Let’s talk recovery time

People come and talk to me all the time about things that bother them about their appearance. We discuss their skin texture, their wrinkles, their bulging, sagging tissues, and their noses. I always give them several options for ways of addressing their concerns. Usually I’ll include options ranging from good skin care and laser treatments to injectables to surgery (when needed, and I’ll tell you if you DON’T need it).

I think that the biggest concern that people have about having facial cosmetic procedures is the recovery time. Even more than the cost and possibility of pain, they’re concerned about how much time they have to take off from work and their otherwise busy lives.

So, I wanted to review just how long it takes to recover from many of the common cosmetic procedures that we offer. I hope that this gives you a realistic idea of just how much down time you’re looking at when you’re ready to commit!

Botox: Almost no recovery time

Botox remains by far the most popular treatment that I offer. You’ll walk out of the office with a few little bumps- it can look like you got attacked by a swarm of bees- but these go away in about 30 minutes or less. You start to see an effect in 3-5 days and it’s at its maximum potency at two weeks.

Laser treatments: An afternoon to a couple of days

But honestly, it really depends on what you had done. When I had my IPL treatments (aka “Photo Facial”), I was back in the office the next day. You could really go back to work the same day (I’ve done that too) but the treated areas can feel like a sunburn. If you have laser resurfacing with our non-ablative laser, you may be red for a couple of hours. More aggressive laser resurfacing can require a week or more of recovery, but we don’t currently offer this service.

Fillers: A day or so depending on if you have bruising

You’ll walk out of the office perhaps a bit puffy, so I wouldn’t get fillers the same day you have a big presentation or a hot date. The swelling should be mostly gone in a couple of days. If you have bruising this will be evident the next day and can persist for a week or so, but you should be able to cover it with makeup.

Eyelid surgery: One week for the office, about three weeks for a big event

You’ll feel surprisingly good after surgery, believe it or not. Most of my patients are on their computers the afternoon of surgery and can work from home. Stitches come out at after about five days but you may have some bruising which can take a week to ten days to resolve. You can, however, cover it with make up.


One week post-op

Two months post-op


Face Lift: One week for the office, about three weeks for a big event

I know what you’re saying: “Wait a minute, you mean that recovering from a face lift is the same as recovering from eyelid surgery?” No, a facelift is a bigger operation, obviously. However, you’ll feel reasonably good after a day or so. The big limiting factor for public appearances is that I have you wear a compression wrap for about a week to limit swelling. Most people don’t feel comfortable being out and about with that on. We start to take out stitches after about five days, but you’ll still have stitches and/or tape in places that may be visible for about ten days to two weeks. For an in-depth story of a patient of mine recovering from a face lift, check out this post on RealSelf.

Rhinoplasty: It really depends!

Not all nose jobs are created equal. Your recovery will depend on how much work you had done and how we did it. I’ll be discussing this in depth in a blog post coming out in a few months where I talk about the differences between an “open” rhinoplasty and a “closed” rhinoplasty. So be on the look out for that!

In general, the results you’ll get from facial procedures are commensurate with the amount of healing and down time that you’re willing to invest. I make every effort to create a treatment plan that successfully merges your goals with what your busy life allows. Come on in so we can talk about how we can meet your needs!

You Might Also Enjoy...

How do you fix eyelid bags?

The eyes are often one of the first areas of the face to show aging. Some of these changes are related to your lifestyle- if you are, perhaps, on call all the time and/or have young children who wake up ...

When is it time for an eyelid lift?

Eyelid lifts are my most popular cosmetic surgery. But how do you know when it’s the right time? In general, people want to manage their aging process gracefully, meaning that they want to look better ...

Five questions to ask your facelift surgeon

I love it when the azaleas start to bloom! Here on the blog, we’ve been talking a lot about non-invasive types of treatments that we can use to help you look as good as you feel. These include Pelleve, IPL, and chemical peels.