I want to know how to minimize recovery time - particularly redness of scarring after a facelift?

I'm booked for a facelift in December and want to know how to maximise my chances of quick and invisible healing. I'm back at work 2 weeks and 2 days later... I'm having face, neck and brow lift and neck lips. (Just writing that makes me feel queasy!!) What do I do, plan, buy to make this easiest?

Doctor Answers 17

Scarring after Facelift

I include scar treatment with the V-Beam perfecta laser at no charge to all my surgical patients to help reduce redness and accelerate healing of scars after surgery.  My plastic surgery practice, like others, employs skin care professionals and make up artists who are masterful at helping people look great after surgery.   Keep in mind that the long term issues of incision placement, preservation of the hairline, natural looking ears and an overall natural, not pulled, and not overfilled look is the most important.

Be certain that your plastic surgeon and his support staff carefully explain to you all pre and post surgery protocol. At your pre-operative appointment, you should have scheduled visits for a year after surgery. Of course, if you have questions or concerns, contact your plastic surgeon whether or not you have an appointment.

Pay close attention to the instructions provided by your plastic surgeon. 


Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Minimizing Recovery Time following face, neck, forehead lift and lip injectables

Dear resolved:

Thanks for this post! Healing is misunderstood by both patients and physicians. You have many opportunities to optimize your healing but there are many factors that one cannot control. Bruising and swelling are a given following any injectable or surgical procedure.

In your case, the magnitude of the surgery will add to the expected bruising and swelling. Do not expect a "quick and invisible improvement in 2 weeks. My patients are counseled that swelling will reduce 70 to 80% in 3 weeks and bruising may take 3 weeks or more to resolve. 

From a homeopathic approach we highly recommend that our patients eat fresh pineapple several days before their procedures, the day of and following. The Bromelain in fresh pineapple has been shown to have great anti-inflammatory properties that helps to reduce the bruising of the face and neck. In addition we recommend arnica montana in pill form and gel form the day of the procedure and the following days. 

The coordinated dynamic process of healing takes a full year or more to complete and is dependent on genes, environment, health, diet, stress / rest and other factors. Obviously, patients do not / cannot wait this long to return to increasing exertion, stress and activities but must be aware there are things which slow or optimize healing but very few which shorten the healing cycles. I feel strongly that without a good diet high in protein, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, the recovery periods will be prolonged and healing delayed. Gaining weight following a procedure creates a pro-inflammatory effect which prolongs swelling and lumpiness. 

Prior to surgery, the following can be helpful:
  1. hydration,
  2. stress reduction,
  3. moderate exercise,
  4. lack of sun, weather and UV injury,
  5. pre-operative retinoids and pigmentation control 
  6. excellent nutrition (as above),

Following surgery:
  1. elevation,
  2. cool compresses,
  3. gentle massage,
  4. hydration,
  5. continued nutrition, 
  6. slow but steady increase in activities,
  7. preventive measures to reduce further swelling or injury, 
1 week following surgery:
  1. camouflage make-up

2 to 3 weeks following surgery:
  1. return to retinoids and pigmentation control,
  2. sun-block
  3. lymphatic massage,
  4. alternating warm and cool compresses, 
  5. various options in lasers and IPL
Many patients express concern that swelling persists followed by lumpiness for 6 to 12 weeks after surgery. This is true as the body has now responded to sealing the injury, building a foundation for new attachments of skin and soft tissues to maintain the surgical corrections and by 3 months, begins the longer process of remodeling the scar (collagen) into a thinner sheet. 

Please review these and other recommendations from your own surgeon. 

I hope this is helpful. Take care of your investment and give it the time to heal properly. All the best!



Dean P. Kane, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Facelift Recovery Protocol

Thank you for your question.

Here is a list of “Do’s and Don’ts” in my opinion I would advise my patients to help recovery:

  • Do use a cool pack on the incisions as this will help reduce any residual fullness.
  • Do continue with painkillers if required, as around 5% of patients will have some ear pain which will settle within a week or two.
  • Do shower and hair wash daily.
  • Do resume normal activities however avoid vigorous exercise or heavy lifting for 2 weeks post procedure.
  • Don’t apply any make up, moisturiser or oils to the incision line until advised by us.
  • Don’t allow pets of any variety to share a bed with you and avoid allowing pets near your face for the first four weeks after your procedure. Allowing pets near your face has the potential to result in an infection. However being vigilant will help reduce this risk.
  • Do be vigilant with hand hygiene.
  • Do notify us immediately if you have any concerns or notice any increased redness, heat around the incision or if you have any discharge from around the ear.
Once you have seen your plastic surgeon for your follow up, they may advise on when you can start massaging the incision areas and the best technique to use. They may recommend the use of scar improvement oils such as Bio-oil.

All the Best with your recovery!

Recovery after your #facelift

The recovery will depend in part:
  • on what type of #facelift, #necklift, you are having.
  • additional procedures
  • type of anaesthesia
  • age
  • tendency toward bruising

For optimal scarring, follow your surgeon's instructions on postoperative care. If you have redness to your skin tone, lasers can help treat scar discoloration. Every surgeon will have his/her preference for scar management. 

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Facelift Recovery Time

There are many pre and post op protocols to minimize swelling after facelift.The redness of scars is typical in the healing phases.The best thing is to follow your Plastic Surgeon’s direction and discuss options in minimizing recovery time.

Eugene Kim, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Uncomplicated recovery after facelift

 First and foremost, you should follow your surgeon's advice and make all your follow up appointments.  You should minimize your vigorous activity doing your healing.  This should help your overall recovery. 

Facelift recovery


Thank you for your question.  There are several things you can do to optimize your recovery...most important is to carefully follow your pre and postoperative instructions.  Avoid any medications or herbals that have blood thinning effects as directed by your surgeon.  Bromelein and Arnica Montana may minimize bruising.  Silicone or scar recovery gels may help the redness of postoperative scarring.  I would recommend consultation with a facial plastic surgeon to discuss what option is best for you.

"This answer has been solicited without seeing this patient and cannot be held as true medical advice, but only opinion. Seek in-person treatment with a trained medical professional for appropriate care."

Minimize scarring

Best way to minimize scaring is to follow your doctors instructions.  Remember the wound at rest heals best.  Sunscreen is a plus.   The many scar creams have no magic.   Everyone takes a different path and time to heal.   My Best,  Dr Commons

Facelift recovery

 In our practice, we used drains to remove the blood out from underneath the skin during a facelift procedure  that are removed one to 2 days after the procedure. This minimizes significantly the amount of bruising, versus applying pressure wraps.  Two weeks as an acceptable period of time  to heal when you can get back to social activities or work environment.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Facelift recovery

Two weeks should be adequate recovery time from a facelift.  There is variability with regard to swelling, bruising, and scarring, but if you go to the right surgeon, you should be okay to return to work within your timeframe.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 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.