Why you need to avoid sun exposure after plastic surgery

Why you need to avoid sun exposure after plastic surgery

08th May 2017

Why you need to avoid sun exposure after plastic surgerySun exposure can negatively affect areas of the body that have undergone plastic surgery, possibly triggering a number of side effects and complications. Patients are, therefore, advised to limit their exposure to the sun for about one year after undergoing plastic surgery.

It is important to prevent sun exposure of the surgical area as much as possible, not only to decrease the extent and intensity of swelling and scarring, but also to ensure quick and proper recovery. Patients should take extra precautionary measures as the first few months after plastic surgery are especially crucial.

Studies indicate that when the surgical area is exposed to the sun or heat, it triggers uncontrollable inflammation. This is the reason why plastic surgeons advise their patients to apply cold compression to the incision a few days after the operation to reduce swelling.

Extensive and intense scarring is another common side effect of sun exposure. Patients with any type of wound, especially surgical wounds, are advised to protect themselves from the sun to avoid scarring and hyperpigmentation. When a surgical wound is exposed to the sun, the scar darkens. Research has shown that patients who have minimal sun exposure have less visible scarring.

It is important for plastic surgery patients to understand that the skin around the incision is especially delicate after an operation. The surgical area might burn when exposed to the sun, causing the scar to darken and possibly lead to skin tissue impairment.

So, how can you avoid the sun for such a long period of time?

Try to stay in the shade for as long as possible. If going out is unavoidable, make sure to use an umbrella or fully cover your body with clothes. This is especially important for the first 3-4 weeks after the operation.

Sunscreen is also one of the best ways to defend your skin from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays. Doctors recommend applying sunscreen with SPF 30 to the surgical area, but it is still advisable to wear protective clothing and minimize sun exposure as much as possible. Make sure to discuss with your surgeon regarding do’s and dont’s after your surgery.

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