Plastic surgeons aren’t exaggerating when they say a good facelift can turn back the clock 10 years or more. It’s an incredible procedure that has come a long way in recent years with new techniques for improved results and new methods to expedite healing. But regardless of how perfect the surgery goes, what patients do afterward to maintain their results is essential.
“For facelift patients, I always let them know these facts: Healthy skin will always heal faster, and a facelift will only tighten the skin, not improve the quality of it,” says Short Hills, NJ facial plastic surgeon Alexander Ovchinsky, MD. These are the skin-care products plastic surgeons recommend using after a facelift for optimal recovery and results.
“I provide three Skinbetter Science products [the two others are included below] to all of my facelift patients because I believe they are beneficial in the healing process, as well as the long-term maintenance of their results,” says Austin, TX facial plastic surgeon Yula A. Indeyeva, MD. “This cream works by stimulating collagen production in the skin, as well as collagen organization. In general, this leads to skin tightening and softening fine lines and wrinkles. Collagen production is important during the healing process, as it is the major structural protein in our skin and connective tissues.”
“I love the Alastin skin-care line for patients before and after a facelift,” says Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon Jill L. Hessler, MD. “People often think of using skin care only after surgery, but Alastin creates a new paradigm in preparing the skin before surgery, too. The products clear the skin of free-radical damage and help your body. With continued use, you get thicker skin and more collagen and elastin in the skin. Historically most products only focused on collagen, but Alastin also increases the amount of elastin in the skin, which helps with the health and resilience of the skin.”
“I highly recommend the Environ Vitamin Step-Up System, as vitamin A is like oxygen for our skin,” says Dr. Ovchinsky. “This system is a great way to brighten, improve texture and introduce vitamin A every day for all skin types—even the most sensitive—without any irritation or side effects.”
“I do a formal pre- and post-care package for all my patients. In surgery, at the end of the procedure, I apply CO2Lift Carboxy Gel, which leads to profound hydration and dilation that brings blood flow and nutrients to the skin,” says Campbell, CA, plastic surgeon Kamakshi R. Zeidler, MD. “The carbon dioxide dose leads to an intense dose of oxygen to the skin. This means that healing is faster and the viability of tissue is improved.
Whether it’s the the skin edges near incisions or fat grafts that need to engraft, this increase in blood flow and oxygen if a profound contributor to healing quickly and well. Patients will also do this topical mask that sits on the skin for an hour a time, once a day for the three days after surgery.”
“This is a 100-percent mineral sunscreen that is vital in helping to protect the vulnerable healing regions from darkening after facial surgery,” says Dr. Indeyeva. “I love that it imparts tinted coverage to help conceal areas of discoloration typically seen during the healing process. It is vital that the sunscreen is 100-percent mineral, as chemical-based sunscreens can lead to irritation and sensitivity of delicate healing skin. I also love the built-in mirror and applicator sponge for on-the-go touch-ups for my patients!”
“After surgery patients will use this gentle cleanser and healing nectar, which decrease bruising and eliminate edema more quickly, as well as enhance healing by boosting the production of collagen and elastin,” says Dr. Zeidler.
“Patients will transition to a maintenance skin-care regimen after this, and I always incorporate one of the Alastin topicals to maintain the benefits of the brand’s TriHex Technology. My favorites are the Restorative Skin Complex as a main staple, and for those who have issues with post-inflammatory pigmentation, I recommend the new A-Luminate.
When patients do skin resurfacing at the same time as the facelift, I recommend the Recovery Balm to protect the skin until the epidermis regenerates.”
“This works by increasing the levels of nitric oxide in the skin,” says Dr. Indeyeva. “During face and necklift procedures, as the skin is lifted from underlying tissues, there is a temporary interruption to its blood supply. In the next few days as the skin re-establishes new blood supply, it relies on its own tiny capillaries for nourishment. Nitric oxide works on the endothelial cell layer of blood vessels, causing them to dilate and allowing more blood to pass through. In turn, this increases the blood flow and facilitates healing.”