Top 3 Spray Tanning Instructions – Time Frames for Spray Tanning After Breast Surgery
Are there any guidelines or rules in relation to how soon you can spray tan scars after having surgery?
Patients frequently ask IF it’s OKAY to either SPRAY TAN or sun-tan on incision lines after having breast or body contouring surgery. They may even think that sun tanning or spray tanning will help reduce the visibility of their post-operation breast scars. But often it makes the scar become more visible or more pronounced. This does, of course, depend upon your skin tone and how your skin responds when it is exposed to the sun. But in relation to timing guidelines for early sun exposure OR spray tanning just after having breast surgery, the answer is profoundly: NO. You need to wait, and understand the risks of premature sun exposure or tanning chemicals on fresh incision lines.
Recovery after Breast Surgery – How Soon You Can Spray-Tan
If you’re recovering from breast surgery, you will need to wait an adequate period of time before attempting to tan your skin. That’s because you need to protect your incision lines (which become scars as they heal) from:
- bacteria and other skin infections
- sun exposure that impedes with scar healing
- dangerous chemical substances
- bacterial risks
Find out more about Spray Tanning Time-frames after Breast Augmentation Surgery in this article originally published July 2016; updated in October 2018.
Key factors to consider in relation to waiting times before spray tanning after plastic surgery or breast surgery are: (1) wound risks/wound healing and (2) scar formation/incision line maturation.
- Wound healing requires avoiding dangerous bacteria and chemicals – as well as keeping the sutured area clean and dry.
- Scar formation means NOT doing anything that will put your incisions at risk of poor healing, jagged scar formations or a more visible scar colour.
- Subjecting your maturing scars to sunlight or spray tanning chemicals can do just that – it can worsen your scars for the longer-term as well as impede your healing. Patience is required.
- On the up side, avoiding the sun on your newly augmented chest area means that your decolletage skin will experience less premature skin ageing sun exposure! (We hope you’ll keep this in mind for future years as well, even when it is okay to tan where you’ve had an incision for breast implants or a breast lift/breast reduction).
Spray Tanning Timelines for After Breast Augmentation
Check with your recommended Plastic Surgeon for details. Always follow the specific advice given to you BY your specific Surgeon, rather than general information you read in blogs. In general, however, the answer to “How soon can I spray tan after having surgery” is ideally to wait at least 6 months just to be sure those incision lines are fully healed.
For sun exposure on incision lines, you should ideally wait at least 12 months or longer, because UVA and UVB exposure actually impacts the skin’s regeneration processes.
- You should NOT spray tan or get sun exposure on fresh incision lines
- Spray tan ONLY when your doctor says it’s okay AND only when your incision lines are fully healed (wait until you’re fully recovered).
- You should avoid the sun for at least 1 year as your scars mature and settle
- Click here to read about SUN EXPOSURE and how long you should wait before getting sun rays on your scars.
- You need to protect your incision lines and stay out of the sun to minimise your scars after having surgery.
More about spray tanning or getting sun exposure on fresh surgery scars after Breast Augmentation or other Breast or Tummy Surgery (or any cosmetic procedure, for that matter)
Here’s what you’ll need to know to help keep your Breast Surgery Recovery process at it’s best when you’re thinking about spray-tanning procedures after surgery.
Spray Tanning of the Body After Implant Surgery and other Breast Procedures
The ability to enhance, lift or augment your body, face or breast shape – surgically or non-surgically – is a rewarding aspect of having so many cosmetic choices available today. These options range from wearing makeup, having unwanted hair removed, getting your facial skin pores refined with lasers – and surgical augmentation or reshaping of the breasts via a breast lift, nipple reshaping or reduction procedure.
But surgery is a complex process that requires adequate research, understanding and consideration before proceeding. It also requires good follow-up care advise, including what you CAN and SHOULDN’T do after getting breast implants. And one of those is avoiding activities and products that can increase the risks of healing poorly or “scarring badly” after plastic surgery.
