The Importance of Avoiding Sun Exposure after Plastic Surgery By Gregory Mesna on January 31, 2017

A woman with youthful looking skin

Facial plastic surgery can reverse the signs of aging, enhance facial symmetry, and improve overall appearance. While steps can be taken to minimize scarring, excessive sun exposure after plastic surgery can cause such side effects to become more severe, impacting the final results of treatment. Limiting sun exposure after plastic surgery can help reduce the appearance of scarring and the severity of swelling. During patient consultations, plastic surgeon Gregory T. Mesna explains the importance of limiting sun exposure after plastic surgery. Contact our Minneapolis, MN office for personalized tips on reducing sun exposure after plastic surgery.

The Importance of Avoiding Sun Exposure after Plastic Surgery

Avoiding sun exposure after plastic surgery is essential to ensuring the best results. Patients should limit sun exposure for at least a full year after surgery to reduce the appearance of scarring. Limiting sun and heat exposure during the first few days after surgery is also essential for reducing swelling. Here are just a few reasons why limiting sun exposure after plastic surgery is so important:

  • Swelling: Sun exposure, which includes heat exposure, can cause swelling to become more severe by increasing inflammation. Avoiding sun and heat exposure for a week or two after surgery, especially during for the first few days of recovery, keeps swelling from becoming worse. Instead, applying an ice pack or cold compress to the surgical site can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
  • Scars: Exposing healing wounds to the sun can increase the risk of scarring and cause scarring to become darker. Healing post-surgical incisions and any resulting scars should be kept out of the sun for at least a year to reduce the likelihood of hyperpigmentation.

Tips to Avoid Sun Exposure

Staying indoors is one of the best ways to reduce sun exposure after plastic surgery, but it isn't a feasible long-term solution. Taking precautions before going outside can help reduce damage from the sun. Follow these tips to limit sun exposure after plastic surgery:

  • Wear a hat: For those who have undergone a facelift or other facial plastic surgery, wearing a hat when outside can help keep sunlight off the face.
  • Use an umbrella: Using an umbrella when it's sunny is a great alternative to wearing a hat to block the sun's rays and protect the skin and healing incisions.
  • Keep the incision site covered: When plastic surgery is performed on the body, such as the breasts or abdomen, keep the incision site covered with clothing when outside to reduce exposure to the sun.
  • Use sunscreen: Using sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher in addition to wearing a hat, using an umbrella, and keeping incisions covered with clothing can further protect the skin and prevent dark scarring. You may apply sunscreen directly on the scar once it's healed to further prevent hyperpigmentation.

Contact Dr. Mesna Today

For more information about sun exposure after plastic surgery, or to find out which treatments are right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mesna today.

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Dr. Gregory T. Mesna

Mesna Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center

Gregory T. Mesna MD, FACS, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of top-level experience. He performs a wide range of surgical and non-surgical procedures to enhance and rejuvenate the face, body, and breasts. He is proud to be affiliated with:

  • The American College of Surgeons (Fellow)
  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The Minnesota Society of Plastic Surgeons

You can request a free consultation at our office in Minneapolis, MN, by contacting us online or calling (952) 927-4556.

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