American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Medical Professionals

The power of skincare: Effective at-home skincare routines and treatments to complement plastic surgery procedures

skin care routines and treatments to complement plastic surgery procedures

Whether you had a plastic surgery procedure like a facelift or something noninvasive like microdermabrasion, you may find yourself in need of postoperative skincare. Giving your skin the right care during the recovery period is more important than ever because it helps ensure that your healing process goes as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Follow along as board-certified plastic surgeons and medical-grade skincare brand owners Smita Ramanadham, MD, owner of Skin by Dr. Smita, and Lara Devgan, MD, owner of Dr. Lara Devgan, discuss ways to provide your skin with the love and attention it needs during recovery, and how patients can get the most out of their facelift, neck lift or anything in between.

Key postoperative skincare practices and routines

Surgical procedures commonly sought out by women in their 50s and 60s, such as facelifts, often require specific postoperative care. Devgan explained that a tailored regimen is essential after a facelift to ensure gentle skincare and protection against factors such as sun exposure.

"One procedure that often requires specific postoperative care is a facelift," said Devgan. "Facelift surgery aims to address sagging skin, deep creases and loss of facial volume. After a facelift, it's crucial to follow a tailored postop regimen that includes extremely gentle skincare and protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure."

Similarly, a neck lift, which focuses on sagging skin and excess fat deposits in the neck area, may also require specific postoperative care.

"While postoperative care for most procedures involves similar principles, the intensity and duration of care may vary depending on the specific procedure performed," said Devgan. "For instance, more extensive surgeries such as body contouring procedures – such as a tummy tuck – may require additional attention to wound care, compression garment usage and monitoring for potential complications like seroma or hematoma formation."

It is essential to recognize that the intensity and duration of postoperative care may vary depending on the specific procedure performed. Your plastic surgeon will be able to provide a thorough postop care routine, which you should follow closes.

"It's imperative to consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to discuss the specific postoperative care required for each procedure," said Devgan. "They will provide personalized recommendations based on your unique circumstances, medical history and the specific surgery performed. Postoperative care plays a crucial role in achieving successful results, so it's vital to follow your plastic surgeon's instructions closely and communicate any concerns or questions you may have."

Recommended ingredients and products

To enhance the results of plastic surgery procedures, incorporating the right ingredients and products into your at-home skincare routine is crucial.

"I always recommend medical-grade skincare twice daily to all of my patients, especially those with facial procedures," said Ramanadham. "This includes sunscreen, antioxidants and retinol. This maintains a healthy skin barrier and good skin health, which is the foundation and maintains the great results you'll have from surgery."

Using a gentle cleanser is foundational to one's postop skincare routine, according to Devgan.

"At one-week postop, once your stitches are removed, it is crucial to begin delicately using a cleanser," said Devgan. "I recommend using a mild, nonabrasive cleanser, such as my Advanced Revitalizing Cleanser, to cleanse the skin twice a day. Avoid harsh scrubbing or rubbing motions, as this can irritate the skin and interfere with the healing process."

Following any plastic surgery procedure, women in their 50s and 60s may experience specific skin concerns and conditions that require attention and targeted care–particularly dryness.

"I often recommend a hyaluronic acid serum and moisturizers that contain peptides and ceramides," said Ramanadham.

These ingredients are known for their ability to deeply hydrate the skin and improve its moisture retention, providing relief from dryness.

"Additionally, women in this age group start to experience more blemishes and acne," said Ramanadham. "Adding exfoliants such as glycolic or lactic acid and/or a salicylic acid for sebum control as well as a retinol can help with these breakouts."

Regular moisturization is also crucial for maintaining the skin's health and promoting healing.

"Moisturizing the skin regularly is also essential," said Devgan. "By applying a gentle and hydrating moisturizer, you can keep the skin nourished and moisturized. Look for products with ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides, which help to replenish the skin's moisture barrier. I recommend my Advanced Recovery Cream to my patients."

And finally, sunscreen is vital for everyone, regardless of weather conditions or indoor activities, but especially for women who have just undergone a procedure such as a facelift or a neck lift.

"Everyone should be putting on daily sunscreen, rain or shine, even if they are staying indoors," said Ramanadham. "SPF should be 30 or higher and broad spectrum. Additionally, I do recommend a vitamin C product – this will help repair UV damage and neutralize free radicals, meaning it will decrease inflammation in the skin, as well as improve skin brightness. Finally, retinol should be used starting in your 20s and 30s to improve fine lines, pigmentation, acne and build collagen."

In terms of scar management, silicone-based products have long been recognized for their efficacy. Devgan highlights the benefits of silicone sheets and gels for scar improvement.

"One significant benefit of silicone sheets and gels is their ability to improve the appearance of scars by reducing their size, thickness, redness and overall visibility," said Devgan.

These products create a protective barrier over the scar, hydrating the skin and maintaining optimal moisture levels. This can minimize scar tissue formation and create a more favorable environment for healing.

Other lifestyle factors and habits for optimal results

In addition to skincare treatments, certain lifestyle factors significantly contribute to the effectiveness of plastic surgery procedures and the overall health of the skin.

"Every patient varies, but on the whole, the healthier you are, the easier your recovery will be. First and foremost, maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is crucial," said Devgan. "A diet rich in essential nutrients will support skin health and overall well-being."

Ramanadham echoes that sentiment: "A healthy lifestyle, including exercise, a healthy diet and hydration, is important to skin quality. Avoiding overly processed foods will also help."

Quality sleep plays a crucial role in the body's healing processes, including the regeneration of skin cells.

"It is important to prioritize quality sleep as well," said Devgan. "During sleep, the body repairs and regenerates cells, including skin cells. Aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to optimize the body's healing processes and promote a rejuvenated complexion. I always emphasize to my patients to allow themselves adequate time to recover and not push themselves into too much physical activity until they are ready."

To optimize the results of plastic surgery procedures, it is crucial to avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption.

"Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption is crucial," said Devgan. "Smoking can have detrimental effects on the skin, impairing blood flow and decreasing collagen production. Excessive alcohol intake can dehydrate the skin and compromise its integrity. By refraining from smoking and moderating alcohol consumption, you can support healthy skin and optimize the results of your plastic surgery procedure."

Emerging trends and advancements in at-home skincare

As the field of skincare continues to evolve, it is still important to prioritize results over trends and seek guidance from medical professionals throughout the process.

Ramanadham emphasized the importance of using medical-grade skincare products and maintaining consistency in one's routine.

"The most important thing is skincare should be medical-grade and you should be consistent," said Ramanadham. "This is a lifestyle change. Any treatments, such as microdermabrasion, should be done by a medical professional rather than at home. There are always new trendy ingredients, however, always consult with your plastic surgeon."

Devgan also advocated for a science-backed and solution-oriented approach to skincare. Rather than following skincare trends or fads, she recommends focusing on high-efficacy products that have undergone rigorous clinical research.

"When it comes to skin and overall health, it's important to prioritize results over trends," said Devgan. "I don't believe in following skincare trends or the latest fads. Instead, I recommend to all of my patients to focus on high-efficacy skincare products that are science-backed and solution-oriented."

While exploring emerging trends and advancements in at-home skincare, it is essential to approach new ingredients and treatments with caution. Consulting with a plastic surgeon is crucial to ensure that these trends align with individual needs and are compatible with the results of plastic surgery procedures. Expert advice will help navigate the vast array of options and make informed decisions that promote the long-term health and appearance of the skin.


Patient Care Center