What is a Liquid Facelift?

 

In short, a Liquid Facelift is nothing short of a miracle. With the syringe in hand, a skilled injector can improve almost any area of the face by restoring lost volume, sculpting facial features, lifting sagging cheeks and jowls, filling wrinkles and nasolabial folds, and even provide symmetry and lift to the nose!
 

Areas for a Liquid Facelift

Let’s face it, somewhere in our late 30’s and early 40’s we start to notice our faces change. You may feel like you look tired. Maybe you wonder where the once sharp outline of your jaw has gone. Your lips seem to be shrinking! And those under-eye bags; where did they come from? Your first thought maybe “I’m too young to look old!” The thought of plastic surgery feels like something reserved for your mom or dad, not for you! Yet.

This is the sweet spot time to consider a nonsurgical Liquid Facelift. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health in an abstract¹ provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, in 1981, bovine collagen was the first agent to be approved by the FDA for cosmetic injection. Since its approval, dozens of injectable filling agents have been developed, and many are already FDA approved for cosmetic use. This has opened the flood gates for an outpouring of injectable products designed to treat a myriad of facial aging issues long before cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures are needed. Some might call it a miracle.


Liquid Facelift vs Traditional Facelift: Which Do I Need?

What a Liquid Facelift Can Treat

Loss of volume occurs with the natural course of aging as facial fat decreases leaving the skin without youthful support. A person typically loses a teaspoon of fat in their face per year after the age of 40. Volume loss is a key factor in facial aging, as is its co-conspirator, loss of collagen and elastin, components of the skin that keep it healthy and resilient. When the underlying fat and skin quality is diminished, the skin of the face seems to fall downward leaving hollowing throughout the face, draping folds, wrinkles and jowl formation.

Repeated muscles movements associated with facial expression are called dynamic wrinkles. For instance, the muscles used when smiling can be seen in the crow’s feet, and the vertical lines between the brows occur with frowning. When we are young, these lines disappear in a resting face, but as our skin loses the natural substances of collagen, elastin and plumping hyaluronic acid, these dynamic wrinkles are etched into our face and become static wrinkles. Static wrinkles are visible even when no expressions are made. A Liquid Facelift can help mask these changes and restore a more youthful visage by filling voids, stimulating collagen formation and relaxing the muscles that allow lines to deepen.
 

Facial Hollows

Every part of the face is susceptible to facial fat loss. But the most obvious areas where we notice volume loss are the temples and cheeks. A youthful face is heart-shaped. As the volume decreases, the upper part of the face begins to narrow whereas the lower half becomes boxy with the onset of jowls. Restoring volume is similar to adding new stuffing to a pillowcase. As new fill is added, the pillow becomes plump again.

Several injectable products are formulated to provide an increase in volume by stimulating collagen growth. Sculptra® and Bellafill® are two such products. Bellafill is injected into the deep portion of the skin. Over time the collagen component of Bellafill is absorbed by the body but tiny microspheres remain intact providing long-lasting support for the skin. Bellafill requires a number of injections, dependent on the amount of hollowing, but the results are clinically proven to last upwards of five years. Bellafill is an excellent treatment for lifting and providing volume as well as minimizing folds by creating underlying support. The results of Bellafill can be seen immediately.

Sculptra is comprised of Poly-l-lactic acid, the same substance as dissolvable sutures. When injected, the body begins to form collagen. It takes approximately 2 months to realize the action of Sculptra, and like Bellafill the amount you need can be determined by your injector. Sculptra is a gradual bio-stimulator so patience is required to see results, but the results are long-lasting, from 2 to years. The goal of Sculpltra is to reverse a skeletal appearance with naturally created volume.
 

Static Wrinkles

Horizontal lines on the forehead, vertical frown lines between the eyebrows and crow’s feet can all be treated and lessened in appearance with injections of Botox® or Dysport®. Both products contain neurotoxic proteins that relax the movement of the muscles that create dynamic wrinkles. The effect of Dysport and Botox lasts 3 to 4 months. Over time, and with repeated treatments, the wrinkles smooth and lessen in depth.
 

