What Are the Best Alternatives to a Facelift?

The primary purpose of a facelift is to remove excess skin and reposition soft tissues that through aging and gravity have migrated down on the face. It is difficult to accomplish these goals through other methods; however, there are options for individuals looking to look younger and more rejuventated which do not necessarily involve surgical procedures.

One of the primary ‘tell tales’ of aging is the appearance of the skin. Aging, sun damage, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and a history of acne can all decrease the aesthetic appearance of the skin.

In facial rejuvenation, the skin plays the most important role. Just as wrinkles and sagging skin can make us appear aged, healthy and vibrant skin can give us a younger healthier look. Although aging affects every part of our body, it is most noticeable in our skin. Daily skin care combined with a well-balanced diet, plenty of rest, abstinence from smoking, and protection from ultraviolet radiation are the keys to maintaining healthy skin.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes the greatest long-term damage to your skin. UV radiation damages the elastin fibers of the skin, decreasing its resiliency. UV radiation also decreases the immune response of the skin and the whole body. The greatest source of UV radiation is the sun, but it also comes from tanning booths and even some indoor lighting.

The natural aging process in combination with environmental factors such as UV radiation, cigarette smoking, and alcohol consumption give skin an aged and “tired” look to it. Microscopic evaluation of aged skin shows disarray of the collagen fibers that give skin its structural support. Proper skin treatments can help to reorient these fibers and return some of the skin’s natural vibrancy and reduce wrinkles. Thin and fragile skin can be made thicker and more resilient, while tough, thick skin can be made smoother and softer.

There are a number of products (Nia24, Revale, Neocutis, Retin-A, etc) and treatments available (microdermabrasion, Dermasweep, chemical peels, laser resurfacing, IPL etc) to improve the qality of the skin. The best ones are usually available through a physician’s office. The strength of the ingredients is usually greater than over the counter products and they are often more effective and less expensive on a per volume basis.

Soft tissue fillers (Collagen, Radiesse, Juvederm, etc) can be used to replace collagen and/or fat that has atrophied through the years. These are commonly placed in the folds from the corner of the nose to the lips (nasolabial folds)and in the lips themselves.

The most important aspect of this process is to find a plastic surgeon (Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgery or American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) you have confidence in and express to him/her your specific wishes and goals. Then listen carefully to the specific recommendations, ask questions and have realistic expectations.

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