The tenets of having a good surgery recovery and surgery experience with Breast Augmentation include:
- doing your research on how to recover in a healthy way (ask us for the Guide by calling 03 8849 1444).
- understanding the surgical procedure, surgery costs, risks, scars and recovery time
- having your procedure performed by a skilled and experienced Specialist Plastic Surgeon rather than a doctor or dentist who went into cosmetic surgery WITHOUT RACS training or FRACS qualifications
- choosing to have your procedure in a fully accredited Australian hospital or renowned Clinic using experienced Anaesthetists (Melbourne or Sydney rather than risking unfamiliar water bacteria overseas)
- knowing how to reduce some preventable surgery risks and who can handle complications (for example, you should never smoke if you are having surgery – not before or after surgery – as it impacts your results and you should avoid medical tourism and flying too soon after having surgery – this can be dangerous).
AFTER BREAST SURGERY – how soon can you spray tan?
You’re having the breast surgery (or just had the surgery) – you’ve long wanted. You’ve finally taken the plunge to gain the cleavage, size or breast reshaping you long desired.
Now, you can’t wait to SPRAY TAN your new body shape and breast curves.
But wait – what do you need to know first before you decide to spray tan again?
After getting breast surgery (the colloquial “boob job”), how soon can you Spray Tan?
Before we answer that question, let’s remind ourselves that tanning is NOT the healthiest of choices any of us make.
We all know that getting a tan isn’t healthy and leads to many problematic risks, such as prematurely ageing skin (especially in the Australian sun) and skin cancer risk elevation.
But what about spray tanning as a solution? Is it any better? And HOW SOON is too soon to get a spray tan after your breast enlargement surgery?
- Firstly, the safety record of spray tanning is not established. The DHA chemicals have properties that can prove toxic and unhealthy to your skin and body or lungs – it’s not an ideal scenario to inhale them during a spray tanning session, and even their skin penetration safety has been questioned by medical researchers.
- DHA has been found to lead to more free radicals and accelerated skin ageing, as well as health risks.
- Many spray tanning salons are also lax about eye protection and mouth and nose protection.
- So be sure if you DO ever spray tan, that you understand the RISKS – do your research and be sure your clinic protects your nose, mouth and eyes from spray.
Some of the chemicals in spray tanning products are known to cause health concerns or increase cancer risks.
- This phenomenon of spray tanning may help eliminate some risks of skin cancer by providing an alternative method to achieve a healthy looking glow OTHER than lying in the sun for hours at a time.
- But spray tanning is NOT necessarily proven to be safe. In fact, there doesn’t appear to be extensive research into spray-tanning-product-safety in relation to skin wounds or scars; certainly you need to avoid spray tans after surgery at LEAST until your wounds are fully healed and UNTIL your Surgeon advises you it may be safe to resume your spray-tanning rituals or appointments.
- Also, be sure you avoid all sun exposure on your scars for at least 12 months until they mature, as sun often makes scars look worse.
What ingredients and chemicals are used in spray tanning? Will it impact on your scars?
Definition and chemicals used in Spray Tanning Solutions or Salons
- Spray Tanning solutions are administered using air-assisted spray gun equipment.
- The solutions are often composed of Dihydroxyacetone or DHA, the active ingredient used to enhance or deepen and darken the skin tone to achieve skin staining results.
- DHA itself is void of color, is sugar based, and often used in the form of an airbrushing solution applied topically by lotions.
- Definition of Dihydroxyacetone: Dihydroxyacetone is a ketone that reacts with the amino acids on the surface of your skin, specifically the stratum corneum of the epidermis, to create a tan-like effect.
Dangers of Spray Tanning Solutions and DHA
- Potential problems identified with using self-tanning solutions and/or DHA-based spray tanning solutions included vitamin-D level disruption, contact dermatitis, inhalation of small particles impacting lung health, eye irritation, skin damage and more.
- Scientific research into consumer-safety in terms of DHA – read more here.
