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Avoiding sun exposure after a facelift

Facelift surgery is performed amongst both men and women. During a facelift procedure the skin is smoothed out and tightened along the middle and lower face, to minimise wrinkles and lines and lift/restore facial contours. Even though the effects of face lift surgery are permanent, that doesn’t mean that new skin damage can’t develop.

Swelling is a natural side effect of any surgery. However excessive heat from the sun, a laptop or heating pad, can increase the risk of post-operative inflammation. This is especially the case in the first weeks after surgery. To reduce swelling it’s advised to apply a cold compress to the surgical area for the first 48 to 72 hours after performance of the procedure. However heat exposure can make the beneficial effects of the cold compress ineffective and lead to further complications.

Sun exposure can cause the healing incision lines and resulting scars to darken in color. This is an undesirable effect, as it’s ideal to minimise the appearance of scars as much as possible.

If the facial skin is exposed to the sun while it is still healing from the facelift surgery, patients are at an increased risk of:

  • Inflammation and skin irritation

  • Skin discoloration around incision sites

  • More noticeable scars

  • Signs of new sun damage, which include new creases and wrinkles

First week after surgery

To prevent complications from sun exposure it’s best to avoid sun exposure altogether. This is especially the case for facial cosmetic treatment. In the case of eyelid surgery, laser resurfacing or a chemical peel untimely sun exposure can lead to irregular or even spotty pigmentation. Avoiding direct sunlight for at least the first full week after plastic surgery is therefore of the essence.

Few months after surgery

As it’s simply not feasible to stay out of the sun forever, it’s important to follow a few guidelines to protect the skin and prevent complications:

  • Shield your skin from harmful sunlight and wear clothes to cover your incision lines

  • Wear at least factor 30 sunscreen on your face, including the incision area. Dot this even when the area is covered by clothing. Apply at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.

  • Do not, under any circumstances, go tanning.

  • Consider wearing a wide- brimmed hat to protect your face from harmful UV radiation. Avoid straw hats, as sunlight can still filter through them.

  • Be sure to wear a face shield with close to 100 percent UV protection. This preventive step can also help protect the skin around your eyes from basal cell carcinoma and other serious skin conditions.

  • Find the shade as much as possible, as shady areas offer some degree of sun protection.

After healing of the plastic surgery, it’s still essential that one follows a routine skincare regimen. Sun exposure can accelerate the aging process of the skin. Which can result in brown spots, fine lines, wrinkles, creases; all of which negatively affect the outcome of the plastic surgery procedure. Therefore always wear your Full Lux Bluestone sunshield to protect your investment, regardless of the season.

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