Summertime is right around the corner, and if you’ve planned your cosmetic procedures wisely, you’ll be ready to show off your bikini body before temperatures reach the triple digits. Even though swelling and bruising will subside within a few weeks or months, scarring could take several months to a couple of years to completely flatten and fully heal, and you need to treat your surgery scars with TLC to ensure the best possible long-term outcome.
Unfortunately, the sun can be your enemy when it comes to wound healing. The last thing your body needs when it is devoting energy to healing a wound is the added attack of UV rays. While many plastic surgery scars are positioned to be easily hidden, even under relatively skimpy swimwear, your clothing may not offer the UV protection you need. What can you do to protect your plastic surgery scars in the summertime?
Avoid the Sun
You should avoid the sun as much as possible for the first six months following your surgery. This is why many people elect to schedule cosmetic procedures in the fall and winter when they’ll be more covered up with clothing because of the cooler weather. An additional bonus is that they will have plenty of time to heal before hotter weather hits.
What happens if your scar is exposed to sunlight? It could retain its pigmented color, caused by the surgery, permanently, which is typically not a desirable outcome. The majority of patients prefer to have a faded scar that’s relatively close to your natural skin color, rather than one that has bright pigmentation that stands out and announces its presence.
Coverage is crucial to protect your scar, at least early on, and ensure that pigmentation continues to fade. However, if you don’t want to suffer in sweltering heat with layers of clothing, just be sure to use a beach umbrella to block the sun, whether you’re poolside or having a backyard BBQ.
Related Blog: 5 Common Causes of Skin Damage
Load Up on Sunblock
You already know that sunscreen is important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and keep free radicals at bay. However, it’s doubly important that you protect sensitive, healing skin from the sun, as this area is even more likely to be affected, leading to hyperpigmentation and possibly even inflammation that creates a raised appearance.
You’ll want to look for a broad-spectrum sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. An SPF of no less than 30 is recommended, and you’ll need to reapply every two hours at minimum (more often if you’re in and out of water). SPF 50 is even better, and you could go as high as 70 or even 100 for maximum protection. Make sure to look for products with zinc oxide or titanium oxide that offer the most effective barrier against UV rays.
Hydrated skin is happy skin! When your body is healing, you need plenty of water to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery process. Summer temperatures can definitely leave you sweating and dehydrated, so if you plan to spend a lot of time outdoors, you need to increase your water intake to compensate. You can also ask about products suitable for topical use, as well as BioTE supplements designed to boost immune function. If you’re interested in using a topical treatment for your scars, silicone-based topical treatments are your best bet. They help break down the scar and promote re-modeling (laying down thinner scars), a recommended brand is Silagen.
Regardless of when you schedule your procedure or treatment, make sure you understand the necessities of your scar care to achieve the goals you want.
If you’re ready to learn more about the best time to schedule your plastic surgery, contact Beverly Fischer, MD, and the friendly and accommodating team at the Advanced Center for Plastic Surgery today, online or at 410-308-4700.