How does spray tanning work best after you get a breast enlargement with implants?
- Spray Tanning is not recommended too early after surgery and may not be safe at any time.
- Do your research into spray tanning products before making your decision.
- If you DO proceed, know that spray tans are most effective when you closely follow the PRE-tan and POST-tanning-treatment instructions of your tanning Clinician. This may include skin buffing, skin moisturing and other advice to encourage a more even application of the spray tanning-product.
However, if you have had a recent breast augmentation procedure, you’ll want to follow your SURGEON’s advice on whether or not it’s too soon to get a spray tan (or use other self-tanning products on your surgery scars).
DON’T try spray tanning too soon after surgery or you could harm your health AND your surgery results.
Still going ahead with spray tanning after breast or body surgery?
Keeping these TANNING TIPS in mind will aid you in your recovery and well being after your Breast Augmentation or Body Contouring Procedure.
3 Spray Tanning tips before your Breast Augmentation or other Cosmetic Plastic Surgery:
#1 – STOP using TANNING products 2 weeks BEFORE your surgery
- STOP cosmetic tanning or spray tanning AT LEAST 14 days prior to your cosmetic surgery appointment.
- Why? Your Surgeon wants your skin tone as close to its normal colour (tone) as possible prior to your surgery – and with NO extra chemicals or bacteria on the skin that might add to infection risks.
#2 – EXFOLIATE regularly BEFORE your procedure
- Continue to EXFOLIATE the residual tanning products from your skin up until about two days before your surgery.
- Avoid harsh exfoliating products and scented/perfumed products.
- Your Surgeon will give you other specific instructions for additional skin preparation, if needed, PRIOR to your surgery date.
- This may include certain types of soaps or other washes or even low level light treatments in certain situations.
#3 – STAY OUT OF THE SUN BEFORE & AFTER HAVING SURGERY – SUN EXPOSURE AND SCARS DON’T MIX WELL
- Stay out of the sun- we know if you are used to being tan, not being tan can be challenging.
- However, keeping your skin as healthy as possible is VITAL to the overall effectiveness of healing for your surgery.
- Adverse skin conditions such as being severely sun-burned OR allowing old spray tan solutions to remain on your skin can make your skin itchy and irritated; this is DEFINITELY not ideal when you are healing from a surgery.
- The ASPS also recommends avoiding sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm when UV intensity is the highest.
Additional Spray Tanning Tips and Cautions for AFTER your Breast Augmentation Surgery
- Your skin is a protective barrier for your entire body, including other organs.
- It is made up of many layers.
- Skin undergoes changes and renews itself – it also works to repair itself after penetration or injury such as a surgical incision.
- Skin repair processes leave a scar where the incision or penetration/injury was made.
- It’s helpful to understand this because it has an impact on your incision line healing after having breast augmentation or reduction surgery.
Illustration of the Epidermis and skin including underlying structures.
Open area of the body from wounds, surgeries, cuts or lacerations are considered to be transitional skin healing areas.
Some are deep, some are shallow. But any penetration of the skin means the skin is at risk of becoming easily infected.
Here’s a GRAPHIC demonstrating the natural process of incision or wound healing.
SPRAY TANNING solutions are NOT sterile.
Neither are the environments they tend to be performed in. For patient safety during healing after surgery, avoid spray tanning and sun exposure and take proper care of your incision lines/surgical wounds and scars.
- The thing to be most keenly aware of is that SPRAY TANNING solutions are NOT sterile.
- Tanning Solutions used in spray tanning salons tend to consist of an occlusive water and sugar-based solution, where the active form of DHA needs to SET on the your skin 8 to 12 hours for maximum effectiveness.
- This is not conducive to freshly healing skin after a surgical procedure such as breast augmentation.
Avoid SUN exposure on fresh scars until they mature (up to 12 months or longer) and DO NOT SPRAY TAN your incision lines.
In fact, spray tanning any part of the body could compromise your wounds after having surgery.
