Dr. Elizabeth Whitaker

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9 Tips for Caring for Your Skin After a Facelift

skin care tips

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 17.5 million surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic procedures were completed in the U.S. in a single year.

While facelift recovery time can differ between patients, the aftercare methods available can help reduce that time. By following these tips, in addition to your surgeon’s recommendations, you can reduce the chance of complications.

Keep reading for nine skin care tips to use after a facelift and discover a brand new you!

1. Cleanse & Moisturize

Rest is important in the 24 hours following a facelift. Your bandaged face may experience mild bleeding, which is normal. Be sure to pay attention to how your face reacts following your surgery.

After 24 hours, you can remove the bandages.

You will likely feel pain and tenderness around the incisions. Wash these incisions with soap and water three times a day to avoid bacteria and infections.

Be gentle as you wash your face, and use a mild antibacterial cleanser to avoid bacteria build up. Pat your face dry, then mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and water and apply with a Q-tip.

Your surgeon may have also provided you with an antibiotic ointment to use.

Afterward, moisturize to reduce scarring. Your skin and the incisions should not feel dry.

By cleaning and moisturizing, you can keep your face clean and cared for.

2. Wearing Makeup

Swelling may occur two or three days after your surgery. While this is normal, many patients wish to cover the swelling with makeup or resume their daily beauty routine following cosmetic surgery.

Since you likely won’t be leaving the house for a week or two, don’t rush back towards your makeup bag right away. Your favorite blush and concealer can wait.

Instead, give your facelift recovery up to a week before putting on makeup.

Just be sure you have no open wounds before applying.

Mineral makeup is also a lighter option to heavy liquid alternatives. They’re gentle on your skin and still provide the coverage you’re looking for.

If your skin appears red, use a green base for balance. As a result, you can accomplish a natural look while still hiding any swelling or bruising.

Don’t forget to wash off your makeup each night.

Cleansing and moisturizing should be a part of your daily routine too.

With a liquid facelift, you can restore the volume in your face for a younger appearance. By the time your facelift recovery is over, you may not even feel the need for makeup!

3. Avoiding Sunshine

Direct exposure to sunlight can be harmful to your skin during your facelift recovery period.

While ordinary exposure isn’t harmful, you should still avoid excessive sunlight on your face for at least a month. Daily skin care tips will remind you that while it’s important to soak up vitamin D, anything in excess is dangerous.

Your incisions shouldn’t be exposed to direct sunlight for at least six months after your surgery. Sun exposure to your incisions can cause the areas to become darker.

It can also extend your recovery time.

Be sure to use sunscreen to protect these areas from the sun. SPF 30 provides just enough protection without clogging your pores, which need to remain clear as you’re healing.

Grab your favorite hat and sunglasses too for that extra protection, and you’re good to go.

4. Minimize Swelling & Bleeding

The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery noted a 21.9 percent increase in facelifts in 2017.

Unfortunately, the swelling and bruising following a facelift tend to get worse before the healing begins. The worst of it usually occurs during the initial days after your cosmetic surgery.

Use cold compresses to help reduce swelling and bruising.

Icing your face around the surgical area can also help reduce discoloration.

You can minimize swelling and bruising by keeping your head elevated. Use numerous pillows when you sleep to keep your head upright and comfortable.

You may notice that the swelling is worst first thing in the morning, especially around the jaw.

Remember, this is normal. To minimize additional swelling, you can also:

    • avoid bending over
    • avoid heavy lifting
    • avoid bumping anything against the face and neck


As mentioned before, mild bleeding is normal. This often occurs due to a rise in blood pressure, which is caused by bending, lifting, coughing, sneezing, or strain.

Keep activity to a minimum. It also helps to lie back and keep your head elevated, especially during the first 10 days after surgery.

Drugs such as aspirin and herbs such as garlic, ginseng, and gingko can also cause bleeding and should be avoided.

The amount of swelling patients experience depends on a case-by-case basis. If the pain caused by swelling isn’t relieved by pain medication, please contact our team.

5. Avoid Scarring

According to Statista, the 35 to 50 age group is the most popular group to have cosmetic procedures done.

Unlike younger generations, more mature age groups know the importance of regular maintenance to guarantee a full recovery. This also means people getting facelifts are old enough to know what not to do.

Do not disturb any peeling skin or pick any scabs. This could cause an infection in addition to the chance of scarring.

Instead, use cocoa butter, vitamin E, or a scar gel such as Mederma six weeks after your surgery. Massage the ointment into your scar with gentle care. Massaging your scars will promote softness.

Make sure your skin isn’t drying out, which can also cause scarring. If it is, apply your antibiotic ointment. Vaseline can also help keep your skin hydrated.

Remember, everyone heals differently. Your scars may appear a deep pink after the stitches are removed.

Given time and attention, the firmness will soften and the pink will fade to white.

