How long after a facelift will I look normal?
A facelift is a safe and effective way for patients to improve their appearance by eliminating signs of aging, such as sagging skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. Patients who have a big event coming up often look to this procedure as a means of looking their best before presenting themselves to others. When properly planned out and prepared, patients can ensure a smooth recovery period so that they can achieve their ideal look with as little time away from work as possible and just in time for their next social engagement.
Facelift procedures have helped countless patients all over the world achieve long-lasting results with minimal pain, scarring, and downtime. The recovery process varies from patient to patient and is affected by a number of factors. Having a good understanding of the recovery process and the factors that affect it will help patients go forward with more confidence.
The first day of recovery
Following the procedure, patients will have to remain in the treatment facility for one night and will be attended to by our staff. Our nurses routinely perform ‘cooling’ on the treated areas in order to keep swelling and bruising at a minimum. Patients will need to arrange for someone to drive them home. Ideally, this person will also be able to stay with them for the first 24 to 48 hours of their recovery.
The first week of recovery
It is normal for the patient’s face to feel a bit swollen and tight for the first one to two weeks. Patients will be prescribed pain medication in order to manage any discomfort they may feel during this period. As pain is an incredibly individual experience, medication and management will be customized based on the patient’s pain tolerance levels. During the first week of recovery, patients are encouraged to focus solely on getting as much rest and relaxation as possible. Patients should refrain from becoming too active during this time and keep head movement and a minimum. It is vital that patients avoid overexerting themselves during this time.
Within the first week following the procedure, a follow-up appointment is scheduled. This meeting is simply intended to check on the patient’s progress and provide them with a custom set of instructions in order to guide them through the process and shorten their downtime. Most of the stitches are removed from the patient’s face during this visit.
Two weeks into recovery
Certain side effects, such as swelling and bruising, are likely to remain present into the second week and are not a cause for concern. It is possible for residual swelling to persist for several months, but the most noticeable swelling symptoms typically dissipate by the two-month mark. By this time, patients start looking and feeling much better, enabling them to get back out into the world and do the things they love.
Depending on the type of work that the patient is involved in, most patients feel ready to get back to work in just 10 to 14 days after their procedure. Patients will be allowed to incorporate some very light exercise after the first week. By the second week, the patient is allowed to lift light weights and do some cardio exercises. However, all forms of straining, head-down, or high-impact exercises are still off the table through this period. By the third week of recovery, patients are usually allowed to get back into more intense workouts.
When will the results settle in?
As previously mentioned, there is usually some residual swelling that lasts for several months. That said, these effects are usually only noticeable to the patient and not onlookers. Patients usually look good by the one-month mark. They tend to look their best by the six-month mark when all residual swelling has dissipated.
After undergoing the procedure, patients will be able to enjoy their results for years to come. Most facelift patients find that they don’t need a follow-up treatment for up to 15 years. This is another reason that facelift procedures are such a great investment.
What is the takeaway?
The recovery process plays a major role in determining when a patient’s face will look “normal” again. Patients usually feel presentable after a few weeks but find that light swelling remains for several months. Following post-procedural instructions is the best way to ensure a smooth and speedy recovery.
It is vital that patients choose a licensed, highly experienced practitioner to carry out their facelift procedure. Dr. Halaas has performed countless facelifts on patients in her Manhattan and Westchester offices. She utilizes her years of expertise to curate individualized treatment plans, helping patients get to where they want to be with unmatched accuracy.
Reach out to us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our facelift procedures.