They say time heals all wounds. But, if you’re reading this, you probably want to bump up the clock on your post surgery recovery.
Who wouldn’t want that? In addition to some discomfort, swelling is normal after cosmetic surgery. This last one is a typical nuisance after going under the knife since it’s both felt and seen.
If you’re looking for a speedy fix, we’re diving deep into the best supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery. But before we get into some solutions, let’s talk about what causes your (completely normal) swelling.
Why do our bodies swell?
Swelling is typically caused by inflammation or fluid buildup. Specifically, after surgery, swelling occurs in the second stage of the wound healing process: the inflammatory stage.
In this stage, your immune system releases white blood cells to surround the wounded area. It causes fluid to build up which allows your body to heal by giving repair cells a pathway to the wound. It also allows your body to remove any pathogens, bacteria, and damaged cells in the process of healing.
Acute inflammation (in the form of swelling) is actually a good thing. It's part of your immune system's natural response to heal an injury or fight an infection.
During this stage, you might feel some redness and heat around the incision after the surgery. And though usually a bit painful, it is an essential part of the healing process.
It is important to note that while inflammation is a natural response of the body to heal itself, too much of it can be bad. Excessive inflammation can cause more tissue damage and slow wound healing which is why the goal is to keep it in check and help your body recover as quickly as possible.
But how long does swelling last after plastic surgery?
Your cosmetic surgery recovery time will depend on the kind of procedure you’re having, the area being treated, and your body’s healing capacity. It could take anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks for patients to resume normal activities. For instance, a breast lift surgery could have you back at work after just a week, with exercise limited for up to 6 weeks.
Regardless of the surgery though, swelling usually peaks in the first few days following surgery.
The good news is, nearly 80% of swelling will subside weeks after plastic surgery. The remaining amount may take months up to a year before it fully disappears. At that point, you are considered fully recovered and the wound from surgery, completely healed.
Knowing that, it’s still understandable to want to get any swelling at bay - and as quickly as possible. Whether you’re getting a rhinoplasty, facelift, liposuction, or another cosmetic procedure, here are 10 of the top supplements you can take to reduce swelling after plastic surgery.
What supplements help reduce swelling (and promote healing) after plastic surgery?
Even when you aren’t in recovery mode, supplements can significantly improve a person’s health. They allow the body to do what it does best: defend and nourish itself. Vitamins and supplements are widely used in medical nutrition therapy (MNT) or nutritional counseling for various health concerns - including post surgery recovery.
While better pre-surgery health means faster healing, these supplements also provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits that assist your body’s natural ability to heal after surgery - even if you didn’t previously take them.
This could mean heading back to work or out of bed rest earlier than planned!
If that sounds like a swell idea, (no pun intended) let’s jump into the list of post plastic surgery supplements that can improve your recovery time - and possibly even your mood.
10 Best supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery
1. Vitamin C
This might not come as a shock. After all, vitamin C is huge in the skin and cosmetic industry right now.
When it comes to wound healing, taking an oral or topical form of this antioxidant can accelerate skin healing and neutralize oxidative stress. These two major benefits alone are enough to decrease inflammation and scar formation while regenerating your skin. When this happens, your skin can produce more collagen and elastin fibers, both of which are essential to your skin’s long-term healing and short-term reduced swelling.
2. Vitamin A
This vitamin supports skin immunity and promotes collagen production. Skin immunity is crucial for your incision to heal faster and prevent infections. Collagen production, on the other hand, is essential to repair damaged tissues in your skin, which reconstructs the damaged area.
Your doctor may recommend that you take anywhere between 10,000 to 25,000 immunizing units (IU) a day one week before surgery until after the procedure.
Remember that it’s always best to consult a medical professional who can prescribe the right dosage specifically for your health and the procedure you’ll be getting.
3. Vitamin K
Earlier, we talked about how fluid buildup can cause swelling. This occurs when a clot stops the flow of blood, which causes an enlargement in the vessel.
Vitamin K has long been used by doctors to aid their patients with faster post surgery recovery. It's also been known to prevent bleeding complications in newborns.
You can get a good dose of it from eating leafy greens such as spinach, brussel sprouts, liver, and egg yolk. If your diet doesn’t reflect enough of this healing nutrient (it can be difficult to get the recommended amount by food alone), it may be beneficial to take it as a supplement after your procedure.
Zinc helps form connective tissues by inducing essential biochemical reactions. And since our cells aren’t capable of naturally producing zinc, it’s a commonly prescribed supplement for various reasons.
In relation to plastic surgery recovery, zinc mediates collagen synthesis. This helps your skin renew and repair itself. Furthermore, zinc has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that not only help with wound healing but also scar reduction.
Bromelain is another popular supplement known for its ability to alleviate not just swelling and bruising but the sensation of pain. It does this by restricting chemicals that signal pain during inflammation.
Its cosmetic and wound healing properties extend to its capacity to remove damaged collagen in your skin. This promotes the production of new collagen.
If you want to maximize the effects of bromelain, taking it with quercetin has been found to prevent scar formation as well. Quercetin provides natural antihistamine properties, making it one of the best plastic surgery supplements for accelerated recovery.
6. Arnica montana
Available in both oral and topical forms, arnica has been used in homeopathic medicine for centuries. The plant is known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits, which may help reduce pain and swelling after surgery.
It is also widely used for other minor injuries, bruising, and soreness. Dosages may be prescribed before and after surgery to reap its healing properties.
