Lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity are all a normal part of aging. Collagen, a protein that gives your skin strength and resiliency, starts declining around age 25, and production continues to diminish with each advancing year. But you may not be ready to give up your youthful glow when the droop begins.
There are any number of cosmetic treatments that can postpone the inevitable for a little while. These include BOTOXⓇ Cosmetic, dermal fillers, laser resurfacing, and microdermabrasion, to name a few. While very effective, these are solutions that may need to be redone from time to time.
Our oculofacial plastic and cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Dustin Heringer, at Arizona Ocular and Facial Plastic Surgery, understands your frustration. And while he offers BOTOX and dermal fillers as short-term cosmetic options, for his patients looking for a more long-term solution, he recommends a surgical facelift.
A facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy, focuses on the lower part of your face and jaw, lifting and tightening both the skin and the underlying muscles to address deep lines and sagging skin. The lift can also bring back the youthful contours of your face, taking years off your appearance. Here’s what you need to know about the surgery.
The facelift procedure
The exact method Dr. Heringer uses for your facelift depends on a number of things, including your anatomy and personal aesthetic goals, which you discuss at your initial consultation. It also depends on whether he’s performing another procedure, such as a brow lift, neck lift, or blepharoplasty, at the same time as the facelift. Many patients choose the add-ons as a convenience.
The primary technique he uses is the Superficial Musculoaponeurotic System (SMAS), a more advanced procedure that addresses your skin as well as the underlying muscles and connective tissue. He’s partial to this system because it produces the most natural-looking results.
After making the initial incisions, which he hides in your hairline so the scars will be less visible, Dr. Heringer separates the skin from the underlying connective tissue and muscles. This allows him to reposition the deeper facial tissues, remove the jowls’ sagging skin, and create a firmer foundation for the remaining skin.
Then, he gently replaces the skin over your newly rejuvenated facial tissues. It gives the face a smoother, youthful contour without an over-tightened appearance.
Just as it’s important to know what a facelift can do for you, it’s important to know what it can’t do. A facelift won't remove fine lines and wrinkles or damage from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Other cosmetic procedures, such as laser resurfacing, are designed to address the quality of the skin itself.
Maintaining your results
As you recover from your facelift, it’s important to keep your skin protected from the sun, as it will be more vulnerable to sunburn for several weeks. Staying out of the sun also helps your scars heal quickly and inconspicuously. Always wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply sunscreen regularly.
For the long term, you should maintain a healthy, stable weight, since significant weight changes can cause your skin to stretch out again. It’s wise to adopt a consistent, quality skin care regimen to keep your skin healthy and less prone to new sags and wrinkles.
For most patients, a facelift will keep up your new appearance for about 10 years.
Is a facelift a good solution for me?
In general, good candidates for a facelift include people who:
- Are in good health
- Have no medical conditions that impair healing
- Are nonsmokers
- Have sufficient skin elasticity
- Understand the recovery process
- Have a positive outlook and realistic expectations
If you’re unhappy that your face is aging faster than the inner you, a facelift may be just the procedure you need to regain your younger look. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Heringer, call one of our offices in Scottsdale or Peoria, Arizona, or book your appointment online.