Breast Augmentation - Oily Skin 3 Weeks Post-op. What Caused It and when Will It Clear?

Prior to my op, I had normal skin, but since my breast augmentation (3 weeks post-op) I still have severly oily skin. What caused this and how long does it last. Can I safely assume it was caused by anesthetics and will wear off or clear up? I know this may seem like a silly concern, but there is a level of confidence gained from having breast augmentation - without having to deal with skin changes that lower that confidence. I do hope this can be answered, please.

Doctor Answers 5

Change in skin after surgery--this is "normal."

Surgery and anesthesia (and medicines used for your procedure) all can have secondary effects, and skin dryness or oiliness are two of those potential responses. Furthermore, your body reacts to the "stress" of surgery by the release of potent adrenocortical hormones, and we all know hormones can change the secretion of skin oils (think puberty and acne!) until things return to normal. In addition, many surgeons (myself included) use intravenous steroids to reduce swelling, post-operative nausea, and to increase the general feeling of well-being after surgery. Here is one more reason to cause skin oil secretion.

Add to this the surgical skin scrub with potent antibacterials, and the "normal" skin, sweat galnd, and hair follicle bacteria are significantly changed, and these things can also affect the amount and duration of oil secretion.

What you are describing is not only normal, but will just as certainly (gradually) return to your pre-operative degree of skin dryness over time. The problem is that each patient's response is individual in length of duration and severity of degree, so it's hard to be honest about how long this will take--the correct answer is just a guess. You should be seeing the oiliness reducing already, but it may take a few weeks more for things to fully return to normal, and stressing about it only worsens the issue (see adrenocortical hormone discussion above!)  becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Relax and be confident! Best wishes!

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Oily Skin 3 Weeks Post-op. When Will It Clear? Answr:

I have seen this frequently, usually with patients reporting oily skin just like you or with a break out of their skin in the cleavage area....I'm not sure of the cause (swelling, anesthesia, less aggressive washing cause it hurts!!!) but it does go away after a few weeks more and some of my patients have had success with Oxy-wash during this time...

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Oily skin after breast augmentation

Getting dry skin in the area of surgery is more common than getting oily.  Whenever our body experiences stress (surgery), it may get dry or oily.   However, it should not last long.  If it persists, you should see a dermatologist.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Oily skin after breast augmentation

The skin can react to surgery in all different ways. Sometimes it gets dry and sometiems it gets oily. If it persists, I would go to a dermatologist to be evaluated.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

“Oily Skin” after Breast Augmentation?

Thank you for the question.

Unfortunately, I have not seen or heard of your situation after breast augmentation. Therefore, I do not know if it is directly related to surgery and/or anesthesia. I do  think it will be unlikely that this will be a long-term problem for you however.

If you find that this does persist, consultation with a well experienced dermatologist may be helpful.

Sorry I do not have a better answer for you.


Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,484 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.