In the past few years, the popularity of “liquid facelifts” has grown. What is it? Is this better than a traditional surgical facelift? Well, to put it simply, it is very different. Using a sub-dermal filler (one that is injected under the dermis, skin is lifted, not tightened. Well, why does this work and for who?

As we age, our cheeks flatten as we lose bone. This causes the cheeks to sag and folds develop (i.e. smile lines and puppet’s lines). In the past, a surgical facelift was used that pulled the skin back. This wind tunnel look was an improvement for some, but certainly was no fountain of youth. In the recent decades, fat was used to restore volume back to the cheeks that could be performed alone or in conjunction with a surgical facelift.

With the advances of sub-dermal fillers, such as Radiesse, Sculptra, and Voluma, one can restore the lost volume in the cheeks in 30 minutes or less, restoring the youthful shape of the face often alleviating the need for a surgical facelift. When skin tightening is needed, one can often use Ultherapy (especially for the lower face, neck, and forehead), chemical peels, or fractional laser resurfacing.

So the simple answer is, maybe. For many, these volume replacement treatments may be a great alternative, for others this may work in combination with other procedures, while still others may be best going under the knife. The good news is that we now have more non-surgical options than ever and the need to go under the knife has been steadily reduced year after year.

Robert S. Bader, M.D., Dermatologist