How to Reduce Bruising and Swelling after Facelift

Tips to Minimise Swelling and Bruising during Recovery after Facelift Surgery

A Facelift is a popular surgical procedure that can help reduce signs of gravity, ageing, and sun damage. If you want to look 10 years younger and improve your looks for years to come, there is no better option than a facelift. Even though patients experience minimal pain during the post-operative phase, inflammation and bruising can be very frustrating. Both bruising and swelling after facelift surgery are a normal part of the recovery process. With the right aftercare, you can considerably minimise these side effects and have a more comfortable recovery.

Sydney Plastic Surgeon Dr Scott Turner is a facelift expert and is committed to providing a premium patient care experience during the surgery as well as the recovery phase.

How to Reduce Swelling and Bruising Post Facelift Surgery

Here are some suggestions that can help you have a faster recovery and help minimise swelling and bruising after facelift surgery:

1. Follow your Post-Surgical Instructions

During your consultation, Dr Scott Turner will review the basics of the facelift surgery and assess your health to ensure you are the right candidate for the procedure. He will also ask you to take certain tests to prevent any complications during and post the surgery. A team member will give you detailed post-surgical instructions that you need to follow to prevent any side effects. Make sure to follow them. The instructions will include changing your bandages, caring for incisions, information regarding drugs and medications, movement, exercise, rest and overall tips.

2. Cold Compresses can help Minimise Bruising and Swelling after Facelift

There is a reason behind using cold compressions and it is not limited to feeling comfortable. Using ice packs on your face can minimise bruises and inflammation. Freezing temperatures fight against swelling by constricting the blood vessels. Apart from that, cold can numb the nerve endings and minimise pain and discomfort. However, be careful and avoid ice burning yourself. It is recommended to avoid hot temperatures for four to six weeks after the treatment as it can worsen the inflammation. If you got the surgery done during hot summer months, make sure to stay indoors with the air conditioner on.

3. Keep Your Head Elevated

It is very normal and expected to experience tightness in the face and neck area. This sensation can disrupt your sleep as well. Dr Scott recommends propping up your head with the help of a few pillows while sleeping. You can also use a foam wedge or sleep in a recliner for the first couple of days. Keeping your head elevated will reduce swelling post the facelift surgery.

4. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Drinking water is important for your overall health and for your recovery. Water helps your body to get rid of the excess fluid trapped inside your tissues. The more water you drink, the less fluid retention you’ll have. Aim to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Eat fruit and vegetables with high water content, stay away from caffeinated beverages that can dehydrate your body. Water is not only free, easily available but is surely going to be your best friend during the recovery phase.

5. Resting Enough Is Important

It is important to prepare a comfortable space in your home for resting and healing. Make sure your bedroom has all the things that will come in handy during the recovery- extra pillows, light music, essentials within your arm’s reach, water, snacks and whatever you need. Aim at sleeping 8 hours per night and take naps throughout the day as needed. Adequate rest will not only help with the recovery but also minimise swelling.

6. Eat Right

It is very tempting to order your favourite foods online when you are stuck in bed. However, it is not such a great idea post the surgery. Try eating home cooked meals that are low in sodium. Avoid packaged foods, fast foods and any other food items that have a high salt content. Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables, healthy carbs and fats, and protein and you will surely see an improvement in the swelling and your energy levels.

Things to Avoid Post-Surgery to Minimise Bruising and Swelling

Doing all the right things is as important as avoiding certain activities that can delay the healing process and make you feel uncomfortable. Let’s get to the list of don’ts:

1. Do Not Sleep on Your Front or Side

Sleeping on your front or side can put pressure on the incision sites which can worsen both swelling and bruising while affecting the results of the surgery. Make sure to sleep on your back and keep your head in an elevated position.

2. Avoid Blood Thinning Medication

Stay clear of blood thinning medications. All sorts of blood thinners can lead to bruising. Make sure to stick to prescribed medications only. Please tell your Surgeon what you are taking.

3. Limit Your Salt Intake

Salt can lead to water retention and worsen the swelling. Hence it is best to avoid all sorts of packaged and fast foods. Try eating home-cooked meals as much as you can, choose foods that have a high water content, and drink plenty of water.

4. Do Not Overexert Yourself

You want to get back to your life as soon as possible. If you are a gym enthusiast, avoiding workouts can be a huge bummer but you need to let your body heal first.  Stay clear of high intensity workouts and heavy lifting as it can disrupt the recovery and cause swelling to linger on for much longer.

5. Do Not Miss any Follow Up Visits

It is important not to skip on your follow-up appointments. If your recovery is going as planned, you might want to skip on your next follow up visit. However, it can be dangerous and do more harm than good. Follow-up visits give Dr Turner a chance to review your progress and then make the necessary amendments.

6. Limit Caffeine Intake

Avoid all sorts of caffeinated beverages if you can. If you cannot, limit the caffeine intake to one beverage per day. Excessive caffeine can dehydrate your body which is never a good thing for post-surgical swelling.

