What Is The Best Age For A Facelift?
One of the most common questions that I get asked is, “What age should I get a facelift?”. Most people begin to notice age-related facial changes in their thirties (or even earlier) and wonder what the right option for facial rejuvenation is. There are many different surgical and non-surgical options for facial rejuvenation. Some work well, and some do not. For the best results in facial rejuvenation, choosing the correct option for your own stage of facial aging is critical.
Is Age Only A Number?
The absolute truth is that age is almost entirely irrelevant to treatment planning for facial rejuvenation. Age is only a number. Some people will have significant facial aging or loose skin in the neck/jawline, even in their late thirties. This can be related to several factors, such as genetics, massive weight loss, or excessive sun damage. Other people with a combination of favorable genetics and healthy lifestyle habits might notice jowling or loose neck skin in their mid- to late-fifties. But, again, age is only a number. It wouldn’t make sense to offer a facelift to someone in their fifties without any loose skin to lift. Likewise, it wouldn’t be reasonable to decline to provide surgery for a 40-year-old patient with significant loose skin in the neck and face who would get a fantastic result from facelift surgery.
The age range for facelift patients varies widely from the late thirties to eighties. More than just using age as the main factor, there are three essential criteria to be a great candidate for facelift surgery. The first criteria is being in good enough health to be able to undergo a surgical procedure with a low risk of complications. Facelift surgery is a purely optional cosmetic procedure, unlike medically necessary surgery like cancer surgery or joint surgery. So the threshold for safety must be lower to minimize any risks of complications. Patients can have medical issues that their own doctors manage, but extensive medical history might make it so that the risks would outweigh the benefits.
The second criteria is whether someone has enough loose skin or signs of aging, where a facelift procedure would make a dramatic difference. For example, if a patient wanted to rejuvenate their face but had a very tight neckline, defined jawline, youthful face, and no visible jowls, then there wouldn’t be any room for improvement. If the best facelift surgeon in the world did an excellent facelift on this patient, there wouldn’t be any significant results to show for it because the patient did not have room for improvement. So there needs to be enough room for improvement where a surgeon can anticipate a dramatic enough difference to justify the procedure.
Finally, the third criteria is a patient being a good psychological/emotional candidate for facelift surgery. A facelift will address double chin or neck bands, tighten the neckline, define the jawline, and rejuvenate a sagging face. A facelift procedure is nothing more than a tool to address these signs of aging. It will “rejuvenate” the face, not “transform” the face. Suppose a patient has unrealistic expectations or is investigating surgery because of outside pressures (like from work or other people around them). In that case, they might not be satisfied with even an excellent result.
Patient Before & After
Making Sure You're a Candidate:
So what are the options if a patient desires facial rejuvenation, but a surgeon doesn’t feel they have enough loose skin for a facelift? The best non-surgical option for facial rejuvenation currently is radiofrequency (RF) microneedling. RF microneedling is a minimally invasive treatment that uses energy to tighten the skin and improve texture. In patients who are younger than 40 years old or are not candidates for a facelift, it can give positive results. In patients who have loose skin or are facelift candidates, it would show no visible results. Again, the treatment plan is critical and independent for every person.
In summary, there is no “best age” for a facelift. The best course of action is to learn more information through a consultation with a facelift specialist whenever you feel that you notice significant aging. A qualified and honest surgeon will tell patients if they are not ready yet, and will give recommendations for non-surgical treatments. If a patient is a candidate for a facelift and they are ready to pursue surgical facial rejuvenation, there is no benefit to waiting for it to get worse just for the sake of being older. Conversely, someone is more likely to heal faster and more predictably because they are younger and healthier. Seek out information from an expert based upon your own feelings of self-image, regardless of specific detail to “age.”
View more of Dr. Starkman's Before & After's here.