If you’re preparing for a facelift, it’s important to know the rights steps for recovering from a facelift. Knowing what to expect can go a long way to addressing anxiety before the procedure as well as reducing stress in the days immediately before and after. It’s also important to prepare what you’ll need before you need it so that your recovery experience is as easy and successful as it can be. (Image Credit: Valeria Boltneva/Canva)
Recovering from a facelift is relatively simple. It takes between ten days and three weeks, depending on the type of facelift you choose, and most of that time is spent taking it easy! While your surgeon knows your situation best and can give personalized recovery instructions, this guide can offer a general overview of what to expect.
Healthy habits are the foundation of beauty: eat well, drink water, and listen to your surgeon’s advice
What you put in your body is reflected in your skin. Eat a healthy, balanced diet before and after the procedure. Drink lots of water, and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugar as much as you can. Follow your surgeon’s advice about what medications, herbs, vitamins, and supplements you should use before and after the procedure. Medications like aspirin can cause issues with excessive bleeding so it’s important to be honest with your surgeon about everything you’re taking to get the best advice personalized for you.
Quit smoking! Your skin will thank you!
If you smoke, quit smoking as soon as you can. Smoking is harmful to your health in general, but it’s especially bad for you if you’re preparing for and recovering from a facelift. Smoking harms the collagen and elastin in your skin, intensifying wrinkles. The repeated draw-and-puff motion of smoking also creates a characteristic set of wrinkles around the mouth called “smoker’s lines,” which become more deeply etched the more often you smoke.
Smoking also inhibits your immune system, and smokers tend to take longer to heal and have thicker, more unsightly scars. Smoking increases your risk of serious complications during surgery because it harms your heart and lungs. Quitting smoking is worth it— if you’ve tried before, try again! Your doctor can help find a solution that works for you.
Immediately after the procedure: a critical window
You’re likely to be sedated for the facelift, you will need someone who can drive you home and care for you immediately afterward– sometimes for up to 24 hours after the procedure. If a trusted friend or family member isn’t available, you can hire a home-care aide or nurse. Some procedures use local or twilight anesthesia instead of general sedation, but even these can leave you feeling loopy, nauseous, or tired, so ask for help– better to be safe than sorry!
Your face will be bandaged at the site of the incisions around your ears, neck, and hairline. Generally, you should avoid touching the bandages, and definitely don’t get them wet or take them off. Your surgeon will have you come in for a follow-up visit to check the progress of your healing within a few days of the procedure.
The swelling, bruising, and discomfort will be at their worst during the first three days after the procedure, but you’ll gradually look and feel better as time goes on. In a few weeks, nobody will be able to tell you even had surgery– but only if you trust your body to handle the healing it needs to do.
Daily life during facelift recovery
Since you can’t shower while your incisions are fresh, take a bath instead, using a shallow water level to avoid splashing. Avoid excess steam, saunas, high winds, blow-drying or styling your hair, wearing earrings, and anything else that might stress your incisions until your surgeon gives you the all-clear.
You will need to sleep sitting up for the first few days to minimize swelling. Plan ahead so that you have a comfortable “nest” set up with everything you might need in reach, including a neck pillow to help support your head. If your surgeon gives you a medication regimen to follow, set a timer to remind you when to take it. Set out your medication so that it’s obvious whether you’ve taken your most recent dose or not, or use an app to record what you’ve taken and when.
You’ll also need to avoid strenuous chewing or sucking, so plan meals to include soft foods. Even if your appetite is thrown off by the change in routine, remember to eat– your body needs nutrients to continue healing. Help your immune system work by avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and sugar following surgery.
Be gentle to yourself– this is your time to recover
Most people need between two and three weeks away from work and other major responsibilities for the swelling and bruising to disappear, though you will start to feel better within a few days. Spend the time off either relaxing, healing, or engaging in self-care!
If you feel like you have too much time on your hands, activities like writing in a journal or reading can be fun ways to keep busy that don’t put your healing in jeopardy. Taking it easy while you heal can be a great time to reflect on life, launch a new mindfulness practice, concentrate on maintaining healthy habits…or catch up on guilty-pleasure TV!
A few weeks of recovery result in many years of a more youthful-looking you
Your facelift expert can discuss the possible benefits you’ll see, but most people benefit from the results of their facelift for ten or more years. If you don’t often take time off for self-care, these may even be a life-changing experience in more ways than one! In light of the many benefits of a facelift, the time and effort you spend recovering from a facelift are more than worth it to ensure a happier, more confident future.