Can a Facelift Correct Skin Damage From Sun Exposure or Smoking?

Woman with her hand on her face

Your face is central to your youth and looks. But even then, it is susceptible to damage from the sun or lifestyle habits like smoking. Sun damage is much more common than anyone assumes. It affects anyone and compounds over time, gradually taking its toll. 

Smoking damage also happens gradually, but the impact may happen much faster. You can get different procedures to correct your face and restore youth, but can a facelift correct skin damage from sun exposure or smoking? 


Skin Damage From Sun Exposure


Sun damage is known by many other names, like photoaging, photodamage, dermatoheliosis, or solar damage. All of these refer to the premature aging that exposure to UV rays causes over your lifetime. 

You can develop this condition either from natural UV rays from the sun or from sun lamps and tanning beds. The damage occurs over prolonged periods as your skin slowly absorbs the UV rays and continues to change. 


What Are the Dangers of Sun Damage?


The first impact of sun damage, and the least harmful to the skin, is the premature aging of the skin cells. It leads to fine wrinkles, folds, and skin quality damage, resulting in an aged appearance. 

Additionally, long-term exposure to UV rays predisposes you to develop skin cancer. The UV rays affecting your skin over the years have led to several changes in the DNA of your skin cells, which is the main cause of skin cancer. With some management, you can mitigate UV damage on your skin by using sunscreen or protective clothing like large brim hats.


Facelifts and Sun Damage


A facelift is a surgical procedure that assists in restoring youthful skin, especially by restoring the tautness of the skin. It does this primarily by smoothing skin folds around the jawline and cheeks and reducing sagging skin. Because it deals with significant changes in skin appearance, a facelift cannot correct sun damage.


Skin Damage From Smoking


Smoking is dangerous for you and those close to you because it causes multiple health issues. One major impact of smoking is skin damage, which can lead to several conditions. It happens because your body absorbs the nicotine from cigarettes into the intestinal mucosa, the respiratory system, and the skin. 


How Does Smoking Damage the Skin?


The skin has specialized and unique cells called keratinocytes, the skin barrier's main components that protect the body. These cells play critical roles in the body's immunity, like attacking pathogens and foreign bodies. Nicotine leads to cell death or apoptosis in these cells and reduces blood flow by damaging the blood vessels in the skin. 


What Are the Dangers of Smoking for the Skin?


On top of damaging the keratinocytes, smoking also changes the function and structure of other specialized cells called fibroblasts. These cells contain critical collagen proteins that are key to maintaining skin health. They are responsible for maintaining tautness and firmness and wound healing. 


Facelifts and Skin Damage From Smoking


Smoking leads to sagging skin due to the impact of nicotine on collagen proteins. A facelift can help restore the lost tautness, but you will need additional procedures to help stimulate collagen growth.

For more on whether a facelift can correct skin damage from sun exposure or smoking, visit Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa at our office in San Diego, California. Call (858) 264-3800​​​​​​​ to book an appointment today.

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