Don’t spray tan until your Surgeon gives you the all-clear to do so, and make sure your incisions are truly 100% healed.
If you do spray tan, it could impact your overall scar development and infection risks.
What this means in terms of Tanning and your Breast Surgery scars:
Keep in mind that surgically-impacted tissue (including incisions or scars) may REACT DIFFERENTLY TO (or REJECT) the tanning color.
- This occurs because the skin’s primary function after a breast augmentation is to heal.
Your incision will tend to end up a different color than your other skin, naturally. This is normal as your body is healing from the surgery and as the tissue has been changed by the incision.
The area of incision, whether you’re Surgeon has inserted the implant through your underarm, areola, or under the breast (infra-mammary crease incisions) , may NOT color as darkly as the rest of your skin – because the skin itself it a different color initially, and where the scar is, it likely always will be slightly different in colour or tone and texture to your other skin, meaning it will look different tanned or otherwise.
And the breast surgery scar may even become MORE noticeable if you apply self-tanning or spray-tanning products to your skin (but this can vary depending on a number of factors).
For BEST spray-tanning results after Breast Surgery:
- Wait until your incision area has completely healed before resuming any aesthetic, cosmetic tanning activity.
- Wait until you are comfortable enough to hold your arms in place and move them around easily, including over your head.
- Your Surgeon will give you specific instruction involving stages of healing and if you are keen to spray tan, ask for their opinion on when it’d be okay or less risky to do so.
- Understand the risks and warnings about the dangers of spray tanning chemicals.
Support Garments including good sports bras during your post-op healing are crucial to getting great Breast Augmentation result
- Keep in mind that Spray Tanning involves dressing-down (taking off supportive garments) which are crucial to getting a good result from a Breast Augmentation, Breast Reduction or Breast Lift.
- You’ll want to keep your new breasts and healing and recovery processes optimal by NOT spending time out of your recommended garments until you’ve been instructed that it’s okay to do so (and Our Surgeons insist you wear a quality sports bra all the time to keep your new breasts – e.g. your breast tissue and implants – adequately supported).
- Remember that with a tan, you may be tempted to wear swimwear or lingerie that ISN’T going to support your new larger breasts!
Is it safe to Spray Tan or Tan after your “Boob Job” Breast Augmentation Surgery?
Not a good idea. In fact, can lead to complications if you do this too soon. Ask your surgeon for details, but most Surgeons recommend NOT getting sun, tanning lotions or spray tanning for at least several months after your surgery or up to a year. Other Surgeons may clear you to do so after a few months; check with YOUR surgeon to find out more, as this information is general and does not constitute medical advice.
Dangers of Spray Tanning after Having Breast Augmentation Surgery with Breast Implants, or even a Breast Reduction or Breast Lift with incision lines that are still healing – wait until the scars have fully healed.
In general, problems with spray tanning a surgery scar or fresh incision line/surgery wound may include:
- Spray Tanning solution is moist – and as mentioned above, it needs to set on your skin.
- Wrapping and unwrapping a dressed area after Surgery can lead to skin irritation, improper placement of the breast during the first 6 weeks post treatment, and risk of getting skin reactions or bacterial infections from tanning chemicals on the skin.
- It’s often best to wait longer and be sure your incision lines are FULLY truly healed.
- If you want to spray tan after having breast augmentation surgery, ask your Surgeon for WHEN this might be okay to do so.
- And DO avoid the sun on your scars.
Wait until your incisions are 100% healed before spray tanning (three months might be a good minimum, sometimes longer – but ask your Surgeon before doing so).
Why is spray tanning right after surgery – or tanning/sun exposure on scars – a bad thing?
To ensure maximum protection of your fresh incision lines, your breast implant INCISION line areas must be 100% healed to avoid cross contamination of solution to the open skin.
Plus, you’ll want to be very careful with any dressings and bandages and support garments.
- Let your spray tan technician know you recently obtained a Breast Augmentation procedure.
