can apply as much or as little as you need to a certain area, and you can cover a few scars on your body.
When picking out a sunscreen to use to cover your scar, look for a very high factor, such as SPF 50, and opt for a nourishing sunscreen too, that will care for your skin and prevent it from drying under the UV rays.
The best type of sunscreen to use to cover your scars would be a thick lotion, which will be easy to apply to small areas and which will give the best protection. A spray sunscreen might be too difficult to use to cover small areas.
Use Special Tanning Stickers
There are special tanning stickers, like these ones from Amazon, that are made to protect small areas of your skin when in a tanning bed, such as your nipples if you are not wearing a top when tanning.
These tanning stickers can be ideal to use to cover small scars too. They come in a few different shapes and sizes, and they can be quite fun to use.
Tanning stickers can also help to tan cute shapes onto your skin, leaving the area of the shape lighter than the rest of your tan. So you can enjoy these cute shapes all while protecting your scars from the UV rays.
Here is a great option of tanning bed stickers in a butterfly shape that will work perfectly to protect your scars and other sensitive small areas from the sun.
Wear Protective Clothing
If the scar covers a larger area where tanning stickers or sunscreen will not be effective, then you could choose to wear protective clothing.
For example, if you have a scar from a cesarean section, then you could wear swimsuit bottoms that cover up the scar. This should not create too much of a difference with tan lines, as it would likely be an area covered by your swimsuit anyways.
You could also wear socks if you have scars on your feet, or a bandana to cover any scars on your neck.
Another option is to use a bandage to cover the scarred area, and not full pieces of clothing. Make sure that the bandage is thick enough to not allow UV rays through. You can often cut the bandage to the shape and size needed to cover your scar.
Use Alternative Tanning Methods
For when you would prefer to not risk tanning your scars and having them turn a darker or lighter color than the rest of your skin, you could use alternative tanning methods.
There are quite a few different tanning methods available that do not require time in the sun or in a tanning bed. You could choose to use a self-tanning lotion, mousse, or gel at home, and apply it to your skin for a temporary, golden tan.
To help cover scars, apply some moisturizer to your scar before applying the self-tanner to it. This will help the self-tanning product absorb better and be more even-looking with the rest of your skin.
The other popular option is to have a spray tan done by a professional at a salon. They will be able to help cover your scars properly and will have good advice on how to cover the scars on the different areas of your body.
Can You Tan Scars?
You cannot tan scars, as the results are very unpredictable and you would likely cause the scar to appear more obvious, with it becoming lighter and in contrast to your darkened tan.
It is not a good idea to try and target scars for tanning either, as the scar tissue will be very sensitive, especially if it is a new scar, and this could cause sunburn to the scar, blistering, and irritation.
The scar tissue will also likely become thicker when it is tanned, and this can make it even more difficult to try and blend the scar in with the rest of your skin.
Those who have naturally darker skin, and who have a higher melanin concentration, will also notice that their scars can turn darker in the sun as well, and will always be darker than the rest of their tan, making it very obvious.
Trying to tan your scars will only do more harm than good, and you will not get the results you were after, most likely the opposite.
It is so important to protect your scars in a tanning bed, to prevent them from turning either darker or lighter, and to protect the sensitive scar tissue.
When using a tanning bed, you can use sunscreen, tanning stickers, or even protective clothing to cover up scars big and small, and prevent any damage from being done.
If tanning with scars makes you nervous, then you can instead use tanning alternatives, such as self-tanning lotions or spray tans, which will help your scars blend in and which will not cause any harm.
Keep out the sun if your scars are still fairly new, and always apply sunscreen when you know you will be exposed to UV rays.
Why can’t scars tan?
The scar tissue around scars doesn’t tan as these cells are not able to produce melanin. Melanin is produced by healthy skin cells when they are exposed to UV rays, to protect the skin, but melanin is a dark pigment, which is why tanning makes the skin darker.
What are the best ways to fade scars?
There is no quick way to fade scars, and you need to treat them properly to try and lessen their appearance. The best way to do this is to use over-the-counter scar treatment cream, which will target the skin around the scar.
Does fake tan cover scars?
Fake tan can be used to reduce the appearance of scars and can do a great job at evening out your skin tone, blending scars in with the rest of your skin color.