7. Grape seed extract
Even elective surgeries can be very taxing on the body and mind. If you want an option that checks off both well-being and physical benefits - then this flavonoid might just be useful in your post-op arsenal.
Because it’s one of the few ingredients that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, it provides cognitive benefits apart from reduced swelling. This extract boasts powerful antioxidant protection and positively impacts your blood vessels, making it another one of the best supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery.
8. Fish oil
Speaking of multiple systemic benefits… fish oil is another supplement that provides an array of healing and anti-aging perks.
The Omega-3 fatty acids contained in fish oil supplements are vital to bodily functions, like regulating blood pressure, promoting healthy blood clotting, fighting inflammation, and boosting immunity. What’s more, it has been proven to provide mood-enhancing properties and skin health properties, making it a no-brainer as one of the best supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery and promote a fast recovery.
9. Coenzyme Q10
This compound is among the most widely-used active ingredients in skincare products. Aside from being applied topically, it can also be taken orally and is known for its collagen-boosting activity. Collagen strengthens the epidermis so it plays a key role in restoring skin health from damage and dehydration.
Not only can this post surgery supplement reduce swelling after plastic surgery but it will also help you enjoy a youthful glow as you heal.
Your doctor may recommend this as a daily supplement - especially for people 40 years of age and up. Our bodies can produce this compound but its supply often decreases with age.
10. Hydrolyzed Collagen
You might have noticed a recurring theme in the list of supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery: collagen.
What is it and how is collagen made?
Well, your body naturally makes its own collagen by breaking down dietary proteins into amino acids. Maintaining your body’s natural production before and after plastic surgery is essential since it’s found in all your connective tissues. This includes your skin, tendons, muscles, organs, and more.
This is why doctors use collagen for wound healing, as it is extremely effective at building and repairing all these tissues, including your skin. When you have a wound (such as a surgery incision), it means your tissues are damaged. To fix this, they need extra collagen and other structural proteins to heal the wounded area.
So what is hydrolyzed collagen, exactly?
Hydrolyzed collagen (HC) or collagen peptide is basically collagen that’s been broken down into smaller particles that your body can digest easier. When used as a supplement, hydrolyzed collagen is the best form of this supplement to reduce swelling after plastic surgery. It will readily enter into the bloodstream and begin healing your wound from the inside out.
Due to its amino acid profile, it has been proven to heal wounds up to two times faster, making it well worth one of the most indispensable plastic surgery supplements.
To learn more about its anti-aging and skin health benefits for post-surgery and beyond, check out our complete guide to collagen peptide protein.
How do you reduce swelling after plastic surgery?
Now that you know the best supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery, we’ve outlined some tips you can follow to ensure a smooth recovery.
Try these extra steps to help reduce facial swelling after plastic surgery
While it’s perfectly normal for you to experience more facial swelling in the days following your surgery, it can make your face feel tight and amplify the results of the procedure.
No need to panic if your area of concern looks distorted at first. Know that whether you’ve had a facelift or a blepharoplasty - stocking up on essentials can make all the difference when it comes to achieving faster healing times.
Here are some things you can do to expedite facial plastic surgery recovery:
- Prepare compression wraps (to reduce swelling for facelifts).
- Keep a bag of frozen peas or ice packs. For eye surgeries, this should prevent your eyes from temporarily swelling shut. For facial procedures, this will generally help with swelling.
- Listen to your body. Swelling may fluctuate while you recover. It’s your body’s signal to slow down. Avoid pushing yourself to refrain from delaying the healing process - and remember our list of supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery.
- Monitor the incision site. Ask your surgeon what to look for to prevent infections.
- Be patient. Other completely normal symptoms such as pain, tingling, or numbness can happen as you recover. Some sensations may last for weeks or months depending on the nature of the surgery. Keep in mind that cosmetic surgery recovery is a process, not a race.
Finally, don’t be afraid to bring up concerns that might be out of the ordinary. The best surgeons and doctors won’t hesitate to answer your questions for your peace of mind and best results.
Consult a professional for a regimen that suits you
Whether it’s for your face or your body, the road to efficient cosmetic surgery recovery has to be approached holistically. No one course of action is the cure-all for a swift healing process.
Aside from supplementation and proper wound care, make sure to always ask your doctor for a post-surgery recovery regimen tailored to your procedure, health, and lifestyle. Taking supplements to reduce swelling after plastic surgery is just one of the necessary steps to avoid infections. Other things like rest and a low-stress routine help you recover faster.
Make sure to also ask your doctor about what foods to avoid before plastic surgery.
And a post surgery diet and regimen. This may consist of all the healthy habits, food, and best supplements to help you be well on your way to a full, fabulous, five-star recovery.
Try a proven medical nutrition product
If you’re looking for a product that’s proven to promote rapid wound healing, general nutrition, skin health, and anti-aging benefits, ProT Gold collagen is a medical-grade collagen supplement that is trusted by more than 4,000 medical facilities.
Our nano-hydrolyzed liquid collagen is developed by Stanford biochemists to be fully bioavailable and proven to heal wounds 2x faster than normal. It has no additives or artificial sweeteners, giving you only premium ingredients for advanced collagen nutrition.
Taking the right type and dose of collagen extends beyond surgery recovery and provides overall wellness as you age, ensuring your beautiful results last as long as possible.