It’s the surgical equivalent of a swag bag—the post-op recovery kit, flush with products aiming to prep and repair skin surrounding surgery; vitamins, to relieve bruising; wellness-boosting snacks and sips; and all manner of scar-improving agents. While many surgeons provide these goodies gratis—as part of their surgical fee, really—for others, these are merely as-you-wish recommendations for a smooth recovery. From BBL recovery kit essentials to post breast augmentation must-haves, top doctors share the exact items they encourage patients to use before and after plastic surgery, to make their results shine.

Pre- and postsurgical skin care

Using doctor-curated cleansers and serums in the weeks before and after surgery can help strengthen the skin in advance of procedures and take the guesswork out of what’s safe and appropriate to apply during the healing phase, when skin is often at its most vulnerable.

“While we’ve always given patients a medical care package for immediate postsurgical care after rhinoplasty—gauze, tape, peroxide, nasal saline spray, bacitracin—we’ve recently started providing patients with a less traditional goodie bag, which includes luxury skin-care products specifically curated for post-rhinoplasty healing. Some of the items in our bag currently: IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cleanser, an ultra-hydrating cleansing serum that works for even the most sensitive post-op skin. After rhinoplasty, patients are advised to use a gentle cleanser, like this one, with a washcloth, because the cast over the nose has to be kept dry. Talika Eye Therapy Patches help hydrate and soothe the under-eye area after rhinoplasty, minimizing the look of bruising and helping to more quickly resolve under-eye swelling. Embryolisse Stick Lèvres is a great moisturizing lip balm. After rhinoplasty, patients can expect to be stuffy, like from a bad cold, for up to two weeks—and during this time of post-op congestion, they end up breathing mainly through their mouths, particularly at night, which leads to dry, cracked lips. This shea butter lip balm is deeply nourishing without being sticky.” —Dr. Dara Liotta, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York City

“For the month prior to surgery, we believe that preparing the skin on the outside helps get it ready for a surgical procedure on the inside. Since my partner and sister, Dr. Morgan Rabach, is a dermatologist, she almost always sees my surgical patients for a consultation, to help them prep their skin. Most patients end up on a regimen of SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum, which contains a bunch of antioxidants and growth factors, to optimize healing, ISDIN Isdinceutics K-OX Eyes, and a medical-grade sunscreen that is a physical blocker, like EltaMD UV Physical Broad Spectrum SPF 41.” —Dr. Lesley Rabach, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York City

“Alastin makes a product called INhance, which was designed for after filler injections, but I like using it after small procedures like blepharoplasty, scar excisions, lip lifts, and nasal-base narrowing procedures. [It contains a peptide blend called] TriHex Technology, which speeds recovery, in a topical cream. Another amazing product that I use before surgery on liposuction patients is Alastin TransFORM Body Treatment, which is amazing at building elastin before a liposuction procedure. It was designed to be used starting immediately after surgery, but I actually give it to my patients to use on the areas that will be liposuctioned for two weeks before surgery, to help build elastin and remodel collagen, which improves skin elasticity after lipo. They also use it [for] four weeks after—and they love how it makes their skin feel.” —Dr. Jo An Monaco, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City

“We give patients a kit for before surgery, with Hibiclens, a hospital-grade antiseptic/antimicrobial soap for the shower, which they use two days before surgery and for a week after surgery. We also include a hospital-grade hand sanitizer called Avagard, to use frequently during the recovery period.” —Dr. David Shafer, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City

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