Dr Christian Aldridge – DermatologistScars are essentially areas of healing skin.  A scar has only 20% of the strength of normal skin and this is why scars can occasionally dehisce (open–up) when the stitches are removed.

Scars are normally red/pink in appearance due to the increased blood vessel growth that needs to  happen to enable the skin to heal. In certain sites, like the chest/shoulders / upper back , scars are at risk of thickening up (becoming hypertrophic or keloidal) as a result of the great tension that occurs across the two sides of skin brought together to form a scar. The physical healing of scars can take up to 2 years. The psychological  ‘scar’ of having skin cancer surgery can be with the patient much longer.

The melanoma scar is not any more vulnerable to skin cancer development than any other part of the skin. However, it can get sunburnt much more easily. If they get sunburnt, scars will become much more obvious and turn a darker brown than the rest of your skin. UV light also thickens the tissue which will make the scar even more noticeable.

Thus, during warm/sunny days use at least Factor 30 SPF sunscreen and try to keep scars covered with light, cotton clothing whilst they heal. Your sunscreen should be applied to all areas of your skin that are exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods of time.