Can sunscreen & sweat get inside mini face-lift scar and cause infection?

Scar on left side, along hair line back of head/neck is very agitated, sore and raised after applying sunscreen and then jogging/walking. Lift was 7.5 months ago. This has happened several times before and seems to calm done after a few days of applying triple antibiotic cream.

Doctor Answers 15


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
The condition you're asking about isn't normal.  You may have an underlying problem that may or may not be related to the facelift.  E.g....sutures that failed to dissolve can be difficult to detect and can become irritated.  Ingrown hairs from the incision can do the same thing.  Other conditions such as psoriasis or eczema can cause the same thing.  Better see your surgeon for a look.

Scars irritated 7.5 months after facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
I generally recommend that you follow up with your surgeon.

Scar irritation after applying sun block on one side only may be another factor.  Generally skin sensitivities are bilateral, and in the areas of application.

You may also consider a scar thickening, hypertrophic scar or local skin ifection.  

Both of these conditions can be treated in the office, using a small steroid injection if a scar or antibiotic application, if an infection.

Again, follow up with your surgeon if it hasn't resolved.

Ernest Robinson, MD
Aliso Viejo Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Sunscreen irritation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
At 7.5 months after surgery, your incisions should be completely healed.  It is unlikely the sunscreen is getting into the incisions.  That being said, it sounds like your skin overall may be sensitive to that particular sunscreen.  I recommend you switch to a different brand.  A dermatologist may have good suggestions regarding a hypoallergenic sunscreen.  

Suggested Sunscreen Products Following Your Facelift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
It is always recommended to wear #sunscreen. Especially, following your #facelift procedure to conserve the last lasting results.
Perhaps, you may need to try a new type or brand. We suggest Elta MD, ZO skin care, or Skinmedica to mention a few.
The healing process in general can take up to one month for the majority of swelling to subside, incisions to close, sutures to come out, and for bruising to completely go away.
#Recovery time from a #facelift varies from person to person, but if you have any concern about the #healing process, it is best to call your board-certified surgeon or their medical staff and discuss those #concerns.

Irritation from sweat and sunscreen

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
At this point after surgery, an infection caused by sweat and /or sunscreen would be unlikely. the sunscreen could potentially irritate the sensitive skin and may be an allergy. I would try changing to  a different sunscreen and see if that helps. 

all the best

Sunscreen is your best friend

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi there.

Patients should stay out of the sun as much as possible, and always use a sunscreen (SPF > 20). Scars exposed to the sun (especially if sunburn develops) not only stay red longer but also may not fade as much as normally expected.

Sun protection is very important for the health of your skin pre-facelift and it’s especially important post-facelift. Sun exposure while the incision sites are still healing can cause them to darken or discolour, and that discoloration can be permanent. The first few weeks after your surgery, you need to avoid all sun exposure. Sunscreen or sunblock will protect your skin from the sun’s rays.

Make every effort to wear it daily and to reapply it often. If you’re outdoors, put it on every two hours. You might have to apply sunscreen more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming. Wearing a hat with a big brim and a pair of sunglasses will offer even more protection from the sun. Take care to continue applying the antibiotic cream to calm down the sore/raised scars.

Inflamed scar

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Scars may  sensitive to chemicals, sunlight and friction during the first year while they are mAturing and remodeling. If it is showing signs of irritation, try a different sunscreen. If it is becoming raised or firm, check with your doctor. Sometimes an injection into the scar with kenalog will help reverse the inflammatory process. 


{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
At 7.5 months everything should be completely healed.  Is it possible that you have a residual suture in place that is causing a relapsing infection?  You should have this scar inspected by your surgeon.  

Facelift scars

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
At  7.5 months out from a facelift, your scars should be healed and sunscreen or sweating should be no problem.

Irritated facelift scar

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
Hello.  Thank you for your question.  At 7.months following a facelift, it is extremely unlikely that the sunscreen is getting into the scar and causing infection.  However, you may be having a sensitivity reaction to some ingredient in the sunscreen.  I would suggest trying a different sunscreen to see if you have the same reaction.  You could also have a hypertrophic scar developing that may be inflamed and sensitive.  This could require a simple steroid injection to settle it down.  I would encourage you to see your surgeon and allow them to assess the problem and determine the best treatment, if any is needed. 

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.