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When Will Your Face Look Normal after a Facelift?

Older woman holding one side of face to smooth wrinkles away

One of the most common concerns that men and women have when preparing for a facelift is how much time they’ll have to spend away from work and social activities while they recover. While you will have to plan for some downtime to recuperate from your procedure, you shouldn’t have to take too much time away from your daily activities.

This guide outlines what you can expect after a facelift and explains when you might be able to get back to performing various parts of your regular routine.

1. Expect to Look a Little Worse before You Look Better

Don’t be alarmed if your face develops significant bruising or swelling. These effects are to be expected after a facial plastic surgery like a facelift and should gradually diminish as your body heals. After your facelift, you will be sent home with bandages covering your face. These are meant to cover your incisions, as well as act as compression to reduce swelling.

Keep your head elevated while resting and sleeping during the first stage of your facelift recovery. This can also help with swelling. Many people find that propping their heads up on multiple pillows or using a special pillow designed to elevate your upper body can be helpful.

You won’t be able to drive home from your facelift surgery, so make sure you have another responsible adult with you.

2. Avoid Wearing Makeup until Day 21

For the first three weeks, avoid applying makeup or using other cosmetic products on your face unless otherwise directed by your plastic surgeon. After, you should be able to start wearing makeup to help camouflage any swelling. At this point, you can start to venture back out into your social life, as long as you’re feeling up to it. Keep physical activity to a minimum, and take it slowly.

3. Plan on Taking 2 Weeks Away from Work

Most people take about two weeks off work after their facelift. This can vary, depending on how physically demanding your occupation is and how well you’re feeling around the two-week mark. Some people may be able to return to work sooner than 2 weeks, and others might want a few additional days off. Whatever you decide, make sure you get the okay from your facial plastic surgeon before heading back to work.

4. Start to Resume Normal Activities after 2 Weeks

After the first 2 weeks of recovery, you should be able to slowly return to your normal daily activities. Work, errands and intimate relationships should be fine to resume at this point. Still, avoid very vigorous exercise and sports and other exercises that may result in direct contact with your face. Talk to your plastic surgeon before taking your exercise routine up a notch.

5. Full Results Can Take 6 Months or Longer to Develop

You will see gradual anti-aging improvements over the weeks and months following your facelift. While you should be able to go out in public and look like a refreshed version of yourself around the two-week mark, know that it can take up to 6 months for your full outcome to reveal itself.

Be patient as your results continue to develop, and don’t get discouraged if you don’t see your final outcome right away. Like all great things in life, your facelift results are worth waiting for.


When Will Your Face Look Normal after a Facelift?
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When Will Your Face Look Normal after a Facelift?
Not sure what to expect after a facelift? Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Waleed Ezzat of Boston, Massachusetts explains your aftercare timeline.
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November 7, 2018
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