Have you been gearing up for cosmetic surgery or a facial skin treatment? It’s an exciting step that can enhance your confidence and improve your self-esteem, but preparation is important.  It’s up to you to make sure that you’re setting yourself up for success. Choosing the right surgeon is the first step. But being prepared to take care of yourself after surgery is just as important. With the right aftercare you can help to ensure good results and reduce your risk for complications.

If you’ve never had facial plastic surgery before, then you may be unaware that the sun can pose a significant risk to your results if you don’t protect your skin. Here’s what you need to know about the sun and your skin after surgery, and how to help prevent any problems.

Sun-Related Complications

Healing is an incredible process. Immediately after surgery, the blood begins to clot to stop bleeding from any open wounds. The area then scabs over to help prevent infection. Next, the body gets to work creating new tissue and collagen to heal incisions. The sun also causes changes in the skin. In response to the UV (ultraviolet) rays emitted by the sun, the skin begins to produce more melanin. This is the brown pigment in the skin, which also gives us skin color, freckles and tans.

While some people purposely tan, the outcome of sun exposure can be very different after surgery. If skin that is still healing from laser treatments or surgery is exposed to the sun, it can cause uneven brown pigmentation known as “hyperpigmentation”. This brown pigment can be patchy and is sometimes permanent. This is why it’s so important to take precautions after surgery! While incisions will be well-hidden as much as possible, the skin is still sensitive and may be more prone to pigmentation changes after the procedure.

Sun Protection After Cosmetic Procedures

Though the degree of skin sensitivity will change based on the procedure, the sun protection instructions are pretty much the same following any treatment. During the first few weeks, you should avoid sun exposure entirely. If you love soaking up the summer sun, it may be best to schedule your surgery for the winter months as you’ll be spending less time outdoors.

Once the initial healing process is complete, you can be a little less cautious about spending time outside. Nevertheless, you will still need to be diligent about sun protection in order to prevent hyperpigmentation. Exposed skin should be protected with a high SPF sunblock. You should also consider changing up your wardrobe. Hats, sunglasses, and other garments can help keep your delicate skin safe while it heals.

Not Just After Surgery

Although it’s very important to be especially careful of sun protection right after your surgery, remember that it’s important to protect against UV rays, regardless of the circumstances. In addition to hyperpigmentation (which can occur over time as well, causing brown spots), unprotected sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. Tanning beds are not any better, so you’re better off foregoing the tan and using sunblock instead. In case you needed more motivation to protect your skin, the sun can prematurely age your skin quickly, causing early wrinkles and a leathery appearance!

Ask Your Plastic Surgeon for Guidance

There are so many different procedures available, and so many different skin types, that it’s almost impossible to give specific advice that applies to everyone. That’s why it is so important to ask your surgeon for instructions on pre- and post-op care in your particular situation. You’ll be able to set yourself up for a great result by getting the information you need to prepare.

If you’re still shopping around for the right treatment and the right provider, come to Buckingham Center in Austin, Texas, to meet with acclaimed, board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Edward Buckingham. Dr. Buckingham is dedicated to giving a patients a natural look with the most minimally-invasive procedures possible. If you’d like to get expert advice and a great new look, call Buckingham Center today at 512.401.2500 to schedule your consultation.

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