10 Things You Can and Cannot Do Before Facial Plastic Surgery

10 Things You Can and Cannot Do Before Facial Plastic Surgery featured image
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An important part of having a cosmetic procedure is following the doctor’s pre- and post-care recommendations to the letter. Before, during and after your surgery you’ll want to protect your investment to ensure the best possible result. For facial surgery, sometimes that means putting your other skin care and anti-aging treatments on pause and veering from your regimen. Here, top plastic surgeons share which tools and treatments you can and cannot use before and after facial surgery to ensure the best results.   

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Stop Wrinkle-Relaxing Injections

“If you’re having an upper blepharoplasty, you’ll want to get your last neurotoxin treatment no later than three months prior to your surgery so that it has time to wear off,” explains Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon David Lieberman, MD. “However, we often use neurotoxin on browlift patients a month before to weaken the brow depressor muscles and minimize the tension on the lift.”

According to Scottsdale, AZ facial plastic surgeon Kelly Bomer, MD, while wrinkle relaxers are typically recommended to be put on pause, there are some patients that do receive injections three weeks prior to eyelid surgery. “We do this to reduce the eye smile musculature which softens movement around the new incisions and improves healing.”

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Postpone Filler

Chicago plastic surgeon Michael Byun, MD tells his patients to avoid filler injections, especially in the under-eye area before surgery. “It does blunt the target, meaning it fills up the muscle and skin so surgery results can be negatively influenced,” he says. “I also recommend not using the filler dissolver hyaluronidase either, as it lowers the viscosity of the hyaluronic acid which increases tissue permeability. It doesn’t digest the particle, it makes it slippery so it moves away, which can cause irregularities which make lower eye surgery more challenging and unpredictable.”

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Lay Off Lasers

As far as lasers are concerned, New York plastic surgeon Mokhtar Asaadi, MD advises his patients to skip the resurfacing treatment before eye and facial surgery. “They can interfere with healing process and might limit what can be done at the time of surgery,” he cautions.

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Halt Harsh Actives

While continuing a medical-grade skin-care regimen is really important to ensuring your skin looks good after your procedure, Palo Alto, CA facial plastic surgeon Sachin Parikh, MD notes that you can take a break from Retin-A or retinol beforehand as it can be irritating to the skin. “At least five to seven days before the surgery,” he says. 

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Skip the Makeup

“Early on after surgery, I advise that patients abstain from using makeup and skin care directly on the surgical sites,” says New York facial plastic surgeon Edward S. Kwak, MD.

“I request patients to refrain from using makeup for two weeks near incisions to prevent irritation or accidental pigmentation,” adds Kirkland, WA facial plastic surgeon Daniel J. Liebertz, MD.

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Steer Clear of Shellfish

Arcadia, CA plastic surgeon Arthur Yu, MD notes, “Most people may not know that shellfish is a rich source of amines, which are the precursors of histamine, the very mediator for tissue edema and inflammation.” Dr. Yu recommends avoiding shellfish for at least four months after a facial surgery. “Otherwise, the patient might experience a period of ‘paradoxical’ swelling with no obvious reason,” he says.

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Take a Break from Accutane

Dr. Liebertz says that patients who are using Accutane (isotretinoin) are required to stop the medication for at least six months, and sometimes up to a year, prior to any surgery. “Isotretinoin can cause extremely poor wound healing,” he explains.

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Thumbs Up for At-Home Treatments

When it comes to facial rollers, face masks and LED light therapy, these gentle stimulators are cleared for use before and after surgery. “Prior to facial surgery it is helpful to have healthy hydrated skin,” Dr. Bomer says. “LED light may increase the healing after surgery and would be a recommended boost by most surgeons both pre and post-surgery.”

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Make Time for Microcurrent

Dr. Yu says microcurrent treatments are easy on the skin and are also good to use within reason. “At-home microcurrent is safe to use and you don’t need to wait to use it unless one runs wild with the device leading to too much energy delivered.”

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Full Steam Ahead on Facials

Pampering your skin is a go before and after surgery as long as the treatment is mild. “Aesthetician facials focused on hydration and light exfoliation would help the skin be healthy and plump and in a better position to heal from surgery,” says Dr. Bomer.

“I also recommend a HydraFacial treatment before facial surgery if needed as it is safe to undergo,” adds Dr. Asaadi.  

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