No matter how well you plan, activate your Netflix account now: You’re going to spend at least a week looking like a punching bag. But there are steps you can take to minimize the gruesome days and speed the healing process. Start ten days before surgery with Skin Prep, the “pre” part of Optimal-Outcome’s new pre- and post-op set ($150 at Boyd’s; 800-683-2693). It’s a cream formulated with anti- inflammatory green-tea extract, algae to strengthen the epidermis, and co-enzyme Q10 to enhance cell immune function.
Twenty-four to 48 hours after you come home from the hospital, you can start slathering on Speed Repair two or three times a day. The post-op cream, an antioxidant combo of vitamins A, C, and K as well as the holistic healer Arnica Montana, promises to reduce redness, swelling, and bruising.
Comfort Zone’s No More Puffy Eyes ($35.50 at Ajune; 212-628-0044), containing alpha bisabolol (derived from the ultimate soother, chamomile), is great to reduce puffiness after a blepharoplasty (for anyone feigning ignorance, that’s an eye-lift). Keep it in the refrigerator and use it cold.
Skin becomes very dry and itchy after surgery. Michele Sabino, an aesthetician who works with plastic surgeons, gives patients Sothy’s Desquacrem ($26 at Mathe Roux French Skin Care; 212-245-2542), an exfoliating cleanser. Wash with it for five to seven minutes at a time—Sabino swears it will take away flakiness, help ease itch- iness, and allow you to apply cover-up more evenly. Because no matter how diligently you’re slathering on the Arnica Montana, you’re going to need a thick concealer to hide those black and blues. Babor Coverderm Cream ($16.50 at Good Fortune; 646-654-0808) has a mineral-rich natural clay base for maximum coverage. Dermablend’s Cover Cream, developed specifically for post-op patients, is waterproof and has double the pigment of regular cover-up ($27 at Macy’s). Mallory Y. Rutledge from salon Studio One 2 One (212-439-9111) custom-blends camouflage makeup, so you can get a perfect match for your skin ($20).
Once you’re ready to venture out, you can go to a spa for lymphatic drainage, which helps eliminate excess fluids and toxins and increases circulation around the face. Completely Bare’s Lux Lift ($150; 212-717-9300) uses a combination of manual and mechanical stimulation, and the spa takes clients starting one week post-op. Acqua Beauty Bar (212-620-4329) suggests waiting a couple of weeks until major swelling eases before coming in for the Ultra-Soothing Copper Facial ($115), which combines acupressure with topical copper peptides (used to help burn victims) for healing the skin.