sun exposure after plastic surgeryAfter you've had plastic surgery, or a cosmetic procedure, your doctor will caution you to avoid exposure to sunlight. You should follow your doctor's advice to minimize the appearance of surgical scars and bruises. While it's best to discuss sun exposure with your plastic surgeon, these guidelines can help you plan for the months following your procedure.

Why Should You Avoid Sunlight after Plastic Surgery?

It's important to protect your skin from the sun after any plastic surgery or cosmetic procedure, especially if the procedure was on your face. Exposing surgical incisions to sunlight too soon after surgery can worsen the appearance of scars, and cause them to take longer to return to your natural skin color. You are also more likely to get sunburned in the first few weeks after surgery. Sunburn may cause scars to remain permanently discolored. Once a scar has become sunburned, there is little that can be done to repair the damage.

How Can You Protect Your Skin from the Sun?

It is best to avoid sun exposure for several months after surgery. If you must go out in the sun, be sure to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on your incision area, even if clothing covers the incision. Sunlight can still shine through clothing and windows, so you should wear sunscreen throughout the day. Be sure to wait until your incision is completely healed before applying sunscreen to avoid infection. It's best to wear clothing made from thicker material and avoid lightweight clothing like bathing suits or thin T-shirts, which can leave your incision area exposed to sunlight. Some clothing is SPF rated, but you should still wear sunscreen underneath. Be sure to read the sunscreen's label and reapply as necessary for continued protection.

What if You've Had a Cosmetic Procedure on the Face?

Sun exposure too soon after a chemical peel, laser resurfacing, dermabrasion or blepharoplasty may lead to spotty or abnormal pigmentation. If you've had a facial procedure, you should wear sunscreen and a hat whenever you're out in the sun. Choose a hat with a solid, all-around brim that is at least three inches wide. Avoid straw hats, as they can still allow sunlight to shine through. The brim of a baseball cap does not provide enough protection for your face.

After a rhinoplasty or facelift, you should avoid prolonged exposure and tanning. Exposing a healing incision to the UV rays in sunlight can result in hyper-pigmentation, a darkening of the skin, which can take months to fade.

Why Should You Continue to Protect Your Skin from Sunlight?

Even after your surgical scars have faded, it is still important to limit sun exposure. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can age the skin, causing wrinkles and freckles. Too much sun can also lead to skin cancer. Applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 should be part of your daily routine. If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, look for a moisturizer with an SPF. Women can also choose a makeup with an SPF to protect their faces from sunlight. Tanned skin is damaged skin, so you should avoid tanning to keep your skin young and healthy.

To schedule your plastic surgery consultation at the Dallas office of Dr. Paul Pin, contact our practice today.