After Your Surgery
Directly after the procedure, your skin will be fairly red and swollen, and eating and speaking may be difficult. You'll probably feel some tingling, burning, or aching; any pain you feel can be controlled with medications prescribed by your surgeon. The swelling will begin to subside within a few days to a week.
If you remember the scrapes you got when you fell down as a child, you'll have an idea of what to expect from this type of surgery. A scab or crust will form over the treated area as it begins to heal. This will fall off as a new layer of tight, pink skin forms underneath. Your face may itch as new skin starts to grow, and your surgeon may recommend an ointment to make you more comfortable. If ointment is applied immediately after surgery, little or no scab will form.
In any case, you surgeon will give you detailed instructions on how to care for your skin after surgery. For men, this will include delaying shaving and using an electric razor your first time shaving post survery. It's very important that you understand your doctor's instructions and follow them exactly, to ensure the best possible healing.
If you notice the treated area beginning to get worse instead of better (if it becomes increasingly red, raised, and itchy after it has started to heal), it may be a sign that abnormal scars are beginning to form. Call your surgeon as soon as possible, so that treatment can begin early.
Getting Back to Normal
Your new skin will be a bit swollen, sensitive, and bright pink for several weeks. During this time, you can gradually begin to resume your normal activities.
You can expect to be back at work in about two weeks. Your surgeon will probably advise you to avoid any activity that could cause a bump to your face for at least two weeks. More active sports (especially those involving a ball) should be avoided for four to six weeks. If you swim, stick to indoor pools to avoid sun and wind, and keep your face out of chlorinated water for at least four weeks. It will be at least three to four weeks before you can drink alcohol without experiencing a flush of redness.
Above all, it's important to protect your skin from the sun until the pigment has completely returned to your skin- as long as six to twelve months.
Your New Look
Refinishing treatments can offer dramatic improvements in the surface of your skin, but it will take some time before you see the final results.
The pinkness of your skin will take about three months to fade. In the meantime, you'll probably want to wear non-allergenic makeup when you go out (for tips on hiding your condition while it heals, ask your surgeon for the ASPS brochure on camouflage cosmetics.) When your new skin is fully repigmented, the color should closely match the surrounding skin, making the procedure virtually undetectable.