When you decide to undergo a plastic surgery procedure, whether it’s a facelift, neck lift or nose job, you want the results to last for as long as possible. You’ve not only invested a lot of money in the surgery, but also a lot of time and effort. There’s no way to stop the clock or put an end to the aging process, so there will be some changes over time. But, there are ways you can make your surgery’s results last as long as possible.

Beware of the Sun

Being cautious about sun exposure is a good idea before and after you’ve had plastic surgery. The sun’s rays play a big role in skin aging. Sun exposure also raises your risk for skin cancer and other damage. If you weren’t the best at putting on sunscreen and donning sunglasses before your procedure, it’s especially important to become vigilant about it afterwards.

Sun protection is particularly important if you’ve had an eyelid lift. Shielding the eye area from the sun by wearing sunscreen and sunglasses with UV protection will help your results last much longer. If you regularly forget to put on sunscreen, tape a note by your bedroom or front door, so that you see it before leaving the house. For best results, choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Stick to a Healthy Diet

When it comes to preserving your youthful appearance, some foods are better than others. Sugary foods or foods made from simple carbohydrates, such as white bread and pasta, can accelerate aging, as they contribute to the formation of wrinkles and inflammation of the skin. Choose nutrient-rich foods instead, which will help your skin stay youthful. Nutrients play a big role in reducing inflammation and in providing general nourishment for the skin and body. Try to choose whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, fish and beans.

What you drink is as important as what you eat. Limit your alcohol intake, as too much causes inflammation and has a negative effect on the body. Try to drink more water each day to keep your body hydrated. Talk to your doctor about the amount of water that’s ideal to take in daily.

Sticking to a healthy diet won’t just help you skin stay youthful looking after your surgery. It will also help you avoid weight gain. Ideally, when you have your surgery, you’ll be at your goal weight. Losing or gaining considerable amounts of weight after the surgery will impact the results. For example, losing a lot of weight can make your facial skin looser. The loose skin can sag, making you look older and reversing your results.

Stay Away from Tobacco

Your surgeon most likely told you to quit smoking or using other tobacco products before your surgery. If you have gone back to smoking or other tobacco use after your recovery, it’s still a good idea to quit. Along with sun exposure, nicotine and tobacco use plays a big role in the formation of wrinkles and other signs of aging on the skin.

You’ve likely spent thousands of dollars on your surgery, took time off from work to recuperate, then spent a few months fully recovering. Don’t throw it away because you have a craving for nicotine. If needed, you can talk to your surgeon or primary care doctor about ways to avoid tobacco.

Follow Your Surgeon’s Instructions

The instructions your surgeon gave you after the procedure weren’t just suggestions. They were explicit directions for what you need to do to speed your recovery and maintain the best results.  Remember to keep all follow-up appointments with your doctor, so that he can monitor your progress and intervene if there is an issue. Even though some instructions might seem silly, like being told to wear button-up shirts and avoid certain foods, they are necessary to avoid derailing your recovery.

Keep Up With Less Invasive Procedures

The results from your surgery can last around 10 years, or more, depending on circumstances. Continuing to see your plastic surgeon for less invasive or non-invasive cosmetic procedures can help you extend the duration of your results. Even after a facelift, for example, you might decide to undergo Botox to ease frown lines or to receive a dermal filler to smooth the lines by your mouth and nose. Skincare treatments such as dermaplaning or chemical peels can also keep you looking youthful and refreshed, even years after your surgery.

Dr. Kyle Choe, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in Virginia Beach, is available to answer any questions you have about maintaining your results from surgery, even years later. For a consultation, contact his office by calling 757.389.5850.