If you have just gotten a facelift or are thinking about getting one, knowing proper after surgery care is important for a speedy and smooth recovery. If you’re unsure of how to properly care for your wounds or are interested in seeing what the post-care of a facelift includes, you’re in the right place.
Below we have created the ultimate guide to facelift after surgery care. To learn how you should care for your face the night of surgery to 30 days after keep reading below.
What is a Facelift Procedure?
A facelift is a cosmetics procedure that helps to tighten the skin for a younger appearance. It can help reduce folding skin in the face, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Facelifts are popular with older people who are showing signs of aging. If someone wants to reduce any sagging skin on their jawline, neck, or face they may opt to have a facelift.
A facelift procedure is technically a surgery. You can discuss anesthetics with your doctor and any other concerns you may have before going undergoing the procedure. Your doctor will help to find the best surgery options to make sure your procedure is quick and smooth while addressing your concerns.
What is the Procedure for a Facelift?
During a facelift procedure, a flap of skin is on each side of the face is pulled back. After pulling the skin back the tissue below is altered to make the face look contoured and youthful.
Before closing the flaps any excess skin will be removed. If a neck lift is also in the cards, this will be performed along with the facelift since the procedure is the same.
After removing excess skin and altering tissue, it’s time to close the wounds. You will be stitched up and dressing will be tightly wrapped around your head.
How to Prepare Before Your Facelift Procedure
Before surgery, you will set up an appointment with your plastic surgeon. At this appointment you will tell the doctor what you want to be done, they will go over the procedure with you and give you specific directions for care before your surgery.
You should be prepared to answer any medical history questions the plastic surgeon may have. Along with a medical history, you should be able to tell the doctor what medications you are taking or will be taking at the time of surgery.
After your appointment, follow your doctor’s directions on what medications you should be taking. On the day of surgery, you will want to wash your face with soap and water or a cleanser. After midnight before your surgery, you will be asked not to eat as part of preparation.
You should also arrange who will be taking you and picking you up after surgery. Ideally, this person will stay with you the first night, but if they can’t then you should also arrange for someone to be with you the night following your surgery.
After Surgery Care
To make your post-care as simple as possible we have broken it up into four sections. Below you will find what to do immediately after surgery, the night of, the next few days, and daily care.
Immediately Following Your Facelift
After your procedure, you will be sent home with fresh dressings. It’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions on when to remove the dressings, this will ensure your face heals properly. Usually, you will be told to remove the bandages when you wake up the following morning.
The first day after you may feel sleepy and unsteady. When you feel like this, it’s important to rest and let your body heal.
It’s also good to note that the pain you experience the first day after surgery will be the most intense. You shouldn’t worry as this is normal. After the first day, it should subside.
When looking in the mirror you might be in shock, you will see bruising and post-surgery swelling on your face. Don’t worry, bruising is normal and will heal with your wounds.
You will also notice some post-surgery swelling. This is also normal and will go away with proper care as your face heals.
The Night After Surgery
The night following your surgery may be the hardest night to get through. This is why we highly recommend having someone with you the first night.
They can help you with medications, your dressings, and even help you get things such as drinks and food since you may be in a bit of pain. You will also need to keep your head elevated the first night. This is so your wounds can drain properly and won’t cause infections.
The easiest way to keep your head elevated is to sleep in a recliner. If you don’t have a recliner you can sleep with a few pillows under your head. It’s ideal for your head to be at a 45-degree angle and for you to not roll onto your face when sleeping. Properly elevating your head will work towards a speedy recovery, if you fail to elevate your head then you might prolong your recovery time.
Next Few Days After Surgery
It’s important to note that your head should be elevated at least 3 days after surgery. Remember to follow your doctor’s directions on how long they want you to keep your head elevated. Usually, doctors will schedule your first follow up appointment around 2 to 3 days after your surgery.
The first day after surgery you will be allowed to remove your dressings. At this time you should shower but be mindful of your incisions.
Usually, you don’t want your wounds to get too wet because it can cause infections. Also, pay attention to what soaps you can use as specified by your doctor.
