6 Ways to Prep Your Skin & Hair Before Plastic Surgery

Published: December 12, 2021
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Category: Blog

Preparing for plastic surgery requires a lot of planning ahead, especially when it comes to work and family life. From putting in for time off work to preparing your home for a comfortable recovery and prepping meals– there are a lot of boxes to check off before you enter the operating room! Your Plastic Surgeon will advise you on preparing well because they know the more details you have taken care of ahead of time, the less stress you’ll encounter during your recovery. Sometimes we focus so much on the large tasks we need to complete weeks before our surgery that we forget about some of the small things we need to address in the days and hours before. Here are seven practical skincare and haircare tips to help you prepare for the big day.

#1 – Shower like it’s going out of style.

If ever there was a time to be squeaky clean, it’s before surgery. Shower the night before and the morning of your surgery. Wash every square inch of your body with an antibacterial soap. Also, shampoo and condition your hair on one of these days. A lot of women may choose to style their hair in a low maintenance style that will stay for a couple of days, like a braid. If your plastic surgeon has recommended or prescribed a special soap for intertriginous areas (folds of the skin) or a specific shampoo, use them as indicated.  Avoid the use of sea sponges and natural loofahs that may harbor living organisms or bacteria. 

*Did you know? Edina Plastic Surgery’s Full Focus Facelift includes a relaxing shampoo the day after surgery to ensure that your incision sites are clean and you feel fresh!

#2 – Put away the piercings.

Whether your piercings are limited to your ears or include several sites on your body, you must remove all jewelry before your surgery. This includes embedded body jewelry, metal ear gauges, and micro dermal jewels. Jewelry puts you at risk for burns if thermal equipment is used during your surgery. It can also pose dangers with snagging, scratches, and injuries while coming out of anesthesia.

#3 – Say no to spray tanning and shun the sun.

Avoid the sun and tanning booths for at least two to three weeks before surgery. It is preferable that you avoid the sun all together.  Prolonged UV exposure and sunburns can cause significant inflammation in your skin. Skin that is inflamed may be more sensitive, bleed more during surgery, and heal poorly. Sun exposure also excites the melanin (pigment cells) in your skin and may cause incisions to hyper pigment (darken) during healing.  If you must be in the sun, make sure to wear a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher.  If future surgical areas will be exposed, also use a sunscreen with a physical blocker, like zinc.

Spray tanning is also not ideal before surgery and should be avoided for two weeks to allow the tan to exfoliate and fade thoroughly. Your plastic surgeon will need to see your skin in its natural state and observe how it reacts during surgery. A spray tan can disguise visual markers and make it more difficult for your surgeon to monitor your skin’s response during surgery.  It is also difficult to prep a sterile field with a spray tan on, as a lot of it will exfoliate off during a surgical scrub.  This puts a patient at increased risk for injection.

#4 – Touch up your roots with some TLC.

If you have a plastic surgery procedure scheduled that takes place above your shoulders (Facelift, Neck Lift, Eyelid Surgery, Brow Lift, Otoplasty, Rhinoplasty) you will need to avoid chemical treatments and hair dyes for four to six weeks after your surgery. The strong chemicals in many of these products can irritate incisions and cause inflammation. If you need to touch up grey roots or want to try a new hair color or perm, this appointment should be made three to five days before your surgery. This includes lash lifts and lash and brow tinting.

#5 – Get in sync with your cycle.

Although it is ok to have plastic surgery during your menstrual cycle, some patients choose to schedule around their period. If you are a woman who experiences heavy cramps, heightened skin and breast sensitivity, hormonal breakouts, or intense headaches during your period, battling these things while recovering from surgery can be like adding insult to injury. Discuss your menstrual cycle with your plastic surgeon so they can assist you in deciding the ideal (and most comfortable!) way to schedule your surgery. Keep in mind that the stress surgery induces on your body may also change or delay your regular menstrual cycle.

Do not start a birth control pill the month before surgery to try to control your cycle, this likely will not work, and if it contains estrogen, can increase your risk for blood clotting after surgery.  If you are already on a birth control pill, talk to your doctor about whether or not to stop it prior to your particular surgery.  Some surgeries, such as abdominoplasties, are higher risk for blood clots compared to a breast augmentation, for example.  Stopping birth control less than a month prior to surgery can increase your risk of blood clotting more than continuing on it, so timing matters too!

#6 – Banish some beauty products.

Have you ever seen a reality show where a patient goes into surgery entirely “made up” and looking like they’re ready for a night on the town? That is a no, no in REAL life. Your plastic surgeon wants the cleanest surgical site to work upon – because it’s SAFEST for you. Makeup may carry bacteria from brushes and sponges, and some creams and lotions can create a difficult barrier for antiseptics to remove. Keep your skin a clean slate before surgery by avoiding these things the night before and day of your surgery:

  • Body oils, creams, lotions, gels, powders, and moisturizers
  • All facial skincare products (toners, serums, lotions, eye creams, SPF, etc.)
  • Deodorants including solids, roll-ons, pastes, crystals, sprays, organic
  • False eyelashes and eyelash extensions (especially avoid getting these done right before surgery, as some of the lashes will likely detach with the protective eye lubricant put in your eyes during surgery)
  • Hair styling products including sprays, oils, serums, gels, mousse
  • Nail polish which may chip and flake into surgical sites
  • Gel, acrylic nail extensions that may harbor bacteria under tips

Schedule a complimentary consultation with a board-certified Edina Plastic Surgery plastic surgeon by calling (612) 688-3177, texting (952) 925-1765, or CLICKING HERE!

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