A brow lift, also known as a forehead lift, is one of the most commonly performed anti-aging procedures. This procedure is designed to shave 15 years off of your face by lifting your eyebrows and erasing deep forehead folds. Today, our experts at Metairie Plastic Surgeons in Metairie, LA discuss how long the recovery process from this procedure usually lasts, what you can expect during that process and what you can do to shorten it.
How Long Does it Take to Recover From a Brow Lift? What Can I Expect?
Recovery from a brow lift takes approximately 10 to 14 days. However, everyone’s recovery timeline is unique. For example, you may feel tired for 24 hours after your anesthesia wears off. Alternatively, you may feel alert 12 hours after your anesthesia wears off. Let’s take a look at what the average person can expect during the recovery process following a forehead lift.
Hours 0 to 24
As soon as you wake up from your general anesthesia, you will feel groggy. If you’re constantly on the go, this may be frustrating for you, but don’t fight it. This is a normal part of the post-op process, and your mind and body need to rest. If you’re groggy, relax your mind. If you’re feeling particularly tired, take a catnap. During the first 24 hours, your only focus should be on listening to your body, drinking, eating and resting whenever you need to.
To help you rest adequately, have someone stay with you during the first 24 hours post-op. It’s advisable to prepare a recovery room that you can stay in for the first several days after your procedure, entertain yourself, drink plenty of water, take your medication as prescribed and rest. If you don’t want to shout across the house whenever you need something, download a walkie-talkie app, like Zello, so you can communicate instantly and effortlessly.
Hours 25 to 48
The second day following your procedure, you may still feel tired. Again, listen to your body; it will tell you when you need to sit in your recliner and relax and when you’re okay to take a short walk. To protect your skin from the sun, we recommend taking short, regular walks in your house. This has the added benefit of making it easy for you to take breaks whenever you feel you need to.
You may not feel hungry, but consuming nutrients is important. If you can’t stomach a meal consisting of solid foods, make a smoothie with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables and whole milk. You don’t want to use ice cream as the base of your smoothie, because ice cream contains too much sugar and not enough protein. Vegetable soup and homemade mashed potatoes are also great choices if you don’t feel like chewing your food.
Hours 49 to 72
Three days after your procedure, it is okay for you to shower. You may wash your forehead, but you must use a gentle washcloth, tepid water and a very gentle facial cleanser. Do not use body soap on your face for the first two weeks post-op. It may irritate your skin.
If you feel the need to wash your hair before the third day post-op, we recommend having someone use dry shampoo to prevent grease. You may not feel like lifting your arms above your shoulders to spray the dry shampoo and brush your hair. If you don’t have any dry shampoo, you can take a bath in the bathroom sink. Just make sure you’re keeping your forehead dry.
The Rest of the Recovery Process
After the first three days post-op, you should feel like your old self. However, your skin is still healing itself after the incisions made to tighten your muscles, remove excess skin and lift the remaining skin. You should still make sleeping, resting and relaxing your top priorities. However, you should also start walking farther than you did during the second and third day post-op. Walking supports a strong circulatory system which speeds up the recovery process.
What Can I Do to Speed Up My Recovery Process?
Fortuitously, there are things you can do to make your recovery process smoother and faster. During your initial consultation, if we determine that a brow lift will help you achieve your anti-aging goals, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of post-op care instructions and more in-depth advice on how to have the best recovery experience possible.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
It’s important that you don’t expose your skin to direct sunlight during your recovery period. To minimize your risk of sunburn during your recovery process, avoid direct sunlight in the 14 days following your forehead lift. Apply a broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen to your face every four hours or as directed on the bottle when you go outside. For the first few days after your procedure, you should be focusing on recovery so you shouldn’t need to go out.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen will greatly minimize your risk of sun damage because it protects against all three types of the sun’s harmful UV rays. When choosing sunscreen, make sure it protects against all three ray types and has an SPF of at least 30. The greater the SPF (sun protection factor) number, the more effective the sunscreen will be. Don’t wear a sun visor or hat with a bill to prevent direct sunlight. Such tools may cause too much pressure to your forehead.
