Clinical vs Social Downtime: What Do They Mean and What’s the Difference?

In the world of beauty, “downtime” plays a huge role in determining whether a customer or a patient would end up going for a certain treatment or not. After all, when it comes to cosmetic procedures, it’s all about the treatment’s effectiveness, time taken as well as the aftercare steps. But what exactly does “downtime” mean?

This article will dive deep into its definition, and the different types of downtime you can expect – depending on the beauty treatment you go for.

What is downtime?

Historically, the word downtime signified the period of time that a patient would be “down” as they have to recover from clinical wound care.

A great example of the portrayal of downtime can easily be found in older movies, where a character goes to get certain procedures done (like a nose job or chin shaving surgery). They then avoid any kind of face-to-face meetings thereafter because they don’t want to be seen while they recover from the aftermath of the nip and tuck. The character is experiencing what we would call “clinical downtime”.

That being said, the beauty industry has come a long way since then. Devices and procedures have progressed, making way for a new kind of downtime – the “social downtime”.

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Clinical vs social downtime

Clinical downtime essentially involves some form of a non-functional period, and when it is applied to a cosmetic setting or as part of a procedure, it means a period that requires wound healing. A nose job, for example, may keep a patient under wraps for at least six weeks as they go through regular checks, splint removals and many more.

Social downtime, on the other hand, can mean different things for different people as it purely depends on the procedure and the patient’s own level of comfort. But what it truly means is the period of time that a patient will likely want to avoid face-to-face meetings or social outings – for personal reasons such as privacy or minor discomfort such as redness or swelling, etc.

Most procedures these days don’t actually require a lengthy social downtime (or any downtime at all) – like Ultherapy for example – where patients can continue with their daily activities immediately after.

The clinical and social downtimes of different procedures

To help put things into context, we’ve listed down some of the more common aesthetic and cosmetic procedures, along with their respective clinical and social downtimes.

  • Deep chemical peel
    • Clinical downtime: Patients usually take 1-2 weeks off from work after a deep chemical peel.
    • Social downtime: Redness will usually persist for at least 8 weeks (2 months).
  • Dermabrasion
    • Clinical downtime: Frequent cleansing of the skin (several times a day) to avoid infection and crusting; changing ointment or dressing and avoiding sun exposure for about 5-8 days.
    • Social downtime: Swelling and new skin will be pink or red in colour for about 6-12 weeks.
  • Soft tissue fillers
    • Clinical downtime: None
    • Social downtime: Temporary swelling, redness or bruising at injection sites for a week.
  • Botulinum toxin injections
    • Clinical downtime: Little to none.
    • Social downtime: Minor swelling, redness, discomfort and bruising may occur days after the treatment for 2-3 days.
  • Laser resurfacing
    • Clinical downtime: Little to none.
    • Social downtime: Minor redness or pinkness of the skin or swelling for 2-7 days.
  • Facelift
    • Clinical downtime: Bandage around the face to help minimise swelling and bruising, drainage tubes and management of pain, incision sites and drains which may take 2 days.
    • Social downtime: Bruising and swelling can last as long as 2 weeks, while major facelifts may require a longer downtime and recovery time.
  • Ultherapy
    • Clinical downtime: Little to none.
    • Social downtime: No social downtime after Ultherapy; patients can resume their daily activities right after with no restrictions whatsoever.

Ultherapy: an effective way to look lifted and younger without any downtime

Understanding each individual’s concerns about clinical and social downtimes is an important part of determining a treatment plan.

If you’re looking for a skin lifting treatment that will require minimal to no recovery time so that you will be able to carry on with your regular activities and experience very minimal to no side effects, Ultherapy is your best bet yet.

Speak to the experts at our partner clinics today to find out more and schedule a “lunchtime” lifting treatment!

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