The best plastic surgeons know that great skin care can significantly enhance results from cosmetic procedures, as there are steps that can be taken to support the growing and healing processes of the skin. Patients that come into their plastic surgery procedures having adequately prepared to create the healthiest skin possible will get the best results. Below we discuss some steps that you can take to prepare your skin for surgery. Using these recommendations, your skin will heal quickly and with minimal discoloration that can sometimes occur.
The role of vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene in healing the skin
Many of us have a Vitamin A deficiency in our skin because this vitamin is easily destroyed by exposure to sunlight. There are many different forms of Vitamin A, but the form that is destroyed by the sun is called retinyl palmitate. Through a series of conversions, the various forms of Vitamin A act to stimulate healthy cell growth. Deficiencies of these molecules can lead to slower and poorer healing of the skin and decreased the production of collagen. Vitamin C also plays an important role in the healing process and is a potent antioxidant that prevents skin damage and discoloration. The other major antioxidants in the skin are Vitamin E and beta-carotene; having sufficient levels of these two antioxidants ensures that Vitamin A and Vitamin C can work together in the skin to promote healing. In short, all of these nutrients should be used together in proper preparation when healing.
How to prepare your skin to heal well
Because these four vitamins are critical in healing the skin, topical application of a product containing them for a few weeks prior to your surgery is appropriate. Here are the best forms of the vitamins to seek out in your topical treatment; if you cannot find a single product that contains all 4 vitamins, you can simply combine two or more products, but they should be high in potency so that your treatment solution is not too diluted.
- Vitamin A in the form of retinyl palmitate does not irritate the skin the way retinol or retinoic acid products will.
- Vitamin C in ascorbic acid form can cause peeling in patients with sensitive skin; the ascorbyl phosphate forms are less irritating to the skin but somewhat more expensive.
It is also important to consider the container for your topical vitamins; you should seek out a product in a container that is resistant to light and air exposure, as they are all relatively easily destroyed by air and light. Fresher products are better, as freshness will maximize the benefits you receive from their use. If you are having a difficult time finding what you need, we can help you to find the best possible product(s) containing the right amount of these vitamins for home use in the month(s) leading up to your surgery. Our recommendation would be for you to apply the vitamin combination to the area of skin in which your incisions will be made at least twice per day for a minimum of 3 weeks prior to surgery.
The importance of exfoliation or peels prior to surgery
Our skin builds up a residue of dead cells, oils, makeup, and dirt over time. While we likely don’t have to explain the importance of cleansing your skin regularly, many of us fail to properly exfoliate. With the buildup of this residue, the efficacy of topical vitamin treatment is reduced. In order to get the most out of your vitamin treatment prior to surgery, it is important to properly exfoliate the skin prior to application of the vitamins. Patients with thicker skin may benefit from a chemical peel a month or two prior to surgery. This chemical peel will allow maximum effectiveness of the vitamin treatment.
What should I do after surgery?
Your surgeon will develop specific care instructions for you to follow after your surgery. Generally, at some point in the healing process, you may begin using the topical product containing the 4 major antioxidants to continue to support your skin’s healing. It is important that you follow these recommendations to maximize your results.
By diligently preparing your skin for surgery and then properly caring for it during healing, you will be collaborating with Dr. Kashyap to ensure you look your best!
Minimize scars and maximize healing by properly preparing your skin for surgery. Contact us at Hudson Face and Eye at 347.788.1841 to schedule a consultation and find out more about your role in proper healing after cosmetic surgery.