FAQs about Bruising and Swelling after Facelift Surgery & Facelift Recovery Tips

Here is a list of frequently asked questions we get regarding recovery after facelift surgery:

How long does swelling last after facelift surgery?

  • Expect the swelling to linger around for 3 to 4 weeks after your facelift surgery. Most of the swelling will subside by the end of the first month. The little bit of residual swelling can linger for a few months, but it’s barely visible.

How do you reduce swelling after facelift surgery?

  • Here are a few tips that will help minimise swelling after a facelift surgery: do not skip on follow up visits, stay clear of blood thinning medications, take all the prescribed meds, eat a healthy, low-sodium diet, drink lots of water, sleep on your back, use cold compresses, and stick to all the pre and post-op instructions given by Dr Turner.

How can I heal faster after facelift surgery?

  • Everyone is different and heals at a different pace. Do not rush the recovery and allow your body enough time to rest and recover. If you stick to all the pre and post-op instructions, your body will heal at the right pace.

Can you ice too much after facelift surgery?

  • Yes, you actually can ice too much and end up ice burning yourself. Make sure to wrap the ice in a towel and apply it to your face for 10 to 15 minutes at a time and then take a break for 15 minutes.

When should I use scar cream after facelift surgery?

  • Although, the scars of the facelift surgery are typically well concealed and won’t show much, you can use scar removal creams once your incisions have healed completely. The timeline for incision healing is one to two weeks after the surgery for most people.

How do you stop bruising on your face post-surgery?

  • You cannot stop bruising from happening in the first place post facelift surgery. It is your body’s natural response to the trauma caused to your tissues during the process of the surgery. However, if you follow all the pre and post op instructions religiously, the bruising will go away quickly.

What helps bruising after surgery?

  • Here are a few tips that help with bruising post-surgery: use cold compression, take all the prescribe meds, stay clear of blood thinners, and keep your head elevated while sleeping.

When does bruising go away after surgery?

  • For most people, the bruising will subside in about two to three weeks’ time post the surgery.

What do you put on your scars after facelift surgery?

  • You can use silicone strips and gels on your scars once the incisions gave healed completely after the facelift surgery. Always consult Dr Turner in regards to the best topical ointments to use after the surgery.

How do you reduce inflammation after surgery?

  • Stick to all the pre and post op instructions: do not smoke or drink, use cold compresses, keep your body hydrated and eat a healthy diet, take all the prescribed meds, and keep your head elevated while resting in bed.

How long do I use scar removal ointment after facelift?

  • You can continue using scar minimising ointments for one to three weeks after getting the facelift surgery.

When can I sleep on my side after facelift?

  • It is best to avoid sleeping on your side or face for at least 4 weeks after getting the facelift surgery. 

Should I massage my face after facelift?

  • You can massage your face once your face incisions have fully healed and your surgeon approves. Gentle upward and outward massage strokes can help with lymphatic drainage and make your face look less puffy.

How do you prevent scarring after facelift surgery?

  • Here are a few tips that will help minimise scars post facelift surgery: stay well hydrated, take care of your incisions, avoid stepping out in the sun without sunscreen, do not put pressure on your incisions, and use silicone gels/creams on your scars.

Does toothpaste get rid of bruises?

  • No, it is not recommended to use toothpaste on your bruises. Certain ingredients in the toothpaste can irritate your skin and make the bruising much worse.

How do you get rid of a bruise in 24 hours?

  • There is no way you can get rid of the bruise in a matter of 24 hours. However, if you follow all the pre and post-op instructions, you will be able to get rid of most of the bruising in about 2 weeks.

Is bruising and swelling normal after surgery?

  • Yes, it is normal and expected to experience bruising and swelling after the surgery. If you follow all the pre and post-op instructions, most of the bruising and swelling will subside in about three weeks.

Can I drink coffee after facelift surgery?

  • You can drink coffee post the facelift. However, it is important to limit the intake to about one cup a day as it can excessive caffeine can dehydrate your body.

Next Steps

Always Do Your Research

  • Enquire to find out more about your surgery
  • Please read our website to learn more about your intended procedure

Do you need a Medical Referral to see Dr Turner?

  • A GP Referral is required to Consult with Dr Turner (under new AHPRA Regulations)
  • Please obtain a referral from your GP or Specialist if you want a consultation for an MBS item number surgery.
  • Please note that your Medicare Rebates will NOT be claimable without a valid recent Medical Referral

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly examine all the documents provided

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

How to Book Your Consultation

  • You can book your initial consultation by paying the $350 cosmetic consultation fee in advance – when you make your appointment


  • To find out more information about surgery you can book a FREE 15-minute phone conversation with our Friendly Patient Care team via Calendly- Book Consultant 1 or Book Consultant 2

Contact us or call on  1300 437 758  to arrange your surgeon consultation in Sydney.

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