Congratulations! You’ve recently undergone a facelift! This is the start of a new and improved you brimming with confidence. But wait! There are some things you should take into consideration to ensure you heal properly, as excessive sunlight exposure can cause some setbacks to your facelift results.
Due to the nature of a facelift surgery, incisions are made to tighten the skin and muscles underneath. This can often leave you feeling bruised and sore thereafter as your body beings to heal, beginning the recovery phase. It is during this time you are most vulnerable to the effects of the sun and need to be proactive in preventing unwanted consequences from excessive sunlight exposure.
The Effect of Sunlight
Sunlight feels great on the skin; we bathe in it, tan using it, and can’t seem to get enough of it. However, there are many hidden dangers to increased sun exposure that we often forget to consider. The main one being the damaging effect it has on your skin, especially after recently undergone a facelift procedure.
Sustained sunlight exposure exposes you to UV (ultraviolet) rays which penetrate the skin leading to skin damage and increased melanin production; the main component causing your skin to darken. If no precaution is taken, sunburns will likely occur potentially compromising your facelift results.
Excessive sun exposure can lead to undesirable outcomes, such as improper healing and increased scar visibility. To help promote the healing process and maintain your facelift results, the following are some important things to keep in mind after a facelift procedure.
How to Protect Yourself from the Sun after a Facelift
During the first week of your recovery phase it is recommended to avoid sun altogether due to the heat it generates. In fact, all types of heat sources should be avoided during this time as they can increase post-operative inflammation. Inflammation can lead to excessive swelling and potentially prolong your recovery phase. To negate the effects of swelling, a cold compress is recommended on the surgical area site for the first 48 to 72 hours. Medication may also be prescribed to help reduce swelling.
Direct sun exposure to the incision lines and scars from your facelift surgery may cause them to darken in color, or become hyperpigmented. This can cause surgical scars to become more visible, giving an undesirable appearance. The good news is that your cosmetic surgeon will hide these scars as best as possible, usually within the creases of your ears, making them easy to protect from the sun.
When Sunlight is Unavoidable
During the first few months after having your facelift it is important to stay vigilant towards sun avoidance. While it is understandable that it is impossible to stay out of the sun completely, by adhering to the following recommendations you will help mitigate any negative effect the sun may contribute to.
Use a broad spectrum high SPF sunscreen on your incision lines and scars. It is recommended that you choose one that is at least 30 SPF, but going higher won’t hurt. Wear protective clothing as well. This may be in the form of a wide-brimmed hat, a shawl, or anything else that you see fit to completely block out the sun’s rays from your face. Wearing sunglasses with 100% UV protection will also help protect the skin around the eyes, especially if you have also undergone a complementary eyelid lift procedure (blepharoplasty) to your facelift. Using all of these recommendations in conjunction will provide you with the best defence in direct sunlight.
Preparing for the Long Term
To help maintain you’re your newly acquired youthful appearance for long term it is essential that you maintain a daily skincare regimen. This is involves using skin moisturizers that contain a modest SPF rating. Excessive sun exposure can lead to the accelerated development of wrinkles, brown spots, and fine lines when not properly guarded against. This is especially important for those who have had a facelift, as these negative effects from sun damage will certainly counteract your facelift results.
If you are interested in cosmetic surgery to improve your appearance, Dr. Matt Hershcovitch is an experienced plastic surgeon who can help your reach your aesthetic goals. Schedule a consultation in Westlake, CA at (805)371-0004 or in West Hills, CA at (818) 888-7878.