Tanning and Breast Reduction?

I'm wondering if tanning will have a negative impact on my BR scars and how long after surgery I should wait to tan? Are there any products I could apply to my incisions to block the UV rays?

Doctor Answers 8

Tanning after breast reduction

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Tanning can be harmful to scars for a full year after surgery.  If you are going to get in the sun or lay in the tanning bed make sure your breasts are covered with a high spf sunscreen, zinc oxide.  If you do not, the scars may come in raised and hyperpigmented. I hope this helps you.

Kindest regards,

Neil j. Zemmel

Tanning post op

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Keep the sun away from scars is your best bet. Scars behave differently in different people and can become too dark permanently (hyperpigmentation or dyschromia) if exposed to the sun. Or as you mentioned it may stay white while your skin tans around it. Better to spray tan if you want to hide it. Definitely use a strong SPF (>30) sunscreen on it even though it is hidden by your bathing suit as some sun goes through the fabric.

Tanning and breast reduction?

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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. 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 28 reviews

Tanning and breast reduction

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Some of our breast reduction patients are the happiest that we have in the practice. These are the women with significant bra strapping, back and neck pain. If you are going to reduce the size of the breast significantly, you most likely will have scars. Scars are permanent. They end to fade over time. We have our patients keep the scars away from UV light, and use scar cream.  We can talk about scar revision, but usually wait at least a year.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Tanning is not recommended before or after surgery

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As you are aware, tanning is harmful in many ways and  I do not recommend tanning however, the scars should be covered if you plan on tanning.  Covering your incision with a band-aid, using a thin strip of colored tape and also applying sun block containing zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide are ways to cover the incision/scar.  It's best to wait 6 months before you are exposing your scars to sunlight.  I hope this helps.  

Mitchell F. Grasseschi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Tanning after Breast Reduction?

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Thank you for the question.

Most dermatologists and plastic surgeons will tell you that it is best not to “tan” ever,  given the potential for development of skin cancer. As far as the breast reduction scars are concerned, I would suggest that you give yourself one  year before exposing the scars to direct ultraviolet radiation.

 Best wishes.

Tanning and breast reduction scars

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I would avoid exposing your scars to the sun for at least a year. If you do then you should wear sun block because the scars may become hyperpigmented.

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

Tanning after Breast Reduction

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It is best to avoid sun and tanning for up to 6 months after surgery as the scars may become more pigmented (darker). This depends on your skin type and other factors. It would be good to completely block the scars with a physical barrier like thick medical tape as clothes can let UV rays through. It would better to not do ANY artifical tanning as it will damage your skin.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 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.