After swelling from a full facelift is gone, how long before the skin starts shrinking into place?

Doctor Answers 18

Full Healing Takes Several Months

You'll be able to appreciate your results within a few weeks of surgery. The most significant swelling and bruising are often reduced by the 1-month mark; by that point, you'll have a good sense for your ultimate results. It may take several more months for your final results to come into focus as your face continues to heal. 

Long Island Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Facelifting #woundhealing #cosmeticsurgery #beauty

Dear Ultimateart

Thank you for your question!  The healing process takes up to a year for most of the changes.
With Warm Regards

Trevor M Born MD

Trevor M. Born, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

After swelling is resolved how long for the skin to retract back

The swelling and skin redraping occur simultaneously during your healing after surgery.  You can expect improvements in both after surgery.  Complete resolution may take a year.

Ernest Robinson, MD
Aliso Viejo Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

After swelling from a full facelift is gone, how long before the skin starts shrinking into place?

You should look more natural and able to see results of your facelift between 6-12 weeks. Skin re drapes but does not shrink or tighten on its own.

Facelift recovery

In my experience, patients look their best at around three months after surgery, then the aging clock starts slowly ticking again.

Robert H. Hunsaker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

Recovery after facelift

Hi ultimatetart,

That question is kind of tough to answer, because every patient is so different and there are different rates of healing for each individual. Having said that, most patients look pretty good by about one month. Most look pretty good by about two weeks, but I think that a month allows time for most of the swelling to go down and the skin to settle into its proper position.

Good luck!

P. Daniel Ward, MD
Salt Lake City Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews


How a patient looks and the progression of facelift result depends upon the technique and type of procedure employed by the surgeon.  A facelift is often a combination of various techniques a surgeon learns over time and I chose a select technique for each patient, since no two faces are identical.
Generally, it is two weeks for my patients to feel comfortable in public...sometimes less, sometimes a little more, depending upon the various "add ons" employed, such as laser or chemical peels, etc.  
Most surgeons feel that 3 months is the divine moment when the results look the best and therefore most  after photos are taken at that time.

R. Scott Yarish, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

When to expect to see the results of a facelift after swelling resolves

Hi there!  Thanks for your question.  I tell my patients swelling generally increases over the first couple of days, lingers for a few days, and then only begins to resolve around day 5-6.  After that, 80% of the swelling is usually gone by 2 weeks, and 90% of the swelling is typically gone after 2 months.  You should be looking pretty good around week 3 to 4, but of course this will vary from person to person.  As the swelling of the skin and underlying soft tissue dissipates, the skin will return to a more natural appearance.  I hope this answers your question!

- Dr. Schmidt

As always, please remember that this response is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a patient-physician relationship.

Jeffrey L. Schmidt, MD
Englewood Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Post facelift swelling

In my hands, most patients look acceptable by 10 days. but start looking good at 2-3 weeks. I never take final photos until 3 months as the results continue to imporvbe with time.
best of luck

Shrinking skin after facelift

Usually the outside skin responds to what is being done in the deeper SMAS layer. Many plastic surgeons will do a SMAS plication or a SMASectomy where a portion of the SMAS is removed. The overlying skin then drapes over the SMAS layer. If you have swelling, this can take a few weeks to resolve. Head of bed elevation can help as can avoiding high salt intake. Best of luck, MMT 

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.