In today’s world, where the pursuit of youthfulness is ever-present, the decision to undergo a facelift is a significant one. As a female plastic surgeon, I am frequently asked, “When do you know you need a facelift?” and “Is there nothing else that can be done besides this?” Dr Nerina Wilkinson elaborates…
As a facial rejuvenation expert and true supporter of natural-looking results, I always present my patients with various surgical and non-surgical solutions and discuss the expected outcomes of each in detail. But to do so, the various signs of ageing first need to be understood, as only then the need for certain procedures and the benefits they can offer will be clear.
Let’s delve into the details of the signs that indicate the necessity of a facelift, the ideal age to make this crucial decision and what the options are when looking at modern facial rejuvenating procedures.
Signs That it Might Be Facelift Time
Let’s face it: the signs of ageing sometimes need a little more attention than an antiaging night cream or some filler can provide…
Understanding the signs that indicate a facelift might be necessary is the first step toward achieving your desired rejuvenation results.
Let’s explore these signs in detail:
Loss of Volume
As much as many people believe that their faces are sagging due to drooping skin, the primary reason for the effects of ageing is that our faces are deflating.
Think of pictures of yourself when you were in your 30s and how the fullness of your face resulted in a fresh and rejuvenated look. Since then, the deflation process has begun… Over time, the gradual loss of volume in the face becomes prominent and is a common sign that a facelift might be needed to achieve the desired rejuvenation. This volume loss can be attributed to two primary factors: bone and fat.
- Bone Loss: As we age, our facial bones can become thinner and less prominent. This reduction in bone structure can lead to loss of facial support and a hollowed appearance, especially visible around the cheeks, eye sockets, and the mouth.
- Fat Loss: Another contributor to facial volume loss is the reduction of fat beneath the skin. Fat pads that once provided plumpness and youthfulness to the cheeks and other facial areas can diminish over time, contributing to sagging and a sunken look.
Collagen, is that magical protein that keeps our skin firm and tight. Over the years, our bodies produce less collagen, which can result in visible signs of ageing, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Skin elasticity is closely linked to collagen levels, so when skin loses its elasticity, it becomes less resilient and less able to “snap back” into place, leading to drooping, especially around the jawline and neck.
The Ligament Limbo
Facial retaining ligaments are the all-important structures that hold our facial tissues and muscles in place. As these ligaments weaken with age, they allow gravity to have its way with our facial features, with facial fat and muscle shifting downward. This can lead to a lack of definition and, dare I say it, jowls.
The Ideal Age for a Facelift
The ideal time for a facelift is highly individualised. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, my advice to my patients will depend on various factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and overall health. However, there is a general age range during which many individuals begin to consider facelift options.
Typically, people in their late 40s to early 60s are prime candidates for facelift surgery. But remember, it’s your personal journey, so trust your instincts and consult with a skilled surgeon who can guide you through the most suitable options available.
Embracing Natural-Looking Results
We live in a time when modern facelifts are all about embracing your true self while turning back the clock. To me, as a plastic surgeon with a passion for developing improved techniques and achieving natural-looking results, this has been a truly exciting time!
In recent years, a significant movement has emerged within the field of plastic surgery and has driven advances in techniques and technology to align perfectly with the desires of many individuals seeking natural facial rejuvenation. At my practice alone, we have pioneered various signature facelifting procedures specifically designed to achieve beautiful results using the latest techniques and technology available.
Gone are the days when facelifts left individuals with a “windblown” appearance, where the signs of surgery were glaringly obvious. Instead, contemporary facelift techniques focus on enhancing your existing beauty while reversing the effects of ageing. No more “plastic” or “overdone” looks.
Let’s Dive into Facelift Options
Ah, the moment you’ve all been waiting for — facelift options. Now that we’ve examined the signs indicating the need for a facelift, let’s cover the various options available to address these concerns.
The Full Facelift
The full facelift is a comprehensive surgical procedure that addresses sagging skin, underlying facial muscles, and deep wrinkles. It provides a dramatic rejuvenation of the entire face. If you have any signs of sagging neck skin with facial sagging, then only a facelift will give you the neck definition you desire.
During a full facelift procedure, incisions are typically made along the hairline, extending around the ear and into the natural creases of the face. Excess skin is removed, and underlying tissues are tightened to create a more youthful, lifted appearance.
Minimally Invasive Facelifts
If you’re all about looking fabulous without the fuss, then minimally invasive facelift options could be an option for you. These procedures are the newer kids on the block and use smaller incisions and gentler techniques, making them perfect for those looking for a bit of a refresh without the full-on facelift experience and recovery that follows.
However, it is important to note that these procedures are particularly suitable for individuals who want to address mild to moderate signs of ageing without the downtime associated with a full facelift.
One of my favourite minimally invasive facelifts is the BELLA Lift. Signature to our practice, this is a minimally invasive facelift that is fast gaining popularity due to its shorter recovery times and reduced scarring compared to traditional facelifts. This procedure involves selective tightening of the underlying facial muscles without the extensive skin dissection involved with traditional facelift techniques.
To achieve the best rejuvenating results, I often combine these minimally invasive facelifts with replacing lost volume in the face using your body’s own fat through injections.
This has been the game-changer in the world of natural facial rejuvenation and is one of the most sought-after signature procedures at Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates. Why? This scarless stem cell facelift procedure embodies this modern approach to natural-looking results without the fuss of full facelifting techniques.
A Stemcell4DLift can include some or all the techniques below:
- Fat Transfer to Replace Lost Volume:
Say goodbye to that sunken, hollowed look! The Stemcell4DLift uses fat transfer to plump up areas that need rejuvenation. Your own fat is harvested, purified, and then carefully injected to restore youthful volume, especially in your cheeks, temples, under your eyes, and the area around the mouth.
- Nano Fat for Skin Rejuvenation:
Nano fat is like a fountain of youth for your skin. This refined fat (also harvested from your body’s own fat) is gently injected into your skin to improve texture and tone. It’s like giving your skin a rejuvenating boost from the inside, smoothing out fine lines and enhancing your natural glow.
- CO2 Laser for Skin Tightness and Resurfacing:
To complete the transformation, the Stemcell4DLift includes a CO2 fractional laser procedure. This high-tech laser technology tightens your skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also fantastic for addressing sun damage, resulting in smoother, more even-toned skin.
By replacing the volume lost in your face with your body’s own fat cells (reinflating a deflated face) and harnessing the regenerative power of your body’s own stem cells, this procedure encourages collagen production and skin rejuvenation in a way that leaves you looking vibrant and fresh. It’s a far cry from the tightly “pulled” and artificial appearances that were once associated with facelifts.
The stem cell technology used in this procedure has the added benefit of promoting collagen production. Collagen is the foundation of youthful, resilient skin, and by stimulating its production, the scarless stem cell facelift provides enduring rejuvenation.
Ageing gracefully is not about doing nothing…
To age gracefully, a little work will have to be done.
So, whether you’re leaning toward more intensive facial rejuvenation, exploring minimally invasive surgical options (such as the refined BELLA Lift), or diving into the modern world of stem cell facelifts, it is essential to choose a skilled surgeon who understands your individual needs and can recommend the most suitable procedures tailored to your goals.
Embrace your age gracefully, celebrate your beauty, and remember that with the right expertise, you can age like a fine wine – getting better and better with time. Here’s to timeless beauty!
MBChB FCS (Plast SA) Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon
Dr Nerina Wilkinson is an Aesthetic Plastic Surgeon with over 20 years of clinical experience. Recognised by her peers and industry experts as a facial specialist with surgical, skin science, and aesthetic experience, she occupies a unique position when it comes to holistic facial rejuvenation techniques. Her innovative treatments combine surgical and non-surgical modalities and are based on in-depth scientific knowledge and her experience.
She is also the founder and director of Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates. Her private Aesthetic Couture Clinic is based in the prestigious V&A Waterfront. Here, she has assembled a group of clinicians and skin care specialists, each of them experts in their field, to be able to deliver the highest standards of care and state-of-the-art, evidence-based procedures. She is an active researcher in the field and has pioneered industry-changing minimally invasive rejuvenation techniques such as the StemCell4DLift™, EyeLight360™, and Natural-Lift™.
Using her detailed knowledge and surgical experience, she trains medical staff in the latest aesthetic treatments and how to deliver them with optimal, yet safe results. Dr Nerina Wilkinson is frequently invited to present her work at Plastic Surgery Conferences, educational forums, and women’s events and has also been highly represented in the media throughout her career where her opinion on current matters in Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic medicine is often sought.