More people than ever are choosing face lift to help them look and feel younger. Though there isn’t any age limit for a facelift, it is always better to consult a board-certified surgeon before planning to have any cosmetic surgery. Your doctor will perform a detailed physical exam of your facial tissues to determine whether a facelift is a good option for you, or if a smaller-scale procedure is better suited to your age. Whether you opt for a smaller-scale option or a full facelift, an experienced surgeon will be able to determine the best, age-appropriate solution to help you improve loose skin and wrinkling in the neck, cheeks, and jawline.
Traditionally, most facelift candidates would wait until severe signs of aging appeared before they decided to move forward with surgery, but today the long wait is less necessary since new techniques allow for subtler, smaller-scale changes that help improve smaller problems sooner. Some surgeons even recommend starting smaller-scale facial rejuvenation such as laser treatments sooner to help minimize the damaging effects of aging as they show up. An example timeline:
- Late 30s – Noticeable facial aging changes begin to become noticeable by this stage, and you start to see the beginnings of deep, permanent facial lines that will become dramatically more visible by your 40s and 50s. At the same time, due to weight fluctuations, sun exposure, and other factors most people will start to see a change in facial fat volume. Fat below the skin may thin out slightly, while pockets of fat around the mouth and eyes may shift lower or become more noticeable in general. At this stage, noninvasive options such as facial injections are popular, but some patients may consider a small-scale surgery such as mini facelift. Improvements are often important at this time to help support career pursuits.
- 40s and 50s – At this stage, many people are still maintaining the busy pace from their 30s, but the early aging signs from their 30s are starting to settle into more noticeable problems. Lines deepen, and a combination of fat loss and thinning skin often causes noticeable sagging, particularly around the jawline. In many patients, this is the best time to consider a more extensive procedure to correct loose muscle, skin, and fat.
- 60s+ – Many patients will find that their 60s are an excellent time for facelift as well, and your overall health and lifestyle will determine the timing at this stage. Recovery in your 60s tends to take a bit longer, but because the signs of aging are more drastic at this stage, the results are more dramatic. For patients who already underwent rejuvenation procedures in earlier years, some minor noninvasive procedures at this stage might be more than enough.
Having a facelift is indeed a personal decision. Facial aging is not the only factor that will determine the best timing for you; as you plan out your improvements with your doctor, assess how your face is likely to change over time in the long term. A traditional facelift is often the best choice at any age to minimize significant facial aging signs as they happen, so consult with your doctor to plan the timing best suited to you.
Dr. Alexander received his Medical Degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, one of the country’s first medical schools, and then had five years of intensive general surgery training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, serving as chief resident in 1993-1994. There he was one of two residents honored “Outstanding Teacher” by the Whitehead Society.
After becoming Board Certified in General Surgery, Dr. Alexander attended the University of California San Francisco, one of the premiere Plastic Surgery programs in the United States. There he completed two additional years of residency training in Plastic Surgery. Dr. Alexander is double board certified in Surgery and Plastic Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
Dr. Alexander specializes in facial rejuvenation, and was the first surgeon in California to perform the QuickLift,™ a revolutionary surgical procedure that takes years off the face with less downtime than traditional facelifts. He is a specialist in chemical peels and laser surgery and was selected to author the chapter “Facial Resurfacing” in Plastic Surgery, the premiere textbook of the specialty. He also specializes in facial cancer reconstruction and endoscopic, minimally-invasive procedures, publishing his own original research about endoscopic plastic surgery. He lectures in medical forums and has presented his results at both national and international surgical meetings.