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How Long Should I Wait to Tan After a Tummy Tuck?

I am 4 months post op as of march 14th and with spring just around the corner was hoping I would be able to start tanning in April or may.

Doctor Answers (9)

Avoid tanning


For about a year the Tummy Tuck scar might get tanned and remain dark forever while the rest of the skin does not, that area is very sensitive and should avoid the sun, but if it cant be helped it is best to use Melarase creams to avoid darker skin tanning.

Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 119 reviews

Melarase creams on a dark tummy tuck scar


Great question. If you are concerned about pigmentation after a tummy tuck incision, then I would recommend that you use the Melarase creams for at least a few months as a topical skin lightener for your scar. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

How Long Should I Wait to Tan After a Tummy Tuck?


A tan is a skin response to injury. Scars are quite sensitive to ultraviolet radiation from the sun (or tanning bulbs) and it does occasionally happen that if a scar gets "tanned" during the first year, it may remain permanently dark. 

That is one of many reasons to avoid tanning. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

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Tanning beds and plastic surgery? PLEASE NO!


Thank you your question.  The right answer to your question is to avoid tanning beds, period.  Sorry to be harsh but tanning beds lead to premature aging and worse, skin cancers.  Just to show you how bad it is, it is now illegal in Canada for the under 18's.  Try to picture yourself in 10 years and having to have 1-2 facial scars every 1-2 years for the removal of skin cancers...  Please, avoid the tanning beds.  Use good sunscreens (Dr. Zein Obagi ZO skin health products or DCL), UVA and UVB blocks.  There are also great self-tanners in cream or spray, or invest in good make-up with bronzing powder.  Dr. Marc DuPere, toronto plastic surgeon, board-certified.

Marc DuPéré, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
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Tummy tuck and tanning


You can tan everything but the scar without concern within a couple of weeks after surgery. As other surgeons stated, the scar itself can hyperpigment especially if you have Mediterranean or darker skin.  Hyperpigmentation can take a long time to resolve. Probably the only scar visible will be the one around the belly button, which could be handled with sunscreen.  We have published research in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery that demonstrates that UV light ( the light that produces tanning and sun damage) does not increase the amount of scarring, but as I said will cause pigmentation.

In summary, I would not be concerned about tanning in 3 months.


Thomas A. Mustoe, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Tanning & Tummy Tucks


I would agree with my colleagues and would definitely avoind tanning for the first 3 months. If your scar is still pink and you still decide to tan, cover the area or it will remain pink / red permanently.

Maisam Fazel, MBBChir, FRCS
London Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Tanning after an abdominoplasty


The skin of your abdomen will be most sensitive to sun exposure for the first 3 months.  If  you want to tan be sure to protect your scars.  If a pink scar gets tanned then it is likely to stay dark permanently.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tanning after tummy tuck


Strictly speaking, a medical professional just can't tell you tanning is ever safe. After tummy tuck, as long as your scar is pink and reactive, often a year after, the scar can tend to pigment. Keeping those areas covered is a must.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

TT and tanning


You should understand that tanning is not recommended due to the UV damage that it does.  However, that said, if you must tan, you should not get sun on the incision if it is still red or pink, as it will tend to form a permanently brown line. 

You can shield the incision with clothes or tapes, or swimsuit. 

Scott E. Kasden, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.