- Whilst some of us want to keep that information private, DO remember that your well-being and scar healing comes first – and that your client information should be confidential.
- Keep your overall well-being, patient safety and surgery recovery in mind when it comes to caring for your fresh incision line scars after surgery – ask your Surgeon for specific DOS and DON’T to care for your incision lines and scars.
- Your technician may have other TIPS for you to be comfortable during your appointment, but be sure you’re not going in TOO early. Get your Surgeon’s advice and follow their recommendations, precisely, beforehand.
- If you have any residual redness or skin irritation – DON’T TAN.
- It’s usually the best idea to keep yourself – and your new breasts – in the best condition possible – and that means OUT OF THE SUN and NOT SPRAY TANNING.
Skin care and scar care after surgery – get the protocols and recovery recommendations from your Plastic Surgeon.
During a consultation and post-op follow-up, be sure you find out what your Plastic Surgeon’s recommended protocols are for incision line and wound healing.
- Some patients experience sensitive or itchy skin or itchy incisions after their breast surgery.
- Should you feel extra sensitive after your Breast Augmentation, but are still planning to TAN, some practitioners suggest requesting A LIGHT (to MEDIUM) tanning solution.
- BUT ideally you do NOT tan or spray tan and you MUST follow your Surgeon’s instructions carefully to avoid increasing your risks of complications, infections and bad scarring outcomes.
- The percentage of DHA will be less in a light or medium spray tanning session, so you will not have as much skin tint and fading and it might help minimise the difference between skin tones of your normal skin and the skin at the incision location(s).
- In addition, always remember to moisturize and use very high SPF (Sun Protectant Factor) products on your skin. DO stay out of the Australian sun, especially during the peak sun hours of the day when burning and skin damage is at it’s highest. (And remember, getting sun exposure ages your skin more than nearly any other lifestyle habit, other than perhaps smoking – which, if you’re having surgery, you should DEFINITELY NEVER do!
Bottle self-tanning lotions or Spray Tan portions don’t tend to contain long lasting SPF –
- It seems that Cosmetic, Aesthetic Tanning solutions DO NOT contain long-wear SPF or active sun protection ingredients.
- You MUST look after your skin – facial skin, eye lid skin, body skin and – your breast surgery incision areas – by avoiding sun exposure and wearing adequate sun protection.
- And don’t forget to wear a supportive bra or sports bra or supportive swimwear top as well!
- Even at the beach, you’ll want support for your new breasts – especially if it’s still soon after your Surgery.
- Our Melbourne-based Plastic Surgeons often recommend you wear quality, supportive tops and bras at ALL times, for best post-op results.
Especially during your recovery period, you’ll want to be very careful to wear the recommended garments or sports bras – consistently – for best results.
In Summary, IF you are keen to spray tan, you can consider spray tanning your LOWER body only – perhaps as early as three weeks after your Breast surgery – as long as you are comfortable standing and keep your upper area properly clothed and protected from the ingredients and over spray from during your spray tanning session. This may be easier said than done, so it’s best to wait until your Surgeon gives you the all clear.
This is perhaps why so many people get their breast augmentation procedures done long before the summer season!
Considering Breast Implant Surgery in Melbourne or Sydney? Want to heal your scars before the summer sun season?
Phone us and arrange to see one of the team of Specialist Plastic Surgeons at Cosmetic Surgery for Women & Men.
Our Enquiries team can coordinate a confidential, no-obligation plastic surgery consultation with Dr Richard Sackelariou (Sydney or Melbourne), and in Melbourne:
Are you nearby to SYDNEY or Double Bay? Ask to see Dr Richard Sackelariou in Sydney.
Want to know more about getting a great, long term result from your Breast Augmentation surgery? Send an enquiry form today or alternatively phone one of our Patient Care Coordinator on(03) 8849 1444.
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Phone us to schedule a consultation with a Specialist Plastic Surgeon or for eyelid surgery on its own, an Oculoplastic Surgeon.
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More information on sun exposure:
Read more about tanning and scar formation: