For How Long Do I Have to Use a Sunscreen on my Upper Eyelid Surgery Scars?

My plastic surgeon told me to use a sunscreen on my upper blepharoplasty surgical scars. They are visible on the outer corner of each eye. I am 7 weeks post-op and the scars are still purple. How much longer should I use a sunscreen?

Doctor Answers 14

It is advised to use sunscreen on scars

It is advised to use sunscreen on scars until the scars have completely faded.  If they are still red or purplish, you should continue to use sunscreen on the area.  Of course it is always advisable to use sunscreen.  But particularly you should avoid sun completely on any bruising.  There are many different sunscreens on the market.  I recommend Elta MD as it is medical grade, non-chalky, and paraben free.

New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

How Long Do I Have to Use a Sunscreen on my Upper Eyelid Surgery Scars...

Care is needed with your blepharoplasty incision because it is a very sensative area.  Following a Blepharoplasty, sunscreen is very important because the sun can make the incision more red or dark in color, which can take several months to resolve.  You should apply it frequently on your upper eye lids for a period of 6 months after surgery.

Andrew Miller, MD
Edison Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 206 reviews

Sun Protection After Blepharoplasty

Sun protection after blepharoplast is important. 

  • Scars are sun/UV-sensitive for at least 6 months post-op.  Ultraviolet exposure can lead to scar thickening and pigmentation.
  • Sunscreen can be very irritating if it gets into the eyes.
  • The natural crease of the eyelid does offer some protection.
  • If you use makeup, choose a prooduct with built-in sun-block.
  • I recommend the use of sunglasses to protect the scars.

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Protecting your eyelid incisions from the sun

Sunscreen is always a good idea - it can help to prevent premature aging of the skin, as well as to protect you from sun-damage-related skin cancers. That being said, I rarely ask my patients to put suncreen on their upper eyelid incisions- this type of incision is generally protected in the natural lid crease when your eyes are open. The scars may be red for some weeks after surgery as part of the healing process, but then tends to settle down and fade to your natural skin color. I suspect you will begin to notice this change soon, but if your are concerned, you should not hesitate to speak with your surgeon about this.

Katherine A. Lane, MD
South Burlington Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Use sunscreen until eyelid scars turn skin color

I tell my eyelid surgery patients to use sunscreen, on their incisions, until they turn the same color as their skin.  If your eyelid surgery incisions are purple, they're still healing and sun exposure will not help them heal.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Blepharoplasty and sunscreen

Protecting immature scars from UV exposure is always a good idea.  Having said that, sunscreen can be very irritating if it gets into the eyes.  With perspiration and rubbing of your eyelids this is more frequent a problem than not.  Furthermore, the natural creases of your lids often will conceal your scars from sun exposure.  Stay practical minimize exposure if possible for 6 monhts and use sunglasses/shades.

Chen Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Sunscreen keeps scars camouflaged.

In general, I recommend sunscreen be applied to all incision sites (once they've healed) for a period of six-months after surgery.  The rationale for this is that scars exposed to the sun have a tendency to get very tanned (hyper-pigment) initially and in some instances bleach-out/turn white (hypo-pigment) later on.  This obviously draws attention to the scars and makes them extremely visible.

That being said, eyelids are a privileged site in the sense that the incision is well hidden and nearly always heals beautifully.  Only in very rare circumstances do eyelid scars hyper- or hypo-pigment (increase or decrease in their darkness).  The only times I've seen this is amongst patients who use tanning salons and do not use eye protection, or in patients who spend a lot of time sunbathing - both of which are bad ideas if you want to stay looking youthful and prevent skin cancer. 

Bottom line, if you don't live in an extremely sunny climate and don't spend much time in the sun, then you can likely skip the sunscreen on your eyelids and wear eye-covering sunglasses.  If you do live where it's really sunny, enjoy many outdoor activities, or simply want to keep your skin looking its best, then you should be using a skin moisturizer with sunscreen (Sun Protection Factor-SPF 30 or greater) that can also be applied to your eyelids - this will keep your skin looking young, help prevent skin cancer, and finally, keep your incisions looking inconspicuous. 

Michael G. Brandt, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon

For how long do I have to use a sunscreen on my upper eyelid surgery scars?

Hello! Thank you for your question! After any surgical procedure, you should be careful with incisions as well as avoidance of direct UVA and UVB rays in order to lessen the chance for hyperpigmentation of the skin and scars, which can take several months to resolve, if it ever does. Sunblock is recommended regardless. The ability of the affected area to heal has been slowed and you should try to avoid additional swelling to the area. The area will likely be numb for several weeks to months and will be difficult to feel when sunburn is coming on.

Typical recommendations include wearing a hat and/or sunblock to the affected area for at least 6-12 weeks following the procedure. It takes up to one year for scars to fully mature. You should also avoid trauma to the area for several months to protect the refinements made during the procedure. Also, avoidance of pools/lakes/jacuzzis/etc for 4-6 weeks is usually recommended to allow adequate healing and protection from stagnant water, that could potentially harbor bacteria. Lifting/exercise restrictions are common for at least 7 weeks. Certainly discuss the postoperative instructions with your surgeon, as thoughts differ among surgeons. Hope that this helps! Best wishes!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Eyelid Surgery

You should use sunscreen indefinitely unless you are using UVA/UVB protected eye glasses.  Your skin should have some kind of UV protection, either mechanically or chemically.  This will protect your investment and assist in prevention of further damage.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Sunscreen on scars after Surgery

Of course it is a good idea to apply sunscreen to any sunexposed area on a daily basis.  Scars can very rarely develop darkness or hyperpigmentation so I tell patients to be very careful about sunexposure and apply sunscreen to the scars at least for the first year.   Some redness to a scar 7 weeks after surgery is normal and it will usually fade by 3 months. 

James C. Marotta, MD
Long Island Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 79 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.