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| By

Ross A. Clevens, MD, FACS

After a facelift, eyelid surgery or rhinoplasty, you want to get back to normal as soon as possible. Part of getting back to your regular routine might be beginning to wear makeup again. Most likely, your surgeon will recommend waiting about a week after surgery before starting to use cosmetics.

Wearing makeup too soon after your procedure can irritate the area near the incisions, especially if you get makeup in the wound. The process of applying the makeup can interfere with healing, as you may be pulling or tugging on the skin. If the makeup gets into the incisions, it can lead to an infection.

Once your surgeon gives you the all-clear to wear makeup again, it can be a useful tool for enhancing your face post-surgery. You can use it to conceal bruising or reduce any discoloration. Although some people enjoy the process of putting on makeup everyday, if you don't, long-lasting makeup might be something worth considering after you've healed from surgery.

Type of Makeup

Some types of makeup are better than others after plastic surgery. Since the skin is usually still delicate a week or so after your surgery, it's usually a good idea to choose makeup that is gentle and that can be removed easily. Mineral makeup is often recommended as it's very gentle but still effective.

If you can't find a mineral makeup that you like, look for something that's water-based. Oil-based products usually require a special remover and can be more challenging to take off. Plus, oil-based cosmetics can irritate your still-healing skin.

Covering Up Bruising

It can take longer than you'd expect for the bruising to fade after your plastic surgery. In some cases, it may be weeks or months before your skin looks "normal" again. If you are concerned about bruising after a facelift or other surgery, certain types of makeup can help cover it up.

Look for a makeup that claims to provide complete coverage or that lets you build it up. Some brands are designed specifically for concealing bruising or other issues on the skin, such as a tattoo you no longer want. Usually, correcting makeup is worn underneath your foundation and powder.

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Choosing Colors

Some colors cover up discoloration better than others. Usually, complementary colors, or colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel, cancel each other out when used cosmetically. For example, if your skin is very red, you might find that wearing a green concealer offers the best coverage. If your bruises are beginning to yellow, a purple concealer often does a fine job of covering them up. If the bruises are still purple, yellow concealer is best.

Once you're able to wear eye makeup again, it's usually a good idea to start out wearing a blue liner, as it minimizes redness in the area, as well as are dark circles. Black eyeliner, which often looks stark, can call attention areas of redness. Choose your eyeshadows with care after surgery, too. Pink or red eyeshadows can make redness more prominent. Shimmery shadows can also call attention to discoloration. Plus, the ingredients in shimmery eyeshadows can your skin if it's still healing.

Going the Long-lasting Route

Some people enjoy the process of putting on makeup every day and touching it up as needed. If that's not you, long-lasting makeup may be a viable option. Long-lasting makeup is usually tattooed onto the skin. It typically takes a few weeks for the skin to heal after the makeup is applied, after which the final result is visible.

Common areas for long-lasting makeup include the lips, eyebrows and eyelids. You might decide to have eyeliner tattooed to your lids, for example, or have the technician apply long-lasting lip liner, to keep your lipstick from bleeding off of the edge of your mouth.

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