How soon can you wear makeup after eyelid surgery?

So you’ve had eyelid surgery, and everything went just as planned—but the area around your eyes is still swollen and bruised, and you don’t want to go out in public looking like that. Are you allowed to wear makeup?

Maybe—but it depends on how far out from surgery you are. If your wounds are still healing and haven’t sealed yet, makeup can irritate your incisions and cause infection; in some cases, if it gets inside the incisions, it can even cause permanent tattooing when the skin heals over it. None of these are things you want to experience!

The truth is, every patient and surgery is different, so the rules change at least a little bit with every person. Generally speaking, you’ll probably want to wait at least  two weeks (sometimes longer) before you start putting makeup on your eyes—especially directly on the incisions, which are the most sensitive area following surgery—but in some cases, you may be able to do it sooner, and in others, you’ll have to wait even longer. This is one time when you should leave the decision entirely up to your plastic surgeon; they know the details of your particular case, and they’re the only one equipped to tell you what’s safe and what isn’t.

When your surgeon does give you the okay, keep in mind that buying new makeup is the smartest way to go—it will reduce the likelihood of contamination. Old bottles, tubes, and compacts can carry germs that you don’t want anywhere near your incisions. There are also products called “camouflage” cosmetics that are designed specifically for masking things like bruises and other unsightly marks; if your usual makeup doesn’t seem to be cutting it, you may want to try those.

The most important thing, as always, is to take the proper precautions and follow your doctor’s advice. It’s worth it to wait a few extra days to get the best possible outcome!