Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Use of Sunscreens in Facial Plastic Surgery

The Use of Sunscreen in Facial Plastic Surgery

The use of sunscreen after undergoing a facial plastic surgery procedure, such as LASER skin resurfacing and facial chemical peels, is probably one of the most effective moisturizer additive. Inflammation from a facial plastic surgery procedure can cause hyperpigmentation, especially with sun exposure.  Sunscreen is an effective moisturizer additive since it has the ability to prevent and reverse photoaging.  It is also an important part of facial post-surgical skin care since it can prevent skin hyperpigmentation (darker skin pigmentation).    Hyperpigmentation may occur since the presence of UVA radiation can stimulate the production of melanin by melanocytes (cells producing pigment in skin.)
Fast Facts about Sunscreen
  • Chemical ingredients found in sunscreen undergo a chemical transformation that absorbs UV radiation and turn it into heat.  This process is irreversible, rendering the sunscreen inactive once it absorbs UV radiation.
  • Thus, the frequent use of sunscreen is important.
  • Sunscreen ingredients can be divided into UVA (320-360nm) and UVB (290-320nm) absorbers.
Kim Kardashian's Facial Sunburn (Photograph Courtesy of Poponthepop.com)
 UVA Absorbers
  • Proper UVA protection is important since it is this spectrum of radiation that is responsible for photoaging, skin pigmentation, and photocarcinogenesis (causes skin cancer.)  UVA as in Aging.
  • UVA absorbers: oxybenzone, avobenzone & menthyl anthranilate.
UVB Absorbers
  • UVB ingredients contribute to the sun protection rating, called SPF.  UVB as in Better Sun Protection for sunburns.
  • UVB radiation causes sunburn, as well as photocarcinogenesis.
  • UVB absorbers: Salicylates, such as octisalate & homosalate,octyl methoxycinnamate.
Based on the Colipa (European) Suncreen Regulation:
  • For SPF 15, 93% of the harmful UVB rays are blocked
  • For SPF 20, 95% of the harmful UVB rays are blocked
  • For SPF 30, 97% of the harmful UVB rays are blocked
  • For SPF 60, 98% of the harmful UVB rays are blocked
I recommend asking one of your Facial Plastic Surgeons their protocol with regards to the usage of sunscreens after your facial plastic surgery procedure.

Emmanuel De La Cruz M.D.
Woodlands Plastic Surgery

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