How Soon Can I Tan After Liposuction?

I am getting liposuction on my thighs and going on vacation two months later. How soon after the surgery can I return to indoor tanning to prepare for my trip?

Doctor Answers 9

How soon can I tan after liposuction? That's about like asking "How soon can I drive fast and take chances?"

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Don't get me wrong, I also like the "golden goddess" look of bronzed skin, and am envious of my naturally darker-pigmented friends and patients. But ultraviolet radiation, in any form, is harmful and damaging to skin! I know that 15 minutes of ultraviolet exposure per day is considered "OK" in order for your body to produce Vitamin D, but that can also be obtained from vitamins, fortified milk, or everyday outdoor activity. Tanning, even the "indoor" variety of electric beach tanning booths, causes wrinkles, skin growths, and skin cancers. There is no "good" ultraviolet--UV-A is just less-harmful than UV-B. Just look at your mother's or grandmother's decolletage area--the spots, moles, growths, wrinkles, and overall aging effects are clearly seen when compared to covered skin of the breasts, or other areas! This is obvious in most all of us, so it's not just a few "severe tan abusers," it's in anyone who thinks that looking good on the beach requires "preparing for their trip." Add the fact that incompletely mature scars or any residual bruises can be permanently turned brown by even minimal ultraviolet exposure, and this is really an easy answer to "How soon after surgery can I return to tanning?" The answer is: "NEVER!"

Instead, use one of the better self-tanning creams or lotions, or consider a mist-type spray tan to obtain the desired bronze color, and then use the highest SPF sunscreen you can find that your skin "likes." You can still be the golden goddess, and have youthful radiant skin in a decade or two when all of your tanned friends are bemoaning their growths, wrinkles, or skin cancers! My partner and I feel so strongly about this that we are considering adding spray tanning to our skin and body care clinics!

I know, some people think the self-tanners or the "misty tan" cause a orange or artificial look. For some people this may be true depending on the product or choice of spray tan retailer. I can absolutely tell you that it is worth the effort to find a product or spray tan location that does a great job of giving a natural look and proper color! That way, you can have it both ways--great color, and undamaged skin! (And, scars that fade over time instead of being a beacon of what you had done.)

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Don't Tan After Liposuction – Or Before. Or Ever.

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If you get liposuction on your thighs and go on vacation two months later, your full results may not yet be visible. However, you should see some benefits by then and the postoperative bruising and swelling should have resolved. You can also look into noninvasive fat-removal techniques, such as ThermiTight, Vanquish and CoolSculpting. These also take months before final results are appreciated but usually have quicker recovery times.


As for tanning: Don't do it! Ever. If you want to “prepare” for a sun-soaked vacation, stock up on sun screen, buy a becoming hat and bathing-suit cover up, and make sure you can rent an umbrella or cabana on the beach. I treat skin cancer every day in my practice. It can be deadly. If you look up the definition of tanning it is “the art and science of turning skin or hides into leather.” Do not take the risk. Learn to appreciate your alabaster skin (or whatever color skin you have) and protect it. Safety first, beauty second. Please consult a board-certified dermatologist to find out how best to remove the fat on your thighs and to learn more about protecting your skin from sun damage and/or cancer.

Mitchel P. Goldman, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

You skin will be more sensitive to sun after liposuction

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Thank you for the question.  To be on the safe side I would wait a couple of months prior to any tanning.  When you do resume I would be very careful and only briefly exposie yourself to sun.  For skin health reasons you may want to consider spray tanning instead.  This of course a personal decision and some people just need sun expsure to feel good.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Sun exposure after liposuction

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You're asking a dermatologist who deals with skin cancer all day long, when it's OK to tan...Never!     Use sunscreen and sun avoidance techniqes. For recent surgical scars, they should be covered with UVA / UVB sunscreens.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

How soon can I tan after liposuction?

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Two months after liposuction should be OK to tan.  The scars from liposuction are quite small and shouldn't be greatly affected.  I would recommend still using sunscreen and keep reapplying every hour or so.  Your skin where you had the liposuction done may be more sensitive to sunlight, so start tanning carefully and less that what you would normally do.

Stanley Castor, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Tanning after liposuction

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There really is no specific time limit to avoid tanning. In general tanning is not good for the skin, but if you so choose to do it, I would cover the incision sites or at least use a sun block to avoid hyperpigmentation.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Tanning And New Scars

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Sun exposure and UV radiation can cause sun burns on normal skin. Scars are immature and don't have the level of protection that normal skin has from birth.  Thus you need to be careful with any scar for a full year from the procedure. Early sun exposure can result in pigmentation of the scar making it darker and more noticeable. Thus, you must cover the scar or use liberal amounts of sunscreen to help limit the UV effect. Fortunately, liposuction leaves very small scars and this will not be a major concern.  Tanning should be stopped for at least 4-6 weeks with the areas covered with a band-aid when tanning resumes.

Best of luck

Vincent Marin, MD, FACS

San Diego Plastic Surgeon

Vincent P. Marin, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Tanning after liposuction, with caution

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Your response to the sun after liposuction will depend on the resolution of bruising, and any skin irritation or pinkness, which we sometimes see in thin skin such as the inner thighs. After two months you should be good to go, however it is not unusual to be more sun sensitive for up to a year after, so watch your skin and start slowly.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Tanning after Liposuction...

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Healing after liposuction usually doesn't take much time.  In general it may take less then a week until you may return to work and other daily activities, depending on the extent of the surgery.  As for tanning, even though as a physician I can't advocate it, it's better to wait two weeks after surgery or until all the bruising is gone.  Also, you need to cover the incisions from the liposuction for a few weeks while tanning to help with healing and to decrease redness.


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.