Are Spray Tans or Self Tanning Lotions Safe to Use on Tummy Tuck Scars?

I'm 32 years old and trying to take better care of my skin. I'm planning to really limit sun worshipping this summer. My tummy tucks scars will only be 6-7 months old this summer. But I still want to have that sun-kissed look. Will fake tans be okay on my scars or could they affect them in a negative way?

Doctor Answers 5

Tanning lotion

These lotions should have no effect on your scars. I would make sure the scars are covered at all times

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Tummy tuck scar

Although artificial tanners are safe, it is hard to say if it will make the scar look better. It may accumulate in the scar and actually make it more obvious. Try it and see, since  it will wash off in a few days. Your have nothing to lose by trying. Remember there is no suncreen in artificial tanners, so she need to use one also.

Vicki J. Levine, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

Spray tans are a safe way to "tan"

Spray tans are a safe way to "tan" your skin. Most of them use something called dihydroxyacetone which actually provides a very small SPF to the spray tanned skin. Keeping your scar out of the sun and sunburning will not only help it continue to improve in appearance but will also help reduce your risk for skin cancer if you are fair skinned.

Omar Ibrahimi, MD, PhD
Stamford Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Use of spray tanning agents on tummy tuck scars

At 6 to 7 months post tummy tuck it should be safe to apply a spray tanning agent or tanning lotion to the tummy tuck scar.  As with any topical agent if you note a rash or irritation with the product, it may be a sign of a contact allergy.  If this occurs, stop the agent and check with your doctor.  Best wishes.

Vincent D. Lepore, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Are spray tans or tanning lotions safe to use on tummy tuck scars?

Hello! Thank you for your question!  These will likely have no effect and safe to use once the incisions are fully healed. 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

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.