By now, you may have seen a number of procedures on the market that advertise themselves as “non-surgical facelifts”. While they can recreate some of the effects of a surgical facelift, they never come close to the complete, long-lasting results that a surgical facelift entails.
“For these reasons, there is no such thing as a nonsurgical facelift in the purest sense,” Dr. Richard Baxter says. “It should be called ‘non-surgical facial rejuvenation’,” adds Dr. Sam Most. “The results are simply not the same [as a facelift], as they correct different issues.”
So, what can these cleverly-marketed procedures actually do? We broke down the basics on the 4 most buzzed about:
Liquid in your face? Not exactly. “[It’s] another term for facial injectables like Juvederm, Restylane, or Botox,” says Dr. George Sanders. “If all you need is volume restoration, the results from a liquid facelift can be as good in the short term as a surgical procedure. They must be repeated more often, however, to maintain the result.” However, injectables won’t fix all of the problems that a traditional facelift would, so it is hardly accurate to call it a facelift.
The vampire facelift purports to inject one’s own blood back into his or her face to make it more youthful looking. In truth, the patient’s blood is mixed with a traditional filler in the hope of adding more plumpness to the skin. As for the vampire reference, “Why let a perfectly good craze go to waste when there’s a lot of money to be made?” jokes Dr. Peter Aldea.
Stem Cell Facelift
According to the doctors, the “stem cell facelift” name is just a new way of marketing facial fat grafting, a procedure which has been around for years. While fat does contain some stem cells, that aspect is irrelevant to the process. “Stem cells are responsible for facial improvement after fat transfer? There is not even a speck of evidence that this would be the case,” says Dr. Kenneth Steinsapir. The name is “more hype than anything else,” he adds.
An acupuncture facelift claims that needles can improve the appearance of the face by tightening pores and enhancing skin’s elasticity, but RealSelf doctors uniformly cautioned against expecting any lasting results. “You may see a slight temporary improvement from swelling. It will last a few days, perhaps,” says Dr. Elizabeth Morgan. “Do it for fun, as you would a manicure/pedicure. Otherwise, have a real face lift.” Dr. Jeffrey Darrow concurs: “It is a marketing ploy, pure and simple… save yourself the disappointment and see a board certified plastic surgeon [for] a solid surgical plan to rejuvenate your face.”
In the end, it’s all about being an informed consumer. Just as you would with a surgical facelift, research the non-surgical alternatives to determine if cost, effects, and longevity make them worth it.