The Risks of Too Much Sun Exposure After A Procedure

While too much sun exposure is always something to watch out for, plastic surgery patients should be even more careful. We will provide you with the post-operative directions you need most, but it is always helpful to understand the “Why.” The most common reason is the side effects of the sun. When you have just undergone a procedure, something as simple as exposure to the sun can lead to swelling, inflammation, scarring, and even burning. 

As professionals in our field, the staff at O’Neill Plastic Surgery knows how detrimental this can be. So, as we enter into the summer months of long days at the beach, we must explain the risks of too much sun exposure. 

Too Much Sun Exposure After A Procedure

Swelling & Inflammation

When you are in the sun too much after a procedure, there can be more swelling than expected. This is due to the blood vessels expanding in an attempt to increase blood flow and accelerate healing. The healing is due to the sun’s damage to the skin that your body is trying to repair. 

While you may naturally experience swelling due to a plastic surgery procedure, the sun makes this even worse. Not only does this apply to the sun, but it is also why a cold compress is preferred for recovery. 


Our team at O’Neill Plastic Surgery does a phenomenal job of preventing noticeable scars from your procedure. However, when you spend a lot of time in the sun, this can become an issue regardless of what our team does. This scar tissue is more sensitive to ultraviolet light and sun exposure, making the area even more prone to sunburns. 

The result is a more prominent scar that does not fade as quickly or as much. You may be wondering why that is. The sun can trigger an overproduction of pigment in the skin, causing the scar to heal darker. It is imperative to cover your scars with sunscreen before any sort of sun exposure, not just long days in the sun. 


While your scar is a sensitive skin area after a procedure, the skin surrounding the scar is also very susceptible to damage. Sunburns occur more frequently in this area as the skin is already weaker. Due to the skin’s sensitivity, burns in this area can be even more uncomfortable than a typical sunburn. You are already handling the recovery of a procedure. Adding pain from instances such as sunburns only makes this time more difficult. 

Damage To Collagen Production 

The protein collagen plays a vital role in healing the skin. It helps the area after a procedure during the recovery process. The UV from the sun can break down the collagen that supports the healing of firm skin. This is because a sunburn doesn’t just impact the top layer of skin; it goes even deeper, damaging the middle layer. 

Schedule A Procedure With O’Neill Plastic Surgery 

Make the most of your procedure! Protecting your skin is a pivotal part of that. By following this, you can avoid the implications of too much sun exposure that we’ve explained above. Are you preparing for a future procedure and focused on understanding post-operative directions? Our team can provide you with resources and information to be prepared. Check out our website or give us a call at (843) 881-2130 for more details. 

A picture of Patrick J. O’Neill, MD wearing his doctor attire.

About the Author

Upon completing medical school at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC, Dr. O’Neill completed nine years of residency training. These nine years included a full general surgery and a plastic surgery residency, both at the Medical University of South Carolina, and a hand and microsurgery fellowship at the Kleinert Institute for Hand and Microsurgery. Dr. O’Neill has extensive certifications, training, skills, and knowledge that make him a successful physician who can carry out your next plastic surgery procedure. His expertise and technique will result in the beautiful and natural look you desire post surgery.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Plastic Surgery
Sub-Certification in Hand and Microsurgery

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