Plastic surgery can help you in several ways. It can contour the body, get rid of wrinkles, and generally enjoy a more youthful appearance, just to name a few. However, it’s important to understand that the best results require you to strictly adhere to recovery directions, including allowing adequate downtime to heal and avoiding harmful environmental factors like sun exposure.
If you go outside at all, even to grab the mail or run to the grocery store, you can be exposed to the sun. Even a few minutes could impact your recovery and your ultimate results. Considering the time and money involved, you naturally want the best possible outcomes.
How can you avoid the sun and what might happen if you don’t? Here are a few things you need to know so you can plan accordingly.
How Does the Sun Harm Your Plastic Surgery Results?
You probably already know some of the damage that can result from extensive sun exposure, such as increased areas of pigmentation, wrinkles, and other signs of aging, not to mention risk factors for skin cancer. So you may already take pains to avoid excessive exposure.
However, you may be surprised to learn that there are several possible side effects to sun exposure when your body is healing. For starters, UV rays may hamper the healing process.
According to the American Cancer Society, UV rays can weaken the immune system. This could extend healing time and potentially lead to complications like irritation or swelling.
What may be worse is the impact that the sun has on scars. The American Academy of Dermatology affirms that scars are more sensitive to sunlight and can burn more easily than normal skin. This, in turn, can cause them to darken and become more visible, which is a result you definitely don’t want post-surgery.
To avoid sun damage, you need to completely cover any scars for at least six months following surgery.
Solutions to Prevent Sun Damage
It’s much more difficult to get rid of sun damage than it is to simply prevent it. Luckily, there are several easy ways to keep your skin safe and avoid problems with wound healing when you can’t avoid the outside world following cosmetic surgery.
Slather on the Sunscreen
When it comes to sun protection, skin treatment is generally considered to be one of the best options, so you’ll want to use plenty of broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunblock. Naturally, you don’t want to rub sunscreen into a healing wound, but as you begin to heal, make sure to use plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin.
Shield Your Skin
Since you may not be able to use sunscreen immediately on areas still healing fro cosmetic procedures, you’ll want to do your best to shield those body parts from the sun completely. This could mean wearing long-sleeved shirts or long pants, hats, and UV protection sunglasses, just for example.
It’s important to take extra precautions when it comes to healing incisions and scars, especially since most clothing isn’t designed for UV protection (especially lightweight garments). The effects of sunblock fade within a couple of hours without reapplication. Keeping incisions covered could mean applying gauze, a bandage, or medical tape for a while whenever you leave the house.
CO2 Lutronics Laser Treatment
If, despite your best efforts, you accidentally suffer some sun damage while healing from plastic surgery, you’ll be happy to hear you can address side effects with CO2 Lutronics Laser treatment.
The advanced CO2 laser is a fractional carbon dioxide laser that delivers targeted, customized treatment with minimal pain and downtime. It is ideal for reducing both sun damage and scarring particularly wound scarring.
Whether you have issues with scarring or you suspect sun damage following plastic surgery, Dr. Beverly Fischer and the qualified team at The Advanced Center for Plastic Surgery can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more.