There is a fine line that must be walked when it comes to sun exposure. Too much or too little sun can impact our health in more ways than one. The sun is the ultimate source of Vitamin D, an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to overall well-being. Getting enough Vitamin D helps to regulate your mood, gives you energy and boosts your immune system. Just fifteen minutes a day, for fair-skinned people, will produce a significant amount of Vitamin D in the body. While there are other ways to get Vitamin D, such as supplements and certain foods, the sun will always be the best way to keep your Vitamin D at a healthy level.
So, why are we telling you all this information about the benefits of the sun? It is simply because we want you to know that we do not advocate avoiding the sun like you would the plague. For the most part, this blog post, and many others, talk about how harmful the sun can be to your skin. While this is totally true, we have to elaborate on the issue and say that it is over-exposure of sun that you have to worry about.
After having a cosmetic procedure, it is critical to be diligent in protecting yourself from the sun. A long day on the beach can have consequences for years to come. Don’t worry! With a little planning and care, you can still enjoy all of the benefits of the sun while stopping the adverse impacts it can create after surgery.
Too much sun causes the skin to become vulnerable
You cannot live your life shut indoors, but you can protect yourself when you are outside. This is especially true if you have recently undergone a cosmetic procedure. Our skin is already a delicate organ, and cosmetic procedures increase its sensitivity. This is true for all types of procedures, surgical and non-surgical.
Anti-aging treatments such as laser resurfacing, chemical peels, and micro-needling are, in essence, an intentional trauma to the skin. By damaging the skin, the body is jolted into healing mode and begins producing collagen. The new buildup of collagen is what smooths out the skin and restores a youthful appearance.
However, during this healing process, the skin is extremely sensitive and is more prone to ultraviolet (UV) radiation absorption. Overexposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun can rapidly age the skin and cause dullness and dryness. This is in strict contradiction to what facial cosmetic procedures are trying to accomplish.
Too much sun causes discoloration
Surgical procedures, such as a facelift, neck lift or tummy tuck, are going to leave behind scars. An exposed scar is more susceptible to sunburn, which may lead to discoloration. You could be left with a dark incision that will not fade and will be much more noticeable than a normal scar. It is recommended that you keep scars away from the sunlight for the first year after a procedure.
With that being said, Vitamin D is essential for wound healing. This is where it can get a little tricky. Yes, you want to cover up your scar when you are in the sunlight, but you do not want to neglect the rest of your skin. If you have had a facelift, it is good to wear a large hat that blocks the sun from the face while letting the lower half of your body soak in the rays. But, don’t stay out too long. Ten to fifteen minutes is plenty of time to get the Vitamin D you need.
After that time, the exposure to the sun becomes more problematic. While a short time in the sun can boost your immune system, over-exposure can actually weaken it. A weakened immune system can lead to slow wound healing, which increases the risk of infection. Infection can stop the healing process completely, making recovery time and complications a much bigger issue. Severe infections could also lead to additional surgeries and hospitalizations.
Protect yourself
When you head outside to reload on Vitamin D, always make sure you are using protection. Even during cloudy and overcast days, the sun’s rays can cause damage to the skin. You should use a facial moisturizer with sunscreen underneath your normal makeup, and make sure you use SPF of at least 30 on the rest of your body.  Wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats while you are out and be sure to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day, which is around the noontime hour. If you are swimming or doing activities that cause you to sweat, be sure to reapply every thirty minutes. Even water-proof sunscreen needs to be reapplied throughout the day. If you have more questions about how to protect your skin from the sun or want to know more about the procedures we talked about in this blog, please contact our office today!