Recovery 101: How To Heal After A Facelift

blue-eyed, blonde woman with smooth facial skin and red lipstick

Facelifts are one of the most popular forms of cosmetic surgery and for good reason. A youthful, smooth face gives people a renewed sense of confidence in their appearance throughout the natural aging process.

People considering a facelift should think about the procedure itself and the necessary recovery. Since a facelift is an invasive form of plastic surgery, recovery takes some time. It requires active involvement from patients to expedite the body’s adaptation to surgical changes.  

Ready to experience the restorative and rejuvenating power of a facelift? Here is a quick primer on what to expect during the facelift recovery process and how you can assist with healing. 

Within One Week After Surgery: Get Your Rest

The first seven days after a facelift is rest time. Swelling and pain will be most acute during this period. Take any prescribed medications on schedule and keep the head elevated. 

During this period, bandages are applied to the face to ensure equal pressure to bring about reductions in bruising and swelling. Any bandages must be kept clean and should not be removed or modified until the surgeon clears patients. 

It is essential to take care of any sutures/stitches that hold incisions in place. Disturbing incision sites is painful and can affect some of the procedure results. Do not be alarmed if it seems like the facelift “did not work” during the first week after surgery.

The face might look weird or out of place as it adjusts to surgical changes but will gradually even out and look more aesthetically appealing as weeks go on. 

Walking around and moving around the house is recommended to get blood flowing. Just be sure to stay away from any exercise or strenuous activity – the body is not ready. 

One To Two Weeks After Surgery: Keep Taking It Easy

Removal of stitches and sutures usually commences within two weeks of a facelift. At this point, expect swelling and bruising along with tingling, numbness, or tightness. All of these feelings are normal. The vast majority of swelling and bruising dissipates in the second and third week after surgery, but it can take up to a year for the face to completely heal.

Continue to take it easy to expedite the healing process, but the second week of recovery means it is time to start doing some light activities to keep blood flowing to the face and boost energy. 

Dr. Zochowski is happy to show patients how to lightly apply makeup if they are interested in heading out in public but still feel a bit self-conscious about their appearance. 

Two To Four Weeks After Surgery: Stay Out Of The Sun

Towards the end of the first month after a facelift, most people feel good enough to return to work and some forms of exercise. Spotted swelling and some bruising come at this stage of healing. Incisions will start to appear pink or lighter shades of red as they heal.
Sun safety becomes an integral part of the healing process as people start to resume daily activities and expose their face to the outdoors. Sunscreen is a must – along with a hat – to prevent premature aging of the skin due to the sun’s rays. Incision sites are still tender and vulnerable and should be covered up by makeup or hair whenever possible.
Proper sun safety goes a long way towards facilitating the long-term healing process.

One Month And Beyond: Watch The Face Closely For Changes

Most people are back to normal activities after the one-month postoperative period. While it can take up to a year for all swelling and tingling to subside, the face usually looks very natural. Just the patient and surgeon usually notice any residual effects at this point.

The healing process is different for everybody. Practice good judgment in the months following a facelift to keep track of progress and notify the performing cosmetic surgeon about any abnormalities or dramatic changes.

Rejuvenating The Face With The Help Of Zochowski Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

Schedule a consultation with our office in Gahanna, Ohio if you are interested in the many benefits of a facelift and want to learn more about the procedure. 

Our team works closely with patients during the recovery process to ensure swift healing and teaches you to be an active participant as your face returns to normal to fully enjoy the effects of a facelift. We look forward to speaking with you! 


Contact us today or call 614-490-7500.