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Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New
Ask the Surgeon
I want to get a facelift. How much time will I need to arrange to have off from my job as an aerobics instructor?
Facelift patients typically resume normal activities, including a regular work schedule, after about one or two weeks. However, healing of the delicate structures beneath the skin continues for some time afterward. During this time, motions that strain the incisions or increase blood flow to the face are best avoided. Vigorous physical activity such as aerobic exercise may be safely resumed about six weeks after most facial plastic surgery procedures. Other activities that should be avoided for six weeks after surgery include swimming and diving, sports that involve physical contact, gymnastics, and heavy manual labor.
Skin patches similar to the ones used to deliver nicotine or estrogen through the skin are now available for treating fine facial lines. The patches are impregnated with a vitamin C preparation that is absorbed by the skin over a six to 10-hour period, usually while you sleep. The antioxidant is supposed to neutralize free radicals, slow collagen breakdown, and expand the skin cells, thereby filling in fine wrinkles and minimizing damage to the skin’s surface. The patches are most often used on crow’s feet, upper lip lines, and brow furrows .
Some patients report that the patches do help minimize wrinkles. On the other hand, like facial lotions and creams, they are not subject to rigorous clinical testing to ensure their effectiveness. Skin care patches need to be used regularly, and any results they provide are only temporary. Furthermore, some patients have experienced irritation with frequent use.
If you’ve just had facial plastic surgery, you want to take special care to keep your skin moist and supple. Even if you haven’t had surgery, it’s time to modify your beauty regimen to protect your skin from winter weather .
Cold, dry weather dries the skin, making it more fragile and susceptible to irritation. Indoor heating, with its typically low humidity, makes the problem even worse. Outdoors, your facial skin is susceptible to windburn and UV damage from the sun. Keep your skin healthy and hydrated by following these tips:
- Apply a sunscreen 30 minutes before going outdoors. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. When participating in high altitude sports, consider using a barrier sunscreen (one that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide). These preparations not only block ultraviolet rays, they also shield the skin from the effects of wind and cold.
- Use a heavier moisturizer than usual, applying it while your skin is still damp.
- Minimize exfoliating treatments, which may irritate your skin. If you are using retinoids or alpha-hydroxy products, ask your doctor if a milder alternative is called for during the winter.
- Use a humidifier. A relative humidity near 50 percent will help prevent your skin from drying.
- Avoid using soap and harsh cleansers that dry the skin. Use a mild moisturizing cleanser instead.
- Drink plenty of water to help replenish your facial moisture from within.