Skin Deep

Healing your skin after fillers, sunburn and surgery

Our skin has the amazing ability to repair itself, but special care can help speed healing, minimize discomfort and prevent scarring. Be sure to tuck away a copy of this article so you’ll always know how to care for your skin after filler or Botox injections, sunscreen and wounds after surgery.

Filler injections

Thanks to topical anesthesia and injectable fillers that are formulated with numbing ingredients, discomfort usually isn’t a major side effect of injections. But if you experience soreness or swelling, apply ice or a bag of frozen peas (taking care not to leave it in one place for too long) or take Tylenol. You should avoid ibuprofen and aspirin as these medications can increase bruising. If you find yourself with a bit of bruising, take arnica (follow the instructions on the label) and bromelain supplements (500mg three times a day) and eat pineapple to speed up bruise healing. Avoid facials, scrubs, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and facial cleansing brushes for three days after your injections.

Botox injections

After Botox injections, you should move the muscles in the treated areas periodically. This means that if you had your frown lines treated, you should frown and relax, frown and relax repeatedly for optimal results. You can go ahead and use your regular skincare products, but you should avoid facials, facial massage, steam rooms, saunas, vigorous exercise and hot showers for 24 hours after treatment to reduce the risk of bruising.

Sunburn

As soon as you realize you got burned, take two ibuprofen (i.e. Advil) every four hours. You’ll also want to take 1000mg of vitamin C, and then 500mg twice a day after that. Topical aloe gel helps soothe burning on contact and also keeps skin hydrated. Extra antioxidants can help prevent cell damage, so also try to drink some green tea (try it iced when it’s hot outside).

After surgery

A surefire way to promote good healing is to avoid tension on the area around the incision, as this can make the scar larger. For example, if you had surgery on your arm, try to use it as little as possible to avoid placing strain on the stitches. You may also want to consider a topical product like Ketacote or Mederma to refine the appearance of your scar, but be sure to consult your surgeon first. Also, keep eating that protein for up to six months after surgery since the healing process continues beneath the skin’s surface for quite some time.

You’ll want to avoid the retinoid or retinol you were using prior to surgery until you’re completely healed. This usually takes about four weeks, but be sure to check with your doctor before working them back into your skincare routine. If you’re unhappy about the appearance of your scars three weeks after the stitches come out, talk to your dermatologist about V-Beam laser treatment, which has been shown to improve their color and texture.

Dr. Leslie Baumann is a board-certified dermatologist, New York Times best-selling author and CEO of Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute in Miami.

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