You’re 40: Is It Time for a Facelift?


Shocked? Given the fact that everyone thinks “surgery” is synonymous with facelift, I’m not surprised. But the definition of a “facelift” isn’t as simple as it once was. These days a facelift can be surgical or non-surgical (though surgeons love to debate this). It can address the brow, the mid-face, the lower face, the neck, or the face in its entirety. On the non-surgical side, Botox can give a little lift to the eyebrows. Sometimes that’s all you need. Voluma revolumizes the cheeks to create lift to the mid-face. And there’s the “liquid” facelift, too. Surgically, there’s the mini lift, the mid-facelift, the brow lift, the SMAS lift, and so on. A facelift today really can mean many different things.

However, I will admit, calling out the age of “40” is completely arbitrary, and let me tell you why. Age really is just a number. We all know that not everyone who is 40 looks 40. Some look older. Some look younger. And different faces age, well... differently. Some exhibit more skin laxity (sagging) at younger ages while others may experience it later in life. The same goes for volume loss to the cheeks. Notably, those who take preventive measures (Botox, SPF, etc.) will age more gracefully and as a result will put off the need for a surgical procedure until later in life.

So How Fast Will You Age?

There are two key factors that are pretty good predictors for how fast you’ll age. The first is your family history. If your mother or grandmother look older than their years, there’s a good chance you will age similarly if you don’t take preventive measures. If the older members of your family look younger than their years, you’ve probably got similar age-defying genes. However, you still want to use daily sun protection (to prevent cancer at the very least), and a little Botox can still work wonders.

The second factor that affects the rate at which you age is sun exposure. It’s a fact that the sun causes premature aging — wrinkles, discoloration, and dehydration. It damages the collagen and elastin in the skin that are responsible for keeping skin taut and firm. A history of smoking can also affect collagen levels in the skin, resulting in a dry, wrinkled appearance.

So Is It Time for a Facelift?

It might be — some version of a facelift, anyway. But I’d like to offer you some advice, the same advice any qualified cosmetic surgeon would give you. Don’t mistake today’s surgical facelift as the drastic high-and-tight version your grandmother may have had decades ago. There are many less-drastic surgical ways to give the face exactly the lift it needs. The fact is, sometimes non-surgical methods just won’t deliver the results you’re looking for. A good doctor will recommend the right procedure(s) for you that won’t leave you disappointed.

Dr. M
Article by
Shrewsbury Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon