How long do I need to wait after facelift to get skin treatments like peels, microdermabrasion etc.?

Doctor Answers 22

Skincare procedures after a facelift depend on the extent of the facelift procedure, and the aggressiveness of skin treatments

Thank you for your question. You are asking about how long to wait after a facelift for procedures like microdermabrasion and peels for your skin.

I can give you some guidance on how to make that decision based on my experience and how I guide my own patients. A little background: I’m a Board-certified cosmetic surgeon and Fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. I’ve been in practice in Manhattan and Long Island for over 20 years. I perform the full range of face lifting surgery,  from suture suspension, standard SMAS, SMAS lifting, to the more advanced deep plane face lifting with facial implants and fat grafting.

The point of explaining all that to you helps you understand the answer to your question is - it depends on two variables: how extensive is the undermining of the skin of the facelift procedure you undergo; and what is your goal with peels and microdermabrasion.

Often, people who are good candidates for face lifting surgery are also good candidates for some type of skin rejuvenation procedure at the time of surgery, which is also based on several factors. One very important factor is the level of surgery being performed. For example, if you are getting a procedure like a short scar facelift, S lift, MACS lift, or suture suspension lift, then not much of the skin is being separated from the underlying tissue. In these cases, you can probably be more aggressive with these types of treatments. If you are having a more extensive procedure, I advise you wait longer.

If you are doing a more traditional face lifting procedure, very often you are undermining not just the face, but also the neck to get a face and neck lift. Often, this area becomes numb temporarily during the healing process. The feedback of being able to tell whoever is doing the procedure about how something feels won’t be there. In a worst case scenario, if someone is doing an aggressive, let’s say an aesthetician doing an aggressive microdermabrasion on a numb area where you still don’t have a return of blood supply, then you can imagine that could be a problem in the healing process.

In general, I tell people to allow swelling to resolve to a degree which is typically within the first month, then take it very light and have your surgeon guide you. In my practice, we have all these services under one roof, from: skincare products, to a spa where we do light peels, treatments like Hydrafacials, and the full gamut of lasers from fractional to full ablative laser resurfacing, both Erbium and CO2. Within our own facility, I can be hands on and guide the skincare afterwards, but generally I tend to be more on the conservative side. I say wait a little before doing something more invasive than just using a good cleanser, a good moisturizer, and maybe something in the retinol family for some cell renewal and superficial skin renewal type of treatment. Since you did not provide a photo, the question you have to ask yourself is what are you trying to achieve with those peels and microdermabrasion - I suspect you just want to maintain a good, healthy complexion.

When you have a face lifting procedure, it is typically separate from other procedures, but you may want to discuss with your surgeon what your skincare plans would be afterwards. If your surgeon doesn’t want to get involved in that type or level of aftercare, then just get some guidance from your surgeon. Most likely your surgeon wants to be conservative, and maybe wait longer before they are comfortable. Again, it matters a lot what your outcome is, and how extensive the undermining of the skin is. Discuss that with your surgeon, and then move forward with a more comprehensive plan. I hope that was helpful, I wish you the best of luck, and thank you for your question.


New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Probably 4 Weeks - But Ask Your Surgeon

Thanks for your question. Many patients can safely return to the type of treatments you describe after about 4 weeks. This gives the most prominent swelling and bruising sufficient time to subside. However, rather than offer a blanket recommendation, I must stress the importance of telling your surgeon what your plans are and getting the "thumbs up" before proceeding. Even if you feel everything is progressing normally, your surgeon will still want to examine your face to make sure it's OK to go ahead and book the treatment. Also note that deeper-level skincare treatments, such as laser skin resurfacing, may need to be put off even longer.

James N. Romanelli, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Hold Off for 4 Weeks

I would wait 4 weeks prior to any superficial peels or laser treatments. If you are planning on a deeper peel or laser, CO2 for example, I would wait at least 6 weeks for your skin to heal completely. Causing a deeper burn on skin that was recently elevated during your facelift could compromise the blood supply and lead to skin loss. Also, scarring in this recently operated skin could become an issue, as well.  

Louis C. Cutolo, Jr., MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Skin treatments post facelift

In general, I would say wait 2-4 weeks depending on the procedure. My advise would be to discuss this with your surgeon since he or she is intimate with your case and your healing process. 

Kindly,

Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Post-facelift skin treatments

Dear ducktape:

You pose an excellent question, and my general answer is that some minimally-invasive treatments, and even some light-based and laser treatents can be done in the 2nd week following a facelift, but that anything that applies pressure or traction, needs to wait a few weeks, so that there is no risk of causing bleeding, or of disrupting the attachments of the facial/ neck skin to the new, elevated position. In the final analysis, you must check with your surgeon before guessing what will be allowed when--protect your investment wisely!. Good luck!

James H. Scheu, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Facelift

Hi ~ Great Question. You should wait 4 weeks after your facelift before trying any other skin treatments. Superficial chemical peels would be the safest treatments to have. Deep chemical peels should be delayed for 2-3 months after your procedure. It is very important ask your surgeon about this and make sure you are not having an aggressive skin resurfacing too close to your facelift.

Michael Hromadka, MD
Kalispell Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Treatments

Usually between 2 and 4 weeks before any superficial treatments. The more minor procedures can be done at the same time as the lift in many cases.  Best wishes, Dr. T. 

John Michael Thomassen, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

How long do I need to wait after facelift to get skin treatments like peels, microdermabrasion etc.?

Although the procedures you mentioned can be safely performed 4 weeks after a facelift there are other procedures (lasers, micro-needling, etc) that are best delayed until there has been more solid healing.  A lot also depends on the type of facelift that was performed.  Always check with your surgeon before making a decision to undergo any of these treatments within the first 6-12 weeks after surgery.

David A. Caplin, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Nonsurgical treatments following a Facelift

Depending on what kind of facelift you had and the aggressiveness of the facial treatment you are seeking, I would advise waiting 2-4 weeks. For a more accurate recommendation for you specifically, you should contact a qualified Plastic Surgeon.

Edmund Ek, MBBS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Face lift - how soon to get skin treatments like peels?

Thank you for asking about your face lift.'
  • Most surgeons will want you to wait four weeks at least after surgery.
  • Ask your surgeon what s/he feels is the right time for you.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.