Covering Bruises After Cosmetic Surgery

Reviewed by Stephanie S. Gardner, MD on July 26, 2021

Although cosmetic surgery or a cosmetic procedure will improve your look in the long run, you still have to get past the initial trauma to your body as well as the scars, bruising, discoloration, and swelling that comes with surgery.

It could take months for your appearance to show the final results you were after. But you don't have to hide at home while you heal.

Oftentimes, cosmetic surgeons will offer complimentary laser treatments after surgery to rapidly reduce the appearance of bruises. Camouflage makeup can also do a lot to enhance your confidence while your body heals. You can use it to add contour that will hide swelling during the recovery period. Applying it carefully will let you conceal the bruises and scars from the operation. And using it for color correction will tone down skin that appears red (such as after a chemical peel) or yellow (from a bruise that's healing). Green- based foundations do a good job of camouflaging red undertones.

How to Use Makeup to Conceal Bruises and Scars

  • Take inventory at home. Liquid foundation and loose powder are camouflage superstars.
  • Timing is everything. Don't start too early after surgery because camouflage cosmetics can cause problems if applied too soon. Your doctor can instruct you on what type of cosmetics to use and when you can start applying them. If you have incisions, you will have to wait until your stitches are removed and the wound heals before you can start using makeup.
  • Watch the ingredients. There are special cosmetics that are thicker than everyday makeup that can be used under regular foundation if foundation is part of your basic beauty routine. Make sure the makeup you use is fragrance free and hypoallergenic.
  • Cleanse carefully. Every night, cleanse your face and remove all traces of makeup. Certain camouflage cosmetics may require different types of cleansers for proper removal. Make sure you understand exactly what will be required to get it all off. Proper makeup removal should be part of your basic routine every day anyway, but it's especially important if you're using heavier camouflage makeup.

Show Sources


Penn Medicine: "Caring for yourself after cosmetic surgery."

The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook: "Surgery."

Kaniff Cosmetic Medical Center: "Cosmetics Tips After Surgery."


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