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Will a tanning bed hurt my breast implants?

Tag Archives: tan beds

I am commonly asked by my Louisville breast augmentation patients if they can tan after surgery. The answer is “Yes”, it’s ok to tan as far as the implants are concerned.

The UV rays that tan beds emit are not like an X-ray. They do not go through your skin, so the light only affects your skin surface.  The underlying breast tissue and implants are safe. Now, if you tan immediately after surgery, you do run the risk of the skin along your incision darkening more than the skin around it. The pigment producing cells along the incision line are in a kind of an “excited” state as a result of the surgery. They are prone to producing extra pigment as is so if you tan this can amplify the problem and leave you with a very tan incision line. This is called hyperpigmentation.

I will refrain from jumping on my tan bed soap box but suffice to say that tan beds are not great for your skin on several levels.

Lee Corbett, MD

In my Louisville Plastic Surgery practice a common question is “When can I tan again?”  It seems like this question is most common after a Louisville Breast Augmentation or a Louisville Tummy Tuck.

When a surgeon wounds the skin by making an incision, the tanning cells, your melanocytes, are prone to produce pigment along the edges. This is particularly true for darker skin types. That is why some fresh scars are darker than the skin around them. If you get into a tanning bed and expose the wound to more tanning stimulus, it very well may result in your scar becoming hyper-pigmented (very tan).

My advice is to never get into a tanning bed, but if you are going to at least wait 6 weeks after surgery or keep your incision covered.

Lee Corbett, MD