Sun Exposure After Plastic Surgery

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To ensure optimal results after plastic surgery, following post-op instructions provided by your plastic surgeon is imperative. One of the most critical rules to follow after your procedure is to avoid the sun. Excessive sun exposure could cause permanent damage to your plastic surgery results. Some side effects from being exposed to the sun post-surgery include swelling, inflammation, scarring, and burning.

Side Effects

  • Swelling & inflammation: While both these effects are natural after plastic surgery, too much sun exposure will cause increased swelling and inflammation. It is recommended to avoid any heat, including the sun, warm computers, fireplaces, and heating pads, for at least a week after surgery for the ideal results. Placing a cold compress to the surgical area can help reduce swelling post-surgery.
  • Scarring: Plastic surgeons try to place any unavoidable scars in discreet areas. However, exposing healing wounds to the sun can increase the risk of scarring. Scar tissue is more sensitive to ultraviolet rays, therefore, more prone to sunburn. It’s important to protect the scar from any sun or UV ray exposure for up to a year post-surgery.
  • Burning: The skin around your surgical site is especially sensitive after surgery. By avoiding the sun after surgery, you are avoiding burning sensitive skin.

Protecting your skin post-surgery

The sun can have a significant impact on your overall appearance, especially after plastic surgery. Excessive exposure can prolong the recovery period. Having plastic surgery doesn’t mean you are immune to further problems such as wrinkles, discoloration, skin texture, and more. Doctors recommend covering up the incision sites and any scarred tissue from the sun for up to a year after surgery to avoid side effects.

  • Wear high SPF sunscreen: It’s essential to wear sunscreen any time you’re going to be exposed to the sun, whether you had plastic surgery or not. The sun can sometimes penetrate thin clothing and accessories. Therefore, adding an extra layer of protection is always a good idea.
  • Protect Incision Site: You aren’t always able to cover your whole body from the sun, but covering your incisions is vital to prevent any further swelling or scarring.
  • Cover yourself completely: The best way to protect yourself from the sun is to avoid it all together. Try to stay in the shade, use an umbrella or cover up completely.