Taking proper care of yourself after plastic surgery reduces your risk of complications and helps you get back to your regular life quickly.

Ensure your smooth recovery by following these 7 steps:

1. Carefully follow your doctor’s instructions

Every plastic surgery is different. You may only need two weeks of recovery for a simple procedure, but many procedures require 6-8 weeks of rest for full recovery. The amount of time you need to spend on bed rest can also vary significantly.

You should get recovery instructions before making the appointment for your procedure, and write everything down, so you’re prepared long before the plastic surgery procedure. This will ensure that you take the right amount of time off and have the right supplies on hand.

2. Stock up on supplies

Speaking of supplies, there are a few things you’ll want to stock up on. Ice packs and water bottles are particularly important.

Many plastic surgery procedures also limit your ability to eat solid food for a period of time afterwards. Buy some meal replacement shakes, soup, and other semi-solid foods that will be easy on your system. There are also supplements designed specifically to help speed up your recovery.

3. Make sure you have support

At the bare minimum, you’ll need someone to take you safely home after the procedure. Ideally that person should stick around for 48-72 hours to keep you fed, hydrated and comfortable.

It’s also important to arrange for emotional support. Recovering from surgery can be exhausting, and it’s easy to feel isolated when you’re stuck resting for 2-8 weeks. Make sure there are people you can talk to during this time.

4. Focus on relaxing, not just resting

Stress of any kind is your enemy when you’re trying to recover from a surgery. It slows the healing process and increases your risk of complications. And bed rest doesn’t sound stressful, but once you’ve been stuck indoors for a week you might feel differently.

Keep your mind occupied with relaxing activities. Listen to music you love. Watch nostalgic movies that bring you joy. Read a good book. Meditate. Do whatever helps you relax.

5. Stay out of the sun

Sunlight can cause serious skin discolouration, damage, and inflammation, resulting in a nasty scar. Avoiding tanning isn’t enough either; even indirect exposure to UV rays can cause this damage if it’s prolonged.

If you absolutely must go outside during the day, wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your face. You may also be able to wear certain types of sunscreen—ask your doctor for specific recommendations. Limit your time outside to no more than half an hour a day.

6. Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drugs

Alcohol and tobacco both slow your rate of healing and can even cause complications with certain types of plastic surgery. You should avoid both for 2-4 weeks before your surgery, and continue avoiding them throughout your 2-8 week recovery period.

Drugs can also cause a variety of complications in the weeks after plastic surgery. Even prescription drugs for reducing inflammation don’t always react well. If you have any prescriptions, make sure your doctor knows about them up front. They can advise you on safe dosages during your recovery period.

7. Make a recovery plan

Plastic surgery may not be major surgery, but recovery is still just as important. Take your recovery seriously and make a comprehensive plan long before your appointment. You’ll be grateful that you don’t have to think about it later.