I would like a facelift. What are my options? Would a surgical or non surgical procedure be best for black skin?

Doctor Answers 17

I would like a facelift. What are my options? Would a surgical or non surgical procedure be best for black skin?

If you do not have a history of Keloid scarring there is no reason not to have a facelift if you need one. Excellent results are possible in African American skin.

A facelift will correct jowls and loose neck skin.

If however you simply have loss of volume un the cheek or mid face area dermal fillers can often create a nice result and avoid the need for surgery.

Nonsurgical options

Nonsurgical facelifts are generally treatments that involve a combination of fillers and Botox or equivalent. It can also refer to treatments using laser skin tightening technologies. All of these attempt to rejuvenate the face without surgical means. They do work, but you need a physical assessment by a PS to determine suitability.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 reviews

Facelift in African American

A facelift can certainly be performed in someone who is African-American.  FIllers can also be used as well. Best to be seen in person to determine if you are a candidate or not.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Facelift, Fillers, Ulthera, and most anti aging procedures can safely be performed on an African American

You asked specifically about facelifts, but most of the anti-aging procedures can be performed safely and with good results an an African American. It's important to see a qualified facial plastic surgeon for an examination and to suggest the best procedures for you. 

Steven J. Pearlman, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Face Lift options for black skin and other patients of color

Dear miriamhumbly:

This is a great question.

Patients of color are generally concerned over the quality of their scars and pigment discoloration. They generally do not show their "age" due to their skin thickness compared to other thinner skin white individuals.

Thick scars and pigmentation problems occur in all groups. There are many options to care for these concerns but caution should prevail if you have other skin incisions or injuries with hypertrophic, keloid or other variant scars and pigmentation concerns. 

Various options for facelifting, minimally and non-invasive facial enhancements and skin texture improvements are available according to the skin laxity and areas of lift or tightening you wish or need. Both surgical and minimally invasive / non-surgical options are listed below.

Surgical lifts would be likened to pulling the bedspread and or top-sheet of your bed up to the head-board and removing the excess material.

Minimally invasive procedures such as fillers provide volume such as adjusting a pillow under the bedspread. Botox and Dysport act by pulling the top-sheet which drags the bedspread upwardly. If the bedspread (or skin) continues to fall to the foot of the bed despite fillers, Botox or Dysport you will need to consider a facelift.

Non-invasive options such as laser and light therapies, skin tightening products and technologies perform their tightening and smoothening of the skin similar to sending your bedspread to the dry cleaners. A more refreshed, even colored, glowing smoother and tighter spread covers the surface of the bed.

The most popular of the fillers,Restylane and Perlane, a jelly-like clear skin filler is used to fill lines, wrinkles and folds. Juvederm and its longer lasting "cousin "Juvederm Ultra Plus are similar skin fillers, used to soften and fill the nasolabial ("parentheses") and marionette folds, the brow ("number 11") lines and fill and lift the cheeks and lateral brow or chin.Volumais the longest lasting, up to 2 year duration HA filler. Each one is used to expand or volumize the loss of tissue associated with expression, weathering or aging. All the fillers come with numbing anesthetic!.

Non-surgical facial contouring is possible with fillers such as Radiesse, a bone mineral for the nose or cheeks, jaw and chin as well.

Scuptra is the latest of the injectibles stimulation collagen at different levels of the skin adding volume but primarily firming and adding resistance to the formation of wrinkles, folds and descent.

Botox and Dysport too have been found to rebalance excessive facial expression, provide a non-surgical brow lift and lip lift and reshape the nose, as well as reducing wrinkles!

Dr. Obagi's new, second generation ZO Skin Health programs may be added to personalized chemical peels, light and laser resurfacing and tightening and will, smoothen and even the color of your skin.

IPL and fractionated lasers such as CO2 and erbium and now RF (radiofrequency) are additions to smooth the texture of the skin, tighten and reduce red and brown uneven pigmentation.

If you can pinch more than an inch of skin along the jawline in front of your earlobe, you should consider a surgical option to redrape and remove extra skin.

You may consider: atraditional face and neck lift, short scar face and / or neck lift.

The recent resurