While there’s been a lot of progress made in the world of injectables and noninvasive anti-aging procedures, no amount of in-office treatments can produce the gold-star anti-aging results of a surgical face lift It’s true. If you’ve had a facelift you already know this, and if you’re considering having a facelift you should know it too. And since we’re on the topic of knowing things, here’s something else anyone who’s had or is considering having a facelift should know: your results are going to require upkeep.
You: Wait, what?
You read that right, folks. Having a facelift does not mean that your days of regular maintenance are over. In fact, in order to prolong the results of your facelift, you’ll have to continue your commitment to healthy living, sunscreen and skincare, and regular maintenance treatments like dermal fillers, botulinum toxin, IPL, etc. Just like you did before your surgery.
A facelift doesn’t “stop the clock” on the effects of aging. Instead, Father Time marches on, bringing with him the same genetic tendencies, sun and environmental damage and hormonal changes that started this whole face-meets-gravity nonsense to begin with. So any maintenance treatments that target the aging process continue to be a key ingredient to prolonging your youthful, vibrant, post-facelift results.
Now let’s dive into the details, shall we?
At home skincare:
We’ll start with the DIY’s. In order to prolong the results of your facelift, it’s essential that you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Being healthy on the inside is directly related to how your body handles aging and recovery on the outside. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, drinking enough water, not smoking, regular skincare and a renewed relationship with SPF that borders on the fanatical are all essential to keeping your skin looking great, and key to healing from and maintaining the results of a facelift. So, while you’re feeling as fresh and dewy as a college graduate, you should probably refrain from living like one.
Continued use of retinoids and other topicals like alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHA) can also offer up a dewy, radiant complexion by sloughing off any outer layer of dead skin cells. Your doctor will be able to recommend what topicals (or combo of topicals) would be best for you.
And now that we’ve harped on the at-home basics, let’s talk about a few of the treatments your plastic surgeon can offer up in your quest to keep the results of your facelift looking fresh.
After a facelift, maintaining your new youthful visage means doing everything you can to make sure that your skin looks healthy, hydrated and youthful. In-office treatments like chemical peels, microdermabrasion and dermabrasion can help with that and more. These treatments serve up improved skin tone and texture, diminish fine lines, wrinkles and discolorations and can even help stimulate your skin’s own collagen production—all of which will highlight the results of your facelift and keep them looking great for a long time.
IPL treatments, too, can work to fix pigmentation issues or discernible small blood vessels attempting to mar your newly minted visage.
And let’s talk about elasticity, shall we? A loss of elasticity is likely one of the things that led you to consider a facelift to begin with. A baggy brow, sunken cheeks and saggy jowls—need we say more in regards to why skin laxity is important when it comes to your facelift results? Which is why considering one of the nonsurgical skin-tightening treatments available today, like Ultherapy, Thermage and VelaShape, is a great way to keep your skin nice and taut and improve on skin quality after your surgery. Your surgeon, again, is the best resource when deciding which course of treatments will be best for you.
You won’t want to completely rule out dermal fillers and/or Botox after a facelift, either. After your surgery, these treatments can do wonders to minimize new wrinkles, keeping them from “etching” any further into your face. They can also help maintain volume where it might have been lost. Since swelling changes considerably during the healing process, it’s good to wait several months before consulting your doctor about continuing the use of injectables.
And speaking of consulting your surgeon, let’s also remember that recovery times are different for everyone, so you’ll want to talk to your doctor before starting any new treatments or products post-surgery.
While your facelift may have eliminated the tired, saggy and decidedly aged look caused by a loss of skin elasticity, a loss of facial fat and a lack of youthful connective tissue keeping your face in place, you’ve by no means won the entire war. Facelift results can last a long time (depending on which technique your surgeon uses, between 5 - 10 years), and since anyone undergoing a surgical procedures wants a long lasting result, it’s important to not simply throw in the towel when it comes to taking care of your skin. The clock ticks on, and thankfully there is an entire arsenal of DIY and doctor-facilitated procedures that can help to maintain your results so you can continue lying or not-lying about your age with equal confidence.