While your skin can withstand a lot from the elements, from your everyday lifestyle, and from other factors, it’s not always equipped to handle certain stresses after you have undergone a skin procedure or plastic surgery. Your skin needs some extra help and TLC to heal properly and avoid complications after treatment. While the two main factors in your cosmetic procedure’s success are your choice of doctor and your skin’s individual behavior, you can help get the best results possible by taking care of your skin properly after plastic surgery, laser resurfacing, chemical peel, or other treatments. Here are some ways you can protect your skin and speed up the healing process for beautiful results.

Above All, Stay Away From UV Rays

It’s important to protect your skin from the sun at all times, but this is especially true following a cosmetic procedure, as the skin needs time to recover without unnecessary stress. Harsh UV rays can darken treated areas of the skin (hyperpigmentation), making scarring more obvious, and skin tone uneven. The skin is very sensitive following any kind of treatment, especially more in-depth procedures like laser resurfacing, and patients should consult with their surgeon about how long they should be ultra-cautious in avoiding the sun. These measures should include using a high SPF sunscreen and protective clothing, making sure to keep the skin protected when sitting near windows or while driving, and of course, avoiding tanning beds at all costs.

Don’t Touch

Much like with acne, the prevailing common sense of skin treatment recovery is to not touch your face whenever possible. Picking and prodding can result in scarring or introduce unwanted bacteria to the area, resulting in other complications, like infection. Though your skin may itch or be uncomfortable while healing, don’t give in to temptation. Ask your surgeon for any suggestions on alleviating discomfort without compromising your results.

Cleanse and Moisturize Gently

When you must touch your face, do so gently. You don’t need to scrub during washing, and doing so is hard on the new skin that is forming following skin treatments. If you have incisions, be extra careful caring for this area. Follow your doctor’s guidelines on how often to cleanse and moisturize your face—it’s easy to overdo it. Make sure to use any topical treatments according to directions as well. If you’re not using prescription products for your skin’s recovery, stick to gentle, fragrance-free products.

Stay Hydrated and Be Healthy

As with any recovery period, it is important to treat your body well and use your diet as a tool for aiding in recovery. The skin is influenced by both internal and external factors, so by eating a healthy diet, you can help cellular recovery and overall skin health. Drinking enough water is also important to overall health, skin beauty, and may help you feel better during the healing process. Water will also help get rid of toxins in your skin.

Don’t Slip Into Bad Habits

Patients who wish to undergo facial surgery or skin treatments must stop smoking well before the treatment, as cigarettes can interfere with the treatment process. The restriction does not stop after the procedure, as smoking can have dire consequences on the healing process, and even undo the results of the treatment. If you are tempted to have a cigarette while your skin is healing, just think about the complications that can occur: poor results, scarring, skin necrosis, and more. Cigarettes narrow the blood vessels, introduce toxins to the body, and rob skin of what it needs to be healthy. Consider quitting for good before your treatment—your results will last much longer and your skin will thank you.

Drinking can also have a negative effect on the healing process, and excessive drinking can be harmful to the overall appearance of healthy skin, let alone recovering skin. Follow your doctor’s instructions on when to abstain from alcohol after your treatment, and think of it as a temporary inconvenience to help you get great results.

Be Vigilant and Cautious

Don’t take a smooth recovery for granted. If you think something seems “off,” then you should report it to your surgeon right away. It pays to be vigilant and spot complications early, so you can get any necessary exams, treatments, or instructions on how to deal with the problem. Be cautious, and treat your skin with care.

Remember, the first step toward great results is the right surgeon, who will provide you with all the tools you need to succeed, including advice on which procedure is right for you, a skilled and safe procedure, and the information and support you need to practice quality aftercare.

Dr. Rami Batniji is a double board certified plastic surgeon, performing only facial surgery and treatments at his offices in Newport Beach(949-650-8882) and Beverly Hills(310-467-2180), CA locations. If you would like to set up a consultation to discuss your skincare and anti-aging goals with Dr. Batniji, call either location today to schedule a consultation.