After cosmetic surgery, it’s crucial to safeguard your skin during the recovery phase. Sun exposure can exacerbate scarring, lead to excessive pigmentation, and hinder the healing journey. However, once your surgical wounds have completely healed and with your surgeon’s approval, you can once again relish the sun’s warmth. Here are some guidelines for safely basking in the sun post-surgery.
Use Sunscreen Liberally
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Be sure to cover all exposed skin, applying 1 ounce every 2 hours when outdoors. Pay special attention to the surgical site, scar tissue, and any skin grafts. Reapply frequently after swimming or sweating. Look for water-resistant options when participating in water activities.
Wear Protective Clothing
Sun-protective clothing is another safeguard against UV rays. Hats with a 3-inch brim all around help shade the delicate skin on your face. Sunglasses also protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them. When choosing clothes, opt for tightly woven fabrics in white or light colours as they will deflect rays instead of absorbing them like black. These offer more protection than loose knits. Cover up scars until they have fully matured and faded.
Shelter yourself from the sun artificially with umbrellas or tents when natural coverage is unavailable. Take regular breaks in the shade to minimise direct sun exposure. Plan activities like reading, picnicking, or playing board games under the protective shade. Move chairs under shaded structures and avoid sitting directly in the sun.
Gradually Build Up Time Outside
When stepping outside after cosmetic surgery, limit your direct sun exposure to just 10-15 minutes per day. Gradually increase the time over several weeks to let your skin adjust and prevent burning. Start by sitting in the shade or on a covered patio before spending time in direct sunlight. Avoid spending extended recreational time outdoors until your procedure wounds have completely closed and healed.
Keep your skin moisturised daily with a fragrance-free cream or lotion. Dehydrated skin is more prone to sun damage. Avoid products containing retinol or acids, as these can make your skin more photosensitive while recovering from cosmetic procedures. Choose moisturisers specially formulated for the face or body part that received cosmetic surgery.
Avoid Tanning Beds
Do not use tanning beds for at least 6 months post-surgery. The intense UV radiation can negatively impact cosmetic surgery results, especially breast procedures, so you’ll require a breast revision much earlier than expected. It’s best to avoid tanning beds altogether to protect your investment in your appearance. Build a gradual, natural tan through limited sun exposure instead.
Be vigilant about checking your incisions and scars when spending time in the sun. Signs of sunburn include redness, swelling, pain, blistering or peeling. These reactions suggest your skin needs more protection. Keep the sites covered and seek shade until fully healed. Tell your surgeon about any concerns.
Talk to Your Doctor
Discuss sun exposure guidelines specific to your procedure with your cosmetic surgeon. Ask how long to avoid the sun, how to care for incisions outdoors, and when it’s safe to resume activities like swimming. Don’t attempt vigourous outdoor sports until your surgeon says it won’t impact your results. Follow all postoperative instructions for optimal healing.
While sunshine has health benefits, it’s crucial to balance safe sun exposure to protect your investment after cosmetic procedures. Follow these tips once healed to continue results while enjoying the outdoors. Take care of your skin so you can enjoy your improved appearance for years to come.