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Do Face Lift Creams Really Work?

Like everyone (I know!) - want to delay facial surgery as looong as possible. may be a face lift cream will do the trick.

Doctor Answers 37

"Facelift creams" hydrate the skin but don't do much else.

Facelift creams are usually filled with moisturizers and help to "plump" the skin because the tissue is more hydrated.  To think of it another way, you could eat 2 bags of potato chips and experience the same amount of tissue swelling and it would "firm" or "tighten" the skin because of swelling. (No, I'm not encouraging people to eat potato chips.)

In order to have a real, long lasting effect you need a procedure of some kind.  This needs to be determined through a consultation with a surgeon you trust.  Options include laser resurfacing, facelift, other laser treatments (Smartlipo), or soft tissue fillers.  Talk with someone that has all of those options available to them, otherwise you may not be offered one or more of those procedures if they don't perform them.

Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

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Facelift creams

Funny you should ask. I actually did a study (published in Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery) demonstrating that two of the more popular creams do not work. We used pre/postoperative photos to measure facial wrinkles, and asked surgeons (who did not know which were before/after) to rate for wrinkles. We also had some patients use placebo (plain moisturizer). No differences were found.

In general, we recommend patients cleanse, moisturize, and protect their skin. The product(s) you use for this do not matter as much as the fact that you take the time to do these daily. Avoid the sun. Don't smoke. All of this wil help you.

Sam Most, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Face lift creams don't work

Face lift creams do not work. They do not lift he skin or soft tissues under the skin. They do not augment the soft tissue loss in the face.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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The best anti-aging cream is sun block

Creams, serums and lotions are not able to do much more than assist with fine lines. They are helpful in maintaining youthful skin however will not transform loose skin... This can only be achieved surgically. Sun exposure causes pre-mature aging and skin cancer. A good sun block with UVA and UVB protection will help limit your sun exposure and using Retinol (Vitamin A) and fruit acids will help to improve existing sun damage. A good moisturizer will keep you hydrated and facials will keep your pores clean and skin glowing

Vivian Hernandez, MD
Boca Raton Facial Plastic Surgeon

Facelift in a cream

Delaying surgery is not necessarily a bad idea but the most expensive thing you can do is buy a facelift cream over and over throughout the years (since it's not going to do anything). Nowadays there are many options like Botox or Fillers that you can do to maintain a youthful appearance. Skin care alone can make a world of difference and in fact will improve your facelift result once you decide to do it.

Keep us posted,

Doctor Meade

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Creams can help you avoid plastic surgery

Of course you knew already that no "facelift cream" exists.

However creams can do several things. A good aggressive skin care regimen, usually provided through a doctor's office is a great start. Retin A or similar product (tailored to your skin type) is a great adjunct. Regular microdermabrasions in a doctor's office help greatly. All of these, when combined with sun avoidance, sunscreen, avoidance of yo yo weight gain/loss patterns and avoiding smoking can make the skin look dramatically better than if these steps were not followed. The difference can in fact be profound.

While genetics play a role, the difference between a patient who follows all the steps above and a patient who violates all the rules can literally be the difference between needing a facelift and resurfacing vs. not at age 45.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

The effect of "face lift creams" is minimal and very temporary

Everyone is always looking for something easy or quick to replace the gold standard of the facelift. Many creams and potions are advertised that claim to have equivalent effects as a facelift. Just think about it for a minute. How could a cream lift the skin? Most of the products contain hydrophilic (water loving) molecules which cause the tissue to swell. When you have swelling of the skin, the fine wrinkles do improve, but this effect only lasts as long as the swelling. This is truly not equivalent to a facelift. Now, on the other hand, there are creams such as Retin-A, if used over several years before your skin atrophies, may help improve the structural integrity of the skin. However, in the end, none of these are replacements for surgery.

I hope this is helpful.

David Shafer, MD
Shafer Plastic Surgery - New York City

David Shafer, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Facelift Creams

Facelift creams do not work, simple as that. The actual procedure (facelift) smoothes loose skin on your face and neck and decreases visible signs of aging, such as deep cheek folds and jowls. Different variations of facelift may reposition deeper tissues and underlying fat in order to restore a more youthful contour to your face.

Incisions are placed within the hairline and in the natural contours in front of and behind the ears. Modified (limited) incisions can also be done to correct only the lower face and neck.

After facelift surgery some degree of bruising and swelling will occur as well as temporary numbness in the face and neck. Makeup can be worn a few days after the procedure and patients are often back to work within two weeks.


There is no substitute for surgery

There are a wide variety of face creams on the market. Skin care is essential for maintaining a youthful appearance and the composition of creams will determine their use and outcomes. But there is no substitute for surgery in rejuvenating loose skin of the neck and face, as surgery is the superior option in restoring a youthful appearance of the face. 

Babak Azizzadeh, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

I have a bridge in Brooklyn....

Facelift creams do not work, period.  They might moisturize and make your skin tingle and feel a little firmer for a few hours, but they will not lift your face.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.