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Tanning After Plastic Surgery

Now that the weather is warmer, a lot of people have swimsuits, bikinis, and beach bodies on their minds. If you’re thinking about having a plastic surgery procedure, such as a breast augmentation, a face lift, or a body contouring procedure like a tummy tuck, and you’d also like to get a “golden glow” afterwards, you’re probably wondering if and when it’s safe to tan after plastic surgery.

Lots of our patients ask about tanning after plastic surgery, especially in the spring and summer months. After all, we’re in sunny Southern California where we have beautiful weather practically year-round and people like to dress comfortably and look good while doing it. So, if you have plastic surgery, how long do you have to wait before you can tan?

Spray Tanning is Safer Than UV Exposure

When people say “tanning,” it can refer to sunbathing, using a tanning bed, and spray tanning. Out of these three options, spray tanning is the safest and best option. We do NOT recommend tanning on the beach, while laying by the pool, or using a tanning bed because all of these options involve dangerous UV rays, speed up skin damage and aging, and increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Instead, spray tanning is the safest option, but when can you do it after plastic surgery?

In the spring and summer, it seems every day we’re asked when it’s okay to spray tan after plastic surgery. Often, they think spray tanning or using an at-home tanning lotion should be safe to use right away, but they’re not. You have to wait. Why? Because, when you put tanning chemicals on fresh incision lines, you run the risk of skin infections and impeded wound healing.

For incision wounds to heal well, you want to avoid dangerous chemicals and bacteria. You also want to keep the scars clean and dry. For your scars to heal as well as possible, you don’t want to do anything that can cause the incisions to heal poorly. The chemicals from a spray tan can lead to bacteria, skin infections, jagged scars, and a more visible scar color.

“When can I spray tan after surgery?” Don’t rush it. We recommend waiting at least six months, so the incisions are fully healed, or cover the incisions from the spray. Since everyone heals differently, check with Dr. Yuly Gorodisky before getting a spray tan to make sure your scars have healed sufficiently.

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