Getting the results you want from a facelift involves more than simply choosing the right surgeon and following his instructions before the surgery. It also involves making sure the recovery period goes as well as it can. When you’re recovering from a facelift, your body is healing and needs all the care and support you can give it. Knowing what to expect and what to do during the recovery period can help you enjoy the results from your surgery.

Take It Easy, But Not Too Easy

Typically, surgeons recommend that you take about a week, or in some cases, even two weeks off from work after your surgery. That first week or two after your procedure can be the most challenging, as you’ll need to rest up from the surgery and will be limited in terms of what you can do.

For example, your surgeon will most likely tell you not to drive during that first week. You’ll also be asked not to lift heavy objects or bend over in the week following your surgery. Although you should take it easy during those first two weeks, you don’t have confine yourself to a chair or to bed. It actually might be better for you in the long run if you get up and move around a bit in the initial post-surgery weeks.

Standing up and walking around a bit (there’s no need to leave the house) can have several benefits. An upright position will help keep swelling down, for example. Walking around can also help keep you regular.

Swelling and Bruising Might Surprise You

Although most patients do expect some swelling and bruising after a facelift, what actually happens can be a little surprising. For instance, swelling is usually not at its worst right after the facelift. Instead, it can become progressively worse for the few days, peaking around day three. It can take several weeks for bruising and swelling to subside once it does start to decrease.

Keeping your head upright will help keep swelling to a minimum. Your surgeon will most likely recommend that you sleep on your back with several pillows below your head, so that it is held up at an angle. Standing or sitting upright in a chair will also help keep swelling down.

You  might want to use makeup to conceal bruising after your surgery. It’s important to discuss cosmetic use with your surgeon before the procedure. He or she might recommend waiting for some time after surgery before using makeup, as there is a chance that the makeup can irritate the skin, get into the healing incisions or lead to an infection.

Bathe With Care

Bathing might a bit tricky after your surgery. It’s typically a good idea to wait at least a day or two after the procedure before bathing. Taking a bath might be easier than showering, as you want to avoid having water sprayed directly on your face or on the incisions. Once the bandage is removed after the facelift, it’s usually okay to get the incisions wet. But, you don’t want a jet of water pounding directly into them.

Talk to your surgeon about the products that are safe to use in the first few weeks after your surgery. For example, you might need to avoid using certain ingredients immediately after surgery. It’s also usually recommended that you avoid using a hot hair dryer for a few weeks after the procedure.

Above All Else, Protect Your Face

Perhaps the most important thing to remember while you recover from a facelift is that you need to protect your face. That means avoiding exposing it to harsh chemicals, such as the chlorine found in swimming pools, and avoiding exposing it to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It’s often suggested that you avoid sunlight for the first days after your procedure. Once it’s okay to go out in the sun again, remember to always wear sunscreen and to wear a hat and sunglasses for added protection.

Certain activities need to be avoided for some time after your facelift, such as working out or playing sports. You don’t want to participate in any activity that involves objects flying near or towards your face until your surgeon gives you the all-clear.

The recovery period after a facelift is a time of great expectation and hope. Don’t try to rush things, as your body needs time to fully heal. If you have any further questions about what to expect after a facelift, Dr. Kyle Choe, a board certified plastic surgeon in the Virginia Beach area, is happy to answer them. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Choe, call 757.389.5850 today.