We are thrilled you are finally getting that procedure you’ve been dreaming about! You’re in good hands: facelift and neck lifts have produced some of the most beautiful before-and-afters we have seen in our center, and we can’t wait for you to love your own results. But we know that the weeks leading up to a facial surgery can be an overwhelming time, so we are here to make your pre-op preparation as easy as possible. Here are some of Dr. Nikolov’s favorite tips for preparing for facial surgery – and a few self-care ideas, too.
Six weeks before your procedure:
- Go with a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon. The facelift is the seventh-most popular surgery in the United States, but the truth is that your results will vary depending on the surgeon you choose. We cannot stress enough the importance of finding a highly qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon for your procedure, as recommended by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. It is the very first step to a good result. Luckily, if you landed on this page, you are already being well taken care of by Dr. Nikolov, who has both decades of experience in his Beverly Hills practice and is a diplomat of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. So relax and know you are in good hands!
- Stop smoking and vaping. Dr. Nikolov recommends that all his patients stop smoking and vaping at least six weeks prior to surgery. “The sooner you stop, the better,” he says. This is because smoking and vaping can restrict blood circulation, making it harder for you to heal in recovery. Moreover, it can lead to complications during your procedure, so be sure to stop any nicotine use as soon as possible. If you’re a smoker who wants to improve your blood flow, Dr. Nikolov recommends hyperbaric oxygen treatments before and after the procedure.
- Incorporate a retinoic acid. One of Dr. Nikolov’s favorite tips is to use tretinoin or a retinoic acid product on your face and neck in the weeks –– and even better, months –– leading up to your procedure. Retinoic acid boosts cell turnover, so that old cells are replaced by newer, healthier cells. This makes retinoic acid ideal for surgery patients, as it gets your skin into shape so it can heal more quickly post-procedure. Just be sure to discontinue use of any retinoids one week prior to surgery.
- Use a gentle cleanser. On the subject of skincare, you will want to make sure you have a good routine in place before your procedure. This includes makeup removal and gentle cleansing, antioxidant serums, a hydrating cream, and most importantly, a broad-spectrum sun cream of at least SPF 30. Using a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser instead of harsh soaps will strengthen your skin barrier, leading to more hydrated and resilient skin. Moreover, you will always want to use a gentle and hydrating cleanser when any kind of retinoid is in your skincare routine, as retinoic acid can be drying, especially in the beginning. Improving the health of your skin through good skincare habits, like cleansing, moisturizing, and wearing proper SPF protection, will not only speed along your recovery, but will help you maintain the results of your procedure over time.
Three weeks before your procedure:
- Avoid self-tanner, tanning beds, spray tanning, and the sun. Try to avoid all of these starting at the three-week mark. Too much sun exposure can lead to darker scarring around the incision site as well as increased bleeding. Wear your SPF 30+ sun cream and a hat!
- Self-care idea: Do a face mask. If you’re feeling anxious in the weeks and days leading up to your procedure, know that you’re not alone. It is very common for patients to get nervous before any surgery, even when they are very excited for the results. It’s normal! Set aside some time to indulge in whatever practice soothes you – whether that’s spending some time in nature or getting a massage. We like trying different hydrating face mask treatments, which will improve the health and appearance of your skin while giving you a spa moment at home.
- Color your hair. If you highlight or color your hair, remember to book your appointment before your procedure, as you will be unable to color your hair for a short-term period following the surgery. This also applies to perms and Keratin treatments, so if you regularly get either of those, schedule them in advance of your surgery date.
- Take pictures to track your progress. Now is the time to start snapping your selfies! Documenting your journey can be very exciting both for us and our patients, and we love to see our patients’ own before-and-afters. Some tips to take a perfect ‘before’ shot: find some indirect, natural lighting between 10 AM and 1 PM and relax your face so that you have a neutral expression. Every week after the procedure, do the same, and we’re sure you will be very pleased at the difference over time.
- Talk with Dr. Nikolov. Dr. Nikolov and our team are here to talk through any concerns or questions you might have as you approach your surgery day. If you have any worries at all, our team is here for you. Give us a call anytime during our working hours at (310)-247-1932.
One week before your procedure:
- Avoid shaving and waxing. Whether you shave, wax, thread or sugar, all hair-removal methods on the face and neck should be temporarily discontinued for one whole week prior to surgery. Make sure to book any eyebrow or hair-removal appointments about two weeks before your surgery
- Self-care idea: Get your hair blow-dried at a salon. Since you will not be able to wash your hair for a few days after your facial surgery, you will want to make sure your hair and scalp are very clean prior to the procedure. Wash your hair well with a gentle, purifying shampoo – Dr. Nikolov likes this one from Christophe Robin – or, if you want to take our recommendation, get your hair blow-dried at a salon to feel just a little more beautiful during recovery.
- Self-care idea: Lymphatic drainage face massage. Pre-op lymphatic drainage massages can help eliminate waste and toxins from the body, but they also boost your blood flow and remove stagnant fluids in the tissue. Surgeons can make an incision more easily through tissue that has been well-drained, but lymphatic drainage massages can also minimize the risk of scar tissue formation, infection, and bruising post-op. It goes without saying that a massage also helps to relax the nervous system deeply, allowing your body to prepare for a surgical operation. Taking the time to practice regular lymphatic drainage massage in the week leading up to your surgery – or sooner! – will leave your skin in the best possible shape during and after the procedure. If you’ve never given yourself a lymphatic drainage massage, click here to learn more.
We are so excited for you to love your results. If you have any questions about taking care of your skin and hair before or after your surgical procedure, please feel free to call us at (310) 247-1932.