You should then put new, clean dressings on your face. The new dressings should be wrapped tightly and secured. If you don’t warp the bandages tight they will not help to reduce swelling.
It’s a good rule of thumb to change your dressings daily unless specified differently by your doctor. When removing your bandages you should also be monitoring your incisions to ensure they look healthy and do not contain an infection.
For the next few days, you will be required to go over the incisions with a Q-tip dipped in hydrogen peroxide. After going over the incisions with peroxide you will then put antibiotic ointment on the incisions.
4 to 6 days after your surgery you should notice swelling beginning to go down. Your pain levels should also decrease and you should start to feel better.
The Follow Up Appointment
Within two weeks after your surgery, you will be required to see the plastic surgeon in a post-op appointment. In this appointment, the doctor will remove most stitches and staples from your face.
The doctor will also look to make sure that the wounds look healthy and are healing correctly. If you notice any bleeding, heat around the incisions, yellow discharge, have a fever or have any complications before your scheduled appointment, you should call the doctor immediately and report your concerns.
Your daily care is important to ensure there are no complications or infections. You should follow all wound care directions specified by your doctor to properly care for your wounds.
Do not pick at any scabs on your facelift scars. Let them dry out and fall off themselves. If you pick this will prolong the healing process, have the chance of scaring your face, and even put you at a higher risk of infection.
You should also wear a shirt that you can slip on and off easily. Usually, button-up shirts are the best to wear after your surgery since you don’t have to lift them over your face.
Being mindful of the sun during the first 3 weeks is important. You shouldn’t put your incisions in direct sunlight for the first few days. This means no tanning outside or in a bed.
You should baby your skin. Don’t use anything that will irritate your face or any skin around your wounds. Use gentle soaps and cleansers, fragrance-free products, and hypoallergenic products.
Another important step in the recovery process is to remember to hydrate. You should be drinking anywhere from 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. This will help to flush out toxins and give your skin the hydration it needs to heal.
What About Makeup?
We have touched base on how you should care for your wounds from the night after surgery to your daily care. We touched base on tanning and how you shouldn’t put your wounds in direct sunlight for a few weeks, but what about applying makeup?
If your wounds are still fresh and have yet to heal properly, then makeup is a no. You don’t want foundation or powder getting into your open wounds and to lead to an infection.
If your stitches have been removed and your scars are healing nicely, then you can wear makeup (usually 2 weeks), but we recommend being cautious until your face is fully healed.
Before using makeup you should touch base with your doctor. They will give you the green light to apply your battle makeup of they will give you some guidelines on what can and can’t go on your face.
Usually, the first few times you wear makeup after your proceeder you should be using mineral makeup. Mineral-based makeup is gentle while providing amazing coverage.
If you still have slight bruising on your face you can go ahead and use a mineral-based color corrector to help hide it. A green color corrector will help to cover up bruising and any redness that remains on your face.
After wearing your makeup it’s important that you clean your skin thoroughly every night. This should be done with gentle cleansers or soaps recommended by your doctor.
Recovery After 30 Days
A month after your surgery you should feel like your old self. The pain, swelling, and bruising should go down substantially. There may be some bruising and swelling lingering but it’s important to note that you can experience these side effects up until a year after your surgery date.
At this point in time, you should be back to doing normal, everyday activities. You should be able to go out into the sun and even go tanning if you’d like.
Your workout routine can begin again. You may feel some tightness in your face while doing physical activities but this is normal and will subside in the next few weeks.
It’s Time To Begin the Healing Process
If you’re thinking about getting a facelift or have just gotten one, our guide will help you with after surgery care. From before surgery to the month after, you know now the dos and don’t of facelift surgery aftercare.
You now know that bruising and swelling are normal and can take up to a year to fully subside. You know that going into the sun after surgery isn’t a good idea and the precautions you should take when wearing makeup.
You’re also aware of what to do immediately after surgery, what to do the next few days that follow, and how to properly care for your wounds daily. By using this guide you will be on the road to a speedy recovery in no time.
Remember to pay attention to your doctor’s orders. They know best and will help you have a fast and smooth recovery.
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