Protecting the Skin from Sun Exposure after a Facelift

By Brian Kobienia, MD, FACS on October 01, 2019


Woman walking along the beachA facelift smooths and tightens the skin along the mid to lower face to minimize some of the most common signs of aging, including loose skin, saggy skin, wrinkles, and deep creases. Following a facelift procedure, there are many steps a person should take to promote healing and encourage successful surgical results.

One tip that Dr. Brian J. Kobienia stresses to our Minneapolis, MN, patients is avoiding sun exposure after a facelift. Sun exposure can slow down the healing process and may ultimately compromise the results of treatment.

Sun Exposure and Healing

The sun gives off UV rays that can burn and damage the skin, and, over time, increase the risk of skin cancer. These are reasons enough to avoid sun exposure. However, it is especially important that facelift patients avoid the sun while they are healing from their procedure. Sun exposure interferes with healing in a number of ways:

  • Sun exposure increases surgical swelling
  • Sun exposure further irritates already sensitive skin
  • UV rays can weaken the body’s ability to fight off infection
  • UV rays can slow down incision healing

Sun Exposure and Surgical Results

If a patient exposes the skin to the sun while healing from a facelift, it can compromise the long-term results of the procedure. UV rays do not just damage the top layer of the facial skin, but also the deeper layers of tissue beneath. Sun exposure is known to weaken skin elasticity and lead to the formation of lines, creases, and age spots. While a facelift will effectively tighten and smooth the skin for our Minneapolis patients, those who are exposed to the sun may notice that the signs of aging come back sooner rather than later.

Sun exposure can also compromise the appearance of surgical scars. With proper care, surgical scars should heal nicely. Most facelift scars are thin, smooth, and light, so they are easily hidden along the hairline or behind the ears. However, sun exposure can cause surgical scars to look thick, raised, and discolored, causing them to look much more obvious in appearance.

How Long Should I Avoid the Sun?

To protect the skin from damage and potential complications, our Minneapolis patients should stay out of the sun until they have completely healed from facelift surgery. Recovery timelines vary slightly for each individual, but it typically takes between four and six weeks for surgical incisions to heal. Even beyond this healing timeframe, we suggest that facelift patients minimize sun exposure as much as possible and take precautions to protect the skin from UV rays whenever they are outdoors.

Tips to Protect the Skin from UV Damage

It is great to spend time in nature and soak up vitamin D that the sun provides. However, even after patients have completely healed from facelift surgery, there are steps they should take to protect the skin from UV damage when they are outdoors.

  • Always wear sunscreen with UV protection
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to provide further protection to facial skin
  • Take breaks in the shade
  • Try to avoid being in the sun between 10am and 4pm, when UV rays tend to be strongest

Contact Us

Dr. Brian J. Kobienia offers a wide range of cosmetic services to address signs of aging and enhance a person’s natural beauty. If you are interested in learning more about a facelift or any of our other cosmetic treatments, contact us at your earliest convenience or call (952) 925-1111 to schedule a personal consultation.

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