Can The Sun Make Your Fillers Wear Off Faster In The Summer?

Read this before canceling your beach day.

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How sun exposure affects fillers

No longer a taboo topic, treatments such as fillers and Botox have become just as mainstream as other beauty treatments like bi-weekly manicures, monthly facials, and dyeing your hair every three months. From softening fine lines and wrinkles to plumping saggy skin, injectables deliver results without requiring a ton of recovery time like more invasive procedures such as facelifts. But there is seasonal side effect that’s generated some unexpected buzz going into the summer. “Sun damage is a common question after all procedures,” says Dr. Melissa Doft, M.D., double-board certified plastic surgeon and founder of Doft Plastic Surgery in New York City. Since injectables are the most popular non-invasive treatment, this leaves many wondering if sun exposure affects fillers, and is there any risk of damaging the skin?

Though you can get injectables any time of year, the sun becomes a potential cause of concern during the summer months when you’re generally spending more time outdoors. While wearing sunscreen can prevent skin issues caused by sun damage (like melasma and wrinkles), if you get fillers or Botox, it’s beneficial to understand how UV/UVA rays can impact your results. Ahead, TZR spoke with two dermatologists to get the full details on just how well the popular injectibles stand up to sun exposure.

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Sun Exposure & Dermal Fillers

Dr. Doft tells TZR that between Botox and dermal fillers, the latter is more likely to be impacted by sunlight. “Studies have shown that UV rays are known to break down hyaluronic acid (the main component in [many] dermal fillers like Restylane and Juvederm ) that has been injected into the skin.” She continues, noting that even though hyaluronic acid is considered safer than other actives because it’s a naturally occurring substance, there is still a potential risk.

In general, fillers are used to diminish facial lines, smooth wrinkles, and add fullness to areas of the face and lips, and are broken down into different categories based on the actives they use to achieve results. In terms of fillers with hyaluronic acid, Dr. Michele Green, M.D., a New York City-based board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, explains that “sun exposure also impacts the healing process of the skin after injections and can trigger inflammation.”

According to Dr. Doft, “Fillers can take six to 15 months to settle and they are more likely to leave bruises or irritate the skin.” While this is a common side effect, it often becomes exacerbated with sun exposure.

Sun Exposure & Botox

While Botox is also used to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, it works by temporarily freezing facial muscles, which also makes it less of a concern with sun exposure. “Botox is absorbed within 24 hours and therefore has a minimal risk,” says Dr. Doft. She continues, telling TZR that things only become problematic when the skin is bruised or inflamed. “If there is any bruising from the injection, the area can develop hyperpigmentation due to sun exposure,” she says.

Similarly, Dr. Green notes that regular periods of time spent in the sun will not affect the results or effects Botox provides. However, she does caution against excessive exposure directly after receiving the treatment. “Too much heat after Botox may stimulate dilation of the blood vessels within the skin and can increase circulation, which may diffuse injectable faster.” She also explains that chronic exposure can ultimately affect the longevity of Botox as UV rays will age the skin and create new or deeper lines.

What To Do If The Sun Impacts Your Dermal Fillers Or Botox

If you suspect the sun is making your injectables wear off faster than they should, consult your dermatologist. “Some people may notice that skin isn’t healing as well or notice bruising around the injection site, and while sun exposure can be the problem, it’s best to follow up with the injector to be sure,” says Dr. Green. As for the discoloration, there are a number of over-the-counter products that can help to lighten the affected area. Dr. Doft recommends looking for formulas with known brightening ingredients such as vitamin C or kojic acid that can be topically applied to the portions of the skin that have been darkened. But if you’re searching for a quicker solution, she notes that lasers can also help remove the evidence of hyperpigmentation.

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How To Prevent The Sun From Impacting Your Dermal Fillers Or Botox

When it comes to sun damage of any kind, the best way to protect yourself is by incorporating a broad-spectrum sunscreen into your daily skin care routine. “UV rays degrade structural proteins in the skin, more specifically collagen and elastin, causing the development of fine lines, wrinkles, skin laxity, and leathery skin — all of which can affect the results of dermal injections,” says Dr. Green. Since completely avoiding the sun isn’t really an option, utilizing sunscreen daily will help cut down any concerns.

As a general rule of thumb, Dr. Doft suggests evading sun exposure for four hours after receiving Botox and one week after getting fillers as this can help decrease the chance of issues. But she also agrees that shielding your skin with a SPF is crucial. “I’d also recommend considering adding an oxidant serum daily after injections to fight free radicals,” she says. They’re also effective anti-inflammatories and can help with discoloration if those symptoms occur.

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