American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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Information for You and Your Patient Physician's Guide

This Information for You and Your Patient Physician’s Guide covers cosmetic camouflage; finding the right physician; video/computer simulations; and insurance coverage.

Cosmetic Camouflage

Patients who have recently undergone cosmetic surgery may needlessly hide themselves away during the recuperative period because the bruising, swelling, discoloration or other evidence of the procedure is all too apparent. While most of these temporary disfigurements cannot be hidden entirely, they can be minimized to give the patient a more conventional appearance.

The surgeon can advise the patient on an appropriate time to begin applying makeup and concealers, but a general rule of thumb for a surgical procedure is to wait until after the stitches have been removed and the incision completely closed. With a face peel or dermabrasion, it is usually safe to use makeup after the crust is gone.

Concealers are opaque, waterproof creams or sticks used to hide incision lines and bruises. They work best when they match the surrounding skin color. Concealers can be used over, under or without foundation, but they should be used with care and caution around the eyes.

Color-correcting fluids neutralize red or yellowish skin tones. For example, lavender neutralizes yellow tones, while green neutralizes red. These fluids are for use under the foundation.

Contouring can disguise swelling and create an illusion of highlights and shadows. A highlighter about two shades lighter than the foundation brings the area forward, while a contour shadow about two shades darker makes the feature recede. A patient who wanted to emphasize the cheekbone and disguise a swollen cheek would use highlighter on the bone and cover the swollen area with contour shadow. These techniques take some practice, but most patients feel the results are worth the effort.

Skin care is especially important after a peel or surgery. Cosmetics should always be removed nightly with cleansing cream. When the skin is clean, the patient should use an alcohol-free toner and then apply moisturizer to keep the skin hydrated.