You may be tempted to toast a successful plastic surgery — or relax before the procedure — by knocking one back, but most experts wouldn’t recommend it. Not only can alcohol slow your healing time and prevent you from achieving the best possible results, it can cause several complications, too.
Here are five reasons experts say you should just say no to alcohol before and after cosmetic surgery:
1. Alcohol increases swellingAfter undergoing a cosmetic surgery procedure, you’ll want swelling to subside as soon as possible. Drinking alcohol dilates your blood vessels, causing your body to swell.
Alcohol is also dehydrating, which results in your body trying to hold onto as much water as possible — and why you experience bloating after a wild night out. Your nose is especially susceptible to alcohol-related swelling following rhinoplasty, so if you want to see your new, refined nose, skip the booze for a while.
Related: Here’s how much downtime you’ll need for top cosmetic procedures
2. Alcohol boosts bleedingAll invasive surgeries require a recovery period, and alcohol only impedes this process. Alcohol thins the blood, putting post-op patients at a greater risk for bleeding and prolonged recovery.
3. Alcohol may leave you susceptible to pain
While many people turn to alcohol to cope with stress, problems and pain, it doesn’t work the same with physical pain following cosmetic surgery. According to Dr. Peter A. Aldea, a Memphis, Tennessee, plastic surgeon, frequent drinkers “may find that pain medications don’t work as well and don’t last as long as they would otherwise.”
4. Alcohol may make your medications dangerous
More than just dulling a medication’s effects, Dr. Steven Turkeltaub, a Scottsdale, Arizona, plastic surgeon warns that booze “can interact with certain medications in ways that can be detrimental and even dangerous.”
Side effects of mixing alcohol with medication may include nausea, vomiting, headaches, drowsiness, fainting and loss of coordination. It can also put you at risk for internal bleeding, heart problems and difficulty breathing. Prioritize the prescription bottle over the wine bottle.
Related: The best and worst cocktails for your teeth
5. Alcohol dries out your skin
What’s the use of having surgery to improve your confidence only to suffer from flaky skin? Alcohol interferes with the hormone that regulates how much urine you produce, drying out your skin.
For example, for each shot of alcohol you consume, your kidneys create about four more ounces of urine than your body would normally produce. This causes your body to flush more water, which in turn leads to dehydration and drier skin — and drinking that much extra water doesn’t counteract the effects.
For optimal results, many doctors recommend abstaining from alcohol for at least two weeks leading up to and following surgery, though this time frame varies depending on the procedure. Always ask your doctor about what is right for you, and when it might be safe for a glass of wine again.
Ready to contact an expert? Find a doctor near you today.