Breast Implants and Tanning

Before and after your breast augmentation some things you do in your day-to-day life may have to be done a bit differently... or even be put on hold while you heal.

Tanning is one thing I get asked a lot of questions about, so here's my round-up of the do's and don'ts of tanning before and after your breast augmentation! :)

Can I go to the tanning bed with breast implants?

We all love the feeling of glowing skin that we get from time in the sun. It's no surprise then that so many of us rush outside at the first glimpse of the sun, jet off on summer holidays and even give the glow a little helping hand with self-tan products.

If you're a self-confessed sun-worshipper or a regular self-tan user with breast implants, you may have a few questions!

Tanning Before Your Breast Augmentation

First off girl, always wear sunscreen! This should be a given, with or without breast implants.

When I go to the beach after getting breast implants?

If you were lucky enough to be basking in the sun the day before your breast augmentation you'd just need to make sure your sunscreen was fully washed off before you head to surgery the next day.

In general, you don't want there to be any products (self-tanner included) on your skin before your breast augmentation as it increases the risk of infection.

If you like a bit of bottled bronze, expect to be advised to stop using any self-tanning products 10-14 days before your breast augmentation. You should keep exfoliating your skin in the lead up to surgery to ensure any tanning product is off, but stop exfoliating 2-3 days before.

Tanning After Your Breast Augmentation

Tanning (natural, or fake) will not affect your breast implants. BUT it may affect your skin and your scars.

You should be able to use a self-tan product once your incisions are fully healed.

To minimize the chances of infection after a breast augmentation you should stay away from any self-tan products until your incisions are fully healed, at about 10 days (but up to 3 weeks) after surgery.

How soon after breast implants can I get a spray tan?

Don't be surprised if you may experience some sensitivity (or even rashes) after an early self tan - the skin is stretched by your breast implants and is often more sensitive.

You'll find different recommendations about tanning in the sun after a breast augmentation.

Don't be surprised if you're advised by your plastic surgeon to stay out of the sun for up to 6 weeks after surgery.

Sounds pretty fierce right?! But, it's for a very good reason.

First off, during your early recovery period you'll want to be very careful to wear any dressings or support garments (e.g. sports, or post-surgical, bra) – consistently – to get the best results. As tempting as it may be to rush out and purchase a flattering new bikini, more often than not it won't offer you the support you need while your breast implants are settling.

whens the best time to get a breast augmentation?

Second, there's a very real chance you could cause significant skin damage to your breasts in the first few months after getting breast implants as any numbness will mean you won't feel your skin burning.

Thirdly, tanning too early can impact on wound healing and result in unfavorable scarring or pigmentation issues.

Once you're given the go-ahead by your plastic surgeon to sunbathe expect to hear the following bits of advice:

  • Cover your incisions - Your scars should be shielded from UV light with tapes or sunblock (even under your bather, as UV light can get through fabric).

  • Cover your breasts in at least 30 SPF cream for the first year after surgery.

After your breast implant incision scars have matured if you do expose them to sun they can initially appear whiter (but it’s only the contrast!).

If you’re planning a little sunny break soon after getting breast implants (or you’re lucky enough to live a sunny state!) be sure to discuss your lifestyle (and tanning habits) with your surgeon as thoughts about tanning differ among plastic surgeons.

If the glowing look is important to you, not being tanned before and after your surgery can be challenging. Keeping your skin as healthy as possible is vital to your healing after surgery. :)

Thoughts from Dr. Michelle Roughton

This is a very common question and Jenny Eden provides great guidance here. The bottom line is to always be careful with sun exposure, and particularly when your incisions are healing you'll want to keep them well protected in all of the ways that she discusses.