In the first two weeks following your procedure, avoid garlic. If all of your favorite recipes call for lots of garlic, find new recipes to try or just admit the garlic from the old recipes. Garlic provides many health benefits, including blood-thinning properties that make it invaluable to people with high blood pressure. However, you should avoid all drugs, nutritional supplements and foods that can thin your blood during your recovery process.
As stated previously, we will provide you with a comprehensive explanation of everything you need to know regarding your recovery process, including what you need to avoid. Among the other important blood-thinning foods, drugs and supplements you should avoid are NSAIDs, MAOIs, ginseng, turmeric, ginger, vitamin E supplements and cayenne pepper flakes.
Don’t Light Up or Dip
It is very important to not smoke cigarettes, chew tobacco or consume other forms of nicotine in the two weeks following your forehead lift. Nicotine elevates your blood pressure to unhealthy levels and slows down your skin’s ability to heal itself. We know it’s hard to quit for a couple of weeks, but we promise that quitting will be well worth your while. Your recovery will be shorter and more comfortable. Ideally, you should quit for six weeks.
We strongly recommend never smoking or chewing tobacco again. You need to abstain from nicotine in the two weeks leading up to your procedure, but it is advisable to go six weeks before your procedure without consuming nicotine. If you can go for three months without smoking or chewing, you can abstain for life. It’s advisable to quit consuming nicotine because nicotine weakens your collagen which will diminish the longevity of your final results.
Eat Meat and Avoid Alcohol
Center your diet around sources of protein in the two weeks following your forehead lift. Meat is the most bio-available source of protein for human beings and will help your body repair itself quickly. If you are vegan, you’ll need to work particularly hard during this time to source your complete protein needs from a wide variety of foods–most single sources of protein, like those in beans, are not nearly complete enough for what your body needs.
Furthermore, you should avoid drinking wine or any other form of alcohol in the two weeks following your procedure. Alcohol is a diuretic that elevates your blood pressure, dehydrates you and results in your body flushing out crucial micronutrients. Just as you should ideally avoid nicotine for six weeks, try to avoid alcohol for six weeks. After your recovery period is over, drink an extra eight ounces for every unit of alcohol you drink and make sure your nutrition is adequate.
Get Enough Sleep
One of the best things you can do to shorten your post-op recovery process is to get enough sleep in the 14 days following your procedure. To avoid putting too much pressure on your forehead, sleep on your back. If too much pressure is applied to your forehead, your skin will heal slower. If you usually sleep on your stomach or side, practice sleeping on your back for a couple of weeks before your procedure. You’ll want to be comfortable sleeping on your back.
If you’re uncomfortable sleeping on your back, you may spend nine hours in bed but not spend enough time in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. It is in the REM stage of sleep that your body heals itself most efficiently. If you usually toss and turn throughout the night, sleep on the edge of the bed and roll up bath towels to build a barrier so you don’t toss and turn. You won’t roll off the bed, and the towels will prevent you from rolling the other way.
If you want your recovery process to go as smoothly as possible, it is absolutely crucial that you drink enough water during the first 14 days following your forehead lift. How much you need to drink to stay hydrated depends primarily on your sex, weight and age, but you’ll be able to tell if you’re hydrated adequately by looking at your urine. If it’s dark, you need to drink more water, tea or coffee. If you want to drink juice, squeeze it yourself.
You shouldn’t drink store-bought juice, because it is heavily processed and includes added sugars. Consuming too much sugar also slows your skin’s ability to heal itself post-op. If you find yourself struggling to drink enough hydrating fluids for clear or pale urine, try eating more water-dense foods. Most fruits and vegetables, like berries, citrus fruits and celery are high in water. Furthermore, homemade, broth-based soup is very hydrating.
Discover Today if a Forehead Lift Is Appropriate for You
Recovery from a brow lift can take anywhere from 10 to 14 days depending on the health of your skin and the complexity of the procedure. However, you can take steps to shorten your recovery process, including staying hydrated, avoiding blood-thinning foods, supplements and drugs and getting plenty of sleep. To determine if this procedure will help you achieve your aesthetic goals, drop us a line at Metairie Plastic Surgeons in Metairie, LA to book an appointment.