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Facelift Healing: Recovery Time & Tips

Getting a facelift is an exciting time. The anticipation of a refreshed, youthful look is the real motivation for many people considering this type of plastic surgery. 

And, while the results of a facelift can be life-changing, it is important to remember that a facelift is still surgery. It does not stop there, though. The recovery process is just as important as the surgery itself, and it is essentia for patients to be prepared for what to expect.

The healing process can take several weeks, and there are certain things you can do to help ensure a smooth recovery.

Here are some facelift healing tips and recovery timeframes, so you know what to expect.

What Should I Expect on the Day of My Facelift Surgery?

On the day of your facelift, you can expect to feel groggy and constricted. This is because the medicine used to help you relax and feel comfortable during surgery will take some time to wear off. In some cases, patients will have drains in place to help remove any excess fluid from the surgery site. These drains are usually removed within a day or two after surgery. You will also have bandages wrapping your face, which will help minimize swelling and bruising.

The post-surgery appearance of your face will likely be somewhat swollen and bruised. This is normal. The major results of your surgery will not be visible until several weeks post-op.

How Long Does a Facelift Recovery Last?

Recovery from a facelift can take from two to four weeks. During this time, it is important to allow your body to heal. You should avoid any strenuous activity, such as exercise, lifting, and bending during the recovery period.

Below is a general timeline of what you can expect during your facelift recovery:

Few Days After the Facelift

A few days after the facelift, the swelling and bruising will start to reduce. You may also have some numbness in the affected area, which is completely normal. The majority of the swelling should be gone within two weeks, but it can take up to six weeks for all of the swelling to disappear.
During this time, it is crucial to keep your head elevated as much as possible to help reduce the swelling. You should also sleep on your back with your head and shoulders propped up on pillows. This will help keep the swelling down and prevent it from settling in certain areas. Additionally, you should avoid bending over or doing any other activity that could put strain on your face.

It is also essential to keep the area clean during this time. You will be given specific instructions on how to take proper care of your incisions, but in general you should clean them twice a day with soap and water. You should also avoid putting any makeup or lotions on your face until your surgeon advises you so.

First Week After a Facelift

One week after your facelift, you will have made significant progress in your recovery. You will probably feel better and have more energy. Your bruises and swelling will also begin to subside. Although you may still be conscious about your appearance, it is important to remember that you are not yet seeing the final results of your surgery. Just as it took time for the aging process to occur, it will also take time for your face to heal and for the full effects of your facelift to become apparent.

During this phase of your recovery, it is important to be patient and follow your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions carefully. You should still avoid strenuous activities, but light exercise such as walking is encouraged. You can also use cool compresses to help reduce any remaining pain or swelling.

Second Week After a Facelift

Reaching the two-week mark after a facelift is a big milestone. At this point, most patients are able to return to work, as long as their job is not physically strenuous. However, if you have a labor-intensive job, you may need to stay out of work for a bit longer. Even though you may still have some bruising and/or swelling, these should be minimal. You can cover bruising if your doctor allows it. Many patients feel comfortable going out in public at this point.

As your face heals and swelling goes down, you may feel tingling in your skin. This is a normal part of a facelift recovery, but if you are ever worried about a symptom, please call Dr Stavrou.

Your scars may still be visible at this point, but they will continue to heal and fade over time.

One Month After a Facelift

One month after your facelift, you should be feeling great. After a long month of recovery, you will be able to resume more strenuous activities and exercise. Even though the hardest part is over, you should still take care when progressing back into your routine. It is also important to listen to your body during this time and be aware of any changes or discomfort you may feel.

In general, one month after the facelift, most patients report being very pleased with their results. The final results will become apparent as the swelling continues to dissipate and your scars continue to fade. Tingling and tightness in the skin is also common at this stage, but generally nothing to be concerned about.

Remember, it can take as much as 12 months for your scars to fade and the subtle shifts in your appearance to become fully apparent. Therefore, it is important to be patient and give yourself time to heal.

What Should You Do Before Your Facelift Surgery to Make Recovery Easier?

A facelift is a big commitment, both in terms of time and money. Recovery can take several weeks, during which you will likely experience some swelling, bruising, and discomfort. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to prepare yourself for your procedure and make the recovery period run smoothly.

  •  Stock your freezer with ready-made meals that you can simply reheat and eat. This will ensure that you have plenty of nutritious food to eat during those first few weeks when you may not feel up to cooking. 
  • Get your clothes ready ahead of your surgery. This way, you can focus on healing and recovery.
  • Take time to prepare your resting space ahead of time so you will be able to ensure a comfortable and speedy recovery.

How to Help Incisions Heal and Scars Fade Away After a Facelift?

Though the skin has an amazing ability to heal, it can take time for your incisions to close and for your scars to fade. Here are a few things you can do to help the process along:

  • Stay hydrated.
  • Keep your head elevated.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Take multivitamins.
  • Stay away from direct sunlight.
  • Keep the incisions clean and dry.

Discover Cosmetic, Reconstructive & Plastic Surgery in Cyprus, Malta & Greece

If you are considering having a facelift, be sure to consult with an experienced and qualified cosmetic surgeon. 

Dr. Demetris Stavrou is a highly experienced and qualified plastic surgeon who offers a wide range of cosmetic and reconstructive facial procedures in Cyprus, Malta and Greece, including facelift, blepharoplasty, otoplasty and rhinoplasty.

 Facelift VS Botox? Learn which is best for you.


Dr Stavrou is a board-certified and highly experienced plastic surgeon in Cyprus, Greece and Malta, with a keen interest in informing patients about the latest updates on reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery.

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