6. Staying Hydrated & Nourished

A state-of-the-art surgery center will review these skin care tips with you, but it helps to remember some of the basics for skin health. Dermatologists remind us to stay hydrated to keep our skin appearing youthful and clear.

It’s actually one of our cosmetic surgery tips as well.

The initial days after your cosmetic surgery require clear liquids after you’ve been under general anesthesia. Those first few days also require a high protein diet to keep you nourished.

Try not to skip meals in order to keep up your strength. High calorie and protein meals will provide your body with the essential nutrients you need to heal faster.

Since you’re reducing activity following the weeks after your cosmetic surgery, it’s important to add fiber to your diet. Make sure to add fruit to at least two meals a day and increase your water to avoid constipation.

You may require a laxative or smooth move tea to avoid straining in the restroom as well.

Water is the best option for keeping hydrated. However, you may need to get additional vitamins and nutrients into your system.

If you add a fluid that contains minerals, just make sure it’s low in sugar.

Hydration and nourishment will help remove toxins from your body and keep your skin young.

7. Facials

It’s best to wait three months after your surgery before getting a facial treatment. That will allow you to get the maximum benefits from your facial after swelling has subsided.

However, you may decide to get a facial four weeks after your face lift.

Speak with your esthetician and see if they have any beneficial skin care tips to share. They can also inform you of the best facial for your lifestyle, age, and skin type.

Don’t forget to inform your esthetician that you recently received a facelift. That way, they can avoid any areas that might cause irritation.

During your facial, ask your esthetician to focus on the areas that were a concern before your facelift. Time and gravity will still impact these areas, as they did prior to your cosmetic surgery.

By giving these areas a little extra, tender care, you can improve your facelift recovery time and the healing process.

To learn more about the face procedures we offer, please look into all of the treatments we offer. .

8. Treatments

According to the New York Times, late 19th and early 20th-century literature documents some of the first experimentation with cosmetic surgery methods.

Since then, we’ve improved both surgical and post-surgical methods, including treatments to help during the recovery period.

While a facelift can help conceal signs of aging, it doesn’t stop the aging process. Adding a few treatments can help keep your skin looking young and clear. Of course, everyone is different, so your plan should be customized to your skin’s needs.

Speak with your surgeon about developing a long-term plan to maintain your skin. This may include chemical peels, injection treatments, or laser treatments.

Since a facelift doesn’t provide permanent results, these treatments can extend the effects of your facelift.

After these treatments, you can use a thin coat of Vaseline to avoid drying for the next five days.

Avoiding direct sunlight, negative habits such as smoking, and pollutants can extend your skin’s health as well.

Remind yourself that healing takes time. The swelling and discoloration are only temporary.

For a “treatment” to post-operative depression, keep looking ahead. Think of the take you initially aimed for when deciding on cosmetic surgery.

9. Minimize Activity

Numbness around the surgical areas is normal, so don’t be alarmed. It can take months for everything to feel normal again.

Don’t strain yourself during your facelift recovery time. Instead of rushing into your normal exercise routine, take at least the first 14 days off after your surgery before strenuous activity.

When you restart your exercise regimen, be careful not to overexert yourself. Instead, start slow and work your way up. If you feel capable, increase your exercise regimen with each workout.

Stop if you’re feeling dizzy or lightheaded, and be sure to keep hydrated. During the first two weeks, take it easy.

Your body requires rest to recover properly.

Keep your head elevated with pillows during this time. Instead of resting on your side, sleep on your back for at least two weeks.

Rolling onto your face can cause you to tear supporting stitches. As you sleep, you can also wear a supportive elastic wrap or facelift mask to support your face during the first two weeks of recovery.

Note that rushing to sit up or stand after you’ve been lying back can cause dizziness. Take your time. Sit up for a minute, then stand up slowly.

Make sure you’re steady and balanced before walking forward. If you still feel dizzy, lie back down. We don’t want anyone fainting, and we certainly don’t want you to hurt yourself.

Be easy on yourself and be patient as your body heals.

Think of those first 10 days after your cosmetic surgery as a mini vacation. Put your feet up, take your time, and relax.

Beautifying Post-Surgery Skin Care Tips

After your cosmetic surgery, it’s important to develop positive habits to help keep your skin looking young and healthy.

Taking care of your body’s overall health in addition to your skin will help you look your best and achieve the desired results of your facelift.

These tips can also help reduce your facelift recovery time and help you avoid the risk of scarring. Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions regarding the healing process or are concerned about any complications.

Try these nine beautifying skin care tips for yourself! As a result, you can recover from your facelift with stunning results.

Check the Beautiful News section to discover more of our helpful skin care tips and success stories from our patients.

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Thu 23

Faces of Fall Sales Event

September 1September 30

It’s all about those fabulous faces this month at Atlanta Face & Body! As we welcome cooler temperatures, colorful leaves, and, of course, pumpkin spice, we’ve decided to offer some incredible Faces of Fall Packages to help you flaunt a new look as you usher in a new season! Just take a look at these […]