Facelift Recovery Time

Are you considering getting a facelift? A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, is a great way to bring a new youthful look to your face by creating contours and tightening the skin. If you want to enhance your appearance but are concerned about how long it takes to get back to everyday activities, don’t worry; recovery time for this cosmetic surgery is shorter than you’d expect. 

After a facelift, most people can be back up on their feet within the first two weeks and resume a majority of their usual routine by 3 to 4 weeks. However, if you want to get back on your feet as soon as possible, there are some tips below that can boost your recovery time and get you back to normal activities faster. 

What to Expect After Facelift Surgery

After your facelift surgery, it is common to feel discomfort and soreness, but your cosmetic surgeon will prescribe pain medication to alleviate this. You will also need to wear a compression garment which helps reduce swelling and support tissue as it heals. They’re essential to speeding up your recovery and giving you the best results possible. 

Within the first few days, your plastic surgeon will schedule a follow-up visit; they’ll check in on swelling, your incision sites, and remove your dressings. 

Facelift Recovery Timeline

In general, facelift recovery takes about three to four weeks. However, if you opt for a mini facelift, your recovery could be as short as one week. While this recovery time may seem long, this is much shorter than other cosmetic procedures like rhinoplasty, which can take up to a year to heal fully. 

Whether you want to prepare for aftercare or ensure that recovery time can fit into your busy schedule, we’ve outlined the first three weeks of your facelift recovery in the timeline below.

Week One

In the first few days after your facelift surgery, you will be on pain medication to manage your discomfort. Swelling and bruising will be at their worst for the first few days post-op, so it’s essential that you avoid being too active too quickly. Putting yourself into strenuous activities like work and exercise can cause your incisions to open. 

You’ll need to have some support from friends and family during the recovery to care for you. On the second or third day after, your plastic surgeon will schedule a follow-up appointment to check in on your recovery. The next few days will be mostly rest. Your swelling and bruising will be at their worst around day four, but general pain and discomfort should start to lessen. As the first week ends, you can begin to move around more, but you should continue to avoid strenuous activities. 

Week Two

By week two, you’ll still have some swelling and bruising. It’s common for some people to have some discomfort, numbness, tingling, or tightness, but it shouldn’t cause concern. Day to day recovery should be mostly the same as the first week as you slowly regain your activity level and comfort. 

At this point, you can go back to work and begin doing light activities like walking, but don’t strain yourself too much, or you’ll slow your healing process. You should still expect to have swelling by the end of the week, but you can start to see the results of your facelift procedure

Week Three

Depending on your facelift procedure, your cosmetic surgeon will remove your sutures anywhere from the end of week one to the end of week three. You may have some lingering swelling, but it should start to fade along with the discoloration around your incisions. 

Most people start to feel better and will begin to notice some change to their facial contour. By the end of week three, you’ll be able to get back to your routine without much worry of overexerting yourself. 

Factors that Impact Facelift Recovery Time


There are many different types of facelift procedures. From traditional facelifts to mini facelifts, your recovery time will vary depending on the complexity of your cosmetic surgery. Mini facelifts can have quicker recovery times because it requires fewer incisions. However, depending on the extent of your skin tightening or the removal of excess skin, this may not be an option. 


Age plays a significant factor in your facelift recovery time, but it shouldn’t limit anyone from pursuing the cosmetic procedure. Younger people tend to heal faster because of the elasticity of their skin. When it comes to results,  patients between 40 and 50 tend to have the most substantial changes as a result of their facelift. 

Following Post-Operative Instructions

It is just as important to follow your post-op instructions as it is for the surgeon to perform the surgery. By following the instructions on how to clean your face, activities to avoid, and more, you’re more likely to receive the best results from your facelift. In addition, it will help shorten your facelift recovery time and help prevent any complications from forming.  

Facelift Aftercare Tips

If you want to speed up your recovery time, the steps below can get you back to normal faster! By following these tips and the instructions of your surgeon, you’ll help your body heal faster. 

Elevate Your Head

By keeping your head elevated, even when you’re sleeping, you’ll help reduce swelling and promote faster healing. Use two pillows to prop your head up, or consider sleeping in a recliner. 

Avoid Strenuous Exercise

It is vital to be careful in the first few weeks after your facelift surgery. Strenuous exercise can strain your incisions which can make them open up. Avoid heavy lifting, running, or anything you think will push you to your limits, as this could cause complications.

Wear Compression Wrap

Wearing a compression wrap for one to three weeks after your cosmetic surgery helps boost the healing process. It improves blood circulation and minimizes swelling. 

Massage Incisions Sites

Be sure to take care of your incisions throughout your recovery. Not only is it important to make sure your incisions don’t get infected, but protecting them from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures and keeping them clean will reduce your facelift recovery time.

Apply Ice Packs

Ice packs work great to reduce swelling and pain in your facelift recovery. Apply ice packs with a cloth in between for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. It’s important to avoid extreme temperatures in the general area around your incisions as this could create complications. 

Avoid Hot Showers

It’s important not to shower for at least two days after your facelift surgery to avoid complications. It takes a few days for your incisions to heal completely and seal. Showering too soon can reopen your wounds and cause infections. Baths are a good alternative so you can stay clean.


Drinking enough water can go a long way in your recovery. Keeping yourself hydrated will boost your energy, refresh your skin, and keep your body healthy. 

If you’re interested in getting a facelift and want to talk with a double-board certified plastic surgeon about the facelift recovery time, call Dr. Dominic Castellano at Elite Facial Plastic Surgery at 813-638-0180.

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