The facelift timeline: What to know about the window
If you're considering a facelift, you might have asked your friends and family about it and likely encountered a whirlwind of myths and misinformation.
These non-truths are everywhere these days, including in the media. It's understandable, then, that you might feel a touch of hesitation, wondering if the rumors hold any truth. Is there a "perfect" age for a facelift? Is there a point of no return?
Dive in with us as we speak with ASPS Member Surgeons, who will help us separate facelift fact from fiction.
The "right" time for a facelift: Is there such a thing?
It's a commonly held belief that if you get a facelift too early, you're wasting your money, but if you wait too long, the results won't be as optimal. So, when is the sweet spot?
"People don't want to have their face and neck done when they're too young because they feel like it's too early," said Aviva Preminger, MD. "But then they don't want to wait until it's too far gone because then the change is so drastic. So, I think somewhere in between is usually the goal."
Contrary to popular belief, there isn't a universal "right" age for a facelift. The decision is profoundly personal and depends on multiple factors. Genetics, lifestyle, sun exposure and even stress levels play pivotal roles in how and when your face shows signs of aging. Some individuals might notice sagging skin or deepening wrinkles in their 40s, while others might find these changes creeping in during their 50s or even later.
"I see people who are in their mid-40s who are losing fat in their face and are developing jowls and sagging around their mouth and their neck, and they are absolutely ready for a face and neck lift," said Sara Dickie, MD. "But certainly, there are others who almost seem to never get that. I saw a 75-year-old woman the other day who came in and said, 'I've never done Botox, but I'm starting to see some lines in my forehead.'"
Is there a closing window for a facelift?
Another myth lurking around is that if you wait too long, the opportunity for a successful facelift will pass. Here's the reality – age isn't a definitive barrier.
"Age is just a number, especially these days," said Preminger. "I see older patients coming in who are in fantastic shape physically and don't have medical issues. If I have an older patient who is in good medical condition and can undergo anesthesia, I wouldn't hesitate to do the operation."
The one-and-done myth
You might've heard that once you get a facelift, you're set for life. While the procedure can take years off your appearance, it only lasts an average of a decade and doesn't halt the aging process.
"What a facelift does is it resets the clock, and then the aging process starts again," said Preminger.
Over time, you might notice the effects of gravity, sun exposure and life's stresses once again making their mark. Here's the good news – touch-ups and supplementary treatments can extend and even enhance your results. Noninvasive procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers and laser treatments can work hand in hand with facelifts to maintain that youthful glow.
Myth: Everyone wants to look 20 years old
Another myth is that people who get a facelift are trying to look young. Yet, that's not the goal of surgery. Often, it's to look like a refreshed version of yourself.
"People don't necessarily want to look 20 when they're 70," said Dickie. "They want to look, you know, good at 70. They want to look like they did when they were 55 or 60."
Knowledge is empowerment
Each face is unique, and there's no one-size-fits-all answer to the right time for a facelift. Step beyond the myths to separate facelift fact from fiction if you're considering surgery.
Seek expert guidance from an ASPS Member Surgeon, ask questions and remember that the facelift journey is all about helping you feel confident and radiant regardless of the candles on your birthday cake.
To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.