Under Eye Bags

Our eyes are cushioned inside the orbit with fat pads. With facial fat loss, the eyes can appear sunken and hollow. Under-eye bags appear more prominent as thinning and draping skin falls downward. Most injectors are capable of treating the under-eye hollows using products formulated in various consistencies of hyaluronic acid. The upper lids required a more skilled injector because of the delicate anatomy. Restoring volume to the upper and lower lids gives vitality and youth back to an aging face.
 

Earlobes

Most of us don’t pay much attention to our earlobes, but these dangling appendages of the ear are prone to thinning and sagging with age. A lifetime of heavy earrings can also be seen in stretched out, elongated ear lobes. Simple injections of hyaluronic acid products such as Restylane Lyft® or Juvederm Ultra+® can add fullness and a more rounded, youthful shape to the earlobes. These injectable products can provide correction of 6 to 9 months.
 

Disappearing Facial Features

Comparing a high school photo to a current image of yourself, you’re bound to see less definition of the cheekbones, visible nasolabial folds (lines from the corner of your nose to the mouth) and less definition to your jaw. You can attribute these signs of aging too, yes, volume loss and poor skin quality as well as bone loss. A liquid facelift not only provides volume and lift, but certain sturdy injectionable products like Radiesse®, Restylane Lyft® and Juvederm Voluma® can actually build out and sculpt flattened cheeks, fill in deep facial folds, add bulk to a receding chin, and redefine the contours of a sagging jawline.
 

Lips

Just like any other part of the face, the lips are affected by aging. A Liquid Facelift can address aging lips as well. Dynamic wrinkles from smoking are visible long after smoking cessation and appear as static wrinkles. Bone loss causes the lower face to recede and lips “fall in” on themselves making the lips appear thinner.

Young women and men have lips with well-defined lip borders. The body of the lips are smooth and show few, if any lines. Giving the lips shape and hydration by injecting safe and natural products like Juvederm® and filling in smokers likes with Juvederm Volbella® or similar hyaluronic acid products can make your lips look much younger. The goal is the restoration of the natural lip shape you had in your early adulthood.
 

Liquid Nose Job

Although not typically a component of a traditional facelift, it is worth noting that injections can now be performed on the nasal anatomy to improve the symmetry, visually narrow a wide bridge, improve the position of the tip, straighten the nose and hide bumps.  This nonsurgical rhinoplasty is also called a Liquid Rhinoplasty.

Who is a candidate for a Liquid Facelift?
A liquid facelift is miraculous as a stop-gap to facial plastic surgery, and just about everyone is a candidate. However, if you have excessive skin laxity, you may be at the point where a lift can only be achieved by re-suspending muscle and excising extra skin.

What is the cost of a Liquid Facelift?
The cost of a Liquid Facelift is dependent on what type of product or products your injector recommends for you and how many syringes or treatments are indicated.

Does a Liquid Facelift hurt?
Topical numbing agents make a liquid facelift virtually pain free.

How long does it take?
Depending on the number of syringes used and areas treated, from 15 minutes to one hour.

How long does a Liquid Facelift last?
The products used in a Liquid Facelift will last approximately 6-9 months for temporary fillers up to 5 years plus for others. In reality, Liquid Facelift results should be viewed as lasting months versus years.

Miracles do happen in the world of cosmetic surgery. In the decades b.c. (before collagen), the only choice for reversing the signs of aging was going under the knife. Now a wide variety of safe, flexible gels and liquids injected with a tiny syringe can make a huge difference in how we can fight the signs of aging. For many people, trading the scalpel for a syringe with a Liquid Facelift a welcome advancement.

If you are interested in learning more about a Liquid Facelift, contact Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa in San Diego, CA.

¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19415573