Patients often ask regarding ways to reduce facelift swelling in order to speed up their return to daily life.  It is more difficult to conceal your surgical site following a facelift as compared to other types of cosmetic surgery.  Here are five ways to reduce facelift swelling:

– Sleep with head elevated

It is recommended to sleep with your head elevated on 2-3 pillows over the first month following surgery to reduce facelift swelling.  You will notice an increase in facelift swelling if your head is not maintained above heart level when lying down.  Many patients prefer to sleep even more upright following surgery, which may further reduce facelift swelling.

– Arnica may help reduce facelift swelling

Arnica is a plant derivative which is used in homeopathic medicine to reduce swelling and bruising.  Although research is not conclusive, anecdotal evidence suggests that facelift swelling may be improved by taking Arnica post-operatively.  It should not be taken with anti-inflammatories or blood thinners.  These medications however would not be taken before or after facelift surgery due to increased risk of bleeding.

– Avoid exercise for one month

It is important to avoid exercise until well healed to reduce risk of bleeding and additional swelling.  Greater facelift swelling may result from elevation in heart rate and blood pressure, therefore it is important to avoid exercise and heavy lifting for one month.

– Reduce salt intake

Reducing salt intake may lower water retention and also reduce facelift swelling. Salt reduction in general has many health benefits, in particular, by lowering blood pressure and cardiovascular risk.  It is recommended to monitor the salt content of many packaged foods and to reduce intake particularly during early healing to reduce facelift swelling.

– Cold compresses

Cold compresses are also beneficial over the first 48 hours post-operatively.  They help to reduce facelift swelling and bruising.  It is recommended to apply as frequently as possible (15 minutes on/15 off) during early healing to reduce peak swelling.  It is important to avoid direct contact between the ice and your skin given the delicate skin flaps which have reduced sensation immediately following surgery.


Once facelift swelling is reduced, you will begin to see your early aesthetic results.  It generally takes a few weeks for the majority of facelift swelling to subside.  Minor swelling may linger for several months, even up to one year, as scar maturation completes.


Please contact us to discuss whether you are a candidate for facelift surgery.

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