Why Tanning Beds after Bariatric Surgery are a Really Dumb Idea

Medically Reviewed by Katelyn J. Mock, US-Registered Dietician (R.D.)

According to MarketWatch[1]Kari Paul, MarketWatch. “1 in 5 White Women Have a Tanning Salon Addiction” 2017.
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, 1 in 5 white American women is addicted to tanning. As tanning is considered to be one of the beauty staples of the average American woman, here we answer questions related to tanning before and after bariatric surgery. Adapting to lifestyle change after weight loss surgery slightly easier.

Is it okay to get a spray tan before bariatric surgery?

  • As long as a spray tan wasn’t done a few days before bariatric surgery, it should not be a problem to hit the tanning bed. Spray tanning too close to the surgery date could increase the risk of an infection.

How long should I wait before getting a tan after weight loss surgery?

  • Scar tissue has a different texture than healthy skin. Generally, it is advised to avoid tanning for a year following a bariatric procedure.
  • The reason behind the waiting is that the skin is healing from the incisions of the surgery. These scars mature for about a year.
  • It is also said that exposure to the sun or UV rays cause the incisions to remain red for a more extended period.
  • After this time, the incision and the area around it react equally to the sun or the ultraviolet rays.

How do I protect my skin from tanning after bariatric surgery?

Surgery scars should be protected from the direct sun for an entire year and not just during the summer season. Some basic guidelines include –

  • Avoid stepping into the sun
  • Use a sunblock, preferably SPF 50, even on cloudy days
  • If you work in the sun and can’t avoid direct sunlight on your surgical incisions, cover it with UV protection clothing


  1. Kari Paul, MarketWatch. “1 in 5 White Women Have a Tanning Salon Addiction” 2017.

This post addresses

  • Tanning bed after surgery
  • Tanning skin care
  • Surgical scars and tanning
  • Can I tan with stitches?
  • Tanning after laparoscopic surgery
  • How soon after surgery can you tan?

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