Sun Exposure after Facelift Surgery

Facelift surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can reduce the appearance of sagging jowls and facial wrinkling. However, patients who undergo the procedure should be committed to following their surgeon’s post-surgical instructions to reduce the risk of complications and improve results. Patients should know that sun exposure should be avoided for several months after surgery. The cosmetic surgeons at Jefferson Plastic Surgery Center recommend avoiding or reducing direct sun exposure following a facelift procedure.

Side Effects from Sun Exposure

Try to avoid sun exposure, particularly during the first crucial week or two following surgery. Sun exposure can increase the amount of swelling or bleeding following surgery. The sun, like any other heat source applied to the skin, increases inflammation. During the first 24 to 72 hours following surgery, cold compresses are recommended specifically to reduce inflammation. Sun should be completely avoided for the first week following a facelift procedure, and sun exposure should be limited for two weeks after that.

Sun exposure may also worsen scarring because it may change the pigmentation of the scarred skin, making it more noticeable. The scar may appear darker than the surrounding skin if it is exposed to the sun. Some doctors even recommend not exposing the scars to the sun for as long as one year following surgery.

Avoiding Sun Exposure

Keep the facelift incision covered. Scarves are a great way to cover incisions from a facelift procedure. It is also important to wear a wide-brimmed hat or a visor that will protect the face and facelift incisions from sun when outside during the day. If there has been any surgery around the eyes, such as an upper or lower eyelid lift, large dark sunglasses will shield these incisions. Make certain that the sunglasses wrap around to cover the sides of the face as well.

Once the incisions have completely healed over, sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher can be applied directly to the scars on a daily basis to block the sun’s rays. Sunscreen should never be applied before the incisions have healed. This greatly increases the chances for infection and further scarring.

If patients are outside in the months following facelift surgery, pick the shadiest spot to sit or stand. The best shade is from buildings, which will provide almost complete shelter from the sun. While the shade from a tree might not be the most ideal way to avoid the sun, it can at least block some of its most damaging effects.

Particularly during the warmer summer months, it can be hard to avoid the sun. However if sun exposure is limited as much as possible, patients are more likely to be satisfied with the final outcome of facial surgery and facelift scars should be at a minimum.

To find out if you are a good candidate for facelift surgery, and to learn more about facelift recovery tips, contact Jefferson Plastic Surgery today. The surgeons and staff are here to help patients with their facial plastic surgery needs.


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To make or reschedule an appointment please complete the form below or call:  (215) 625-6630.

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Jefferson Plastic Surgery is located on the corner of 9th and Walnut streets in Center City, Philadelphia on the 15th floor of the Wills Eye Hospital Building.

Jefferson Plastic Surgery
840 Walnut Street - 15th Floor
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Phone: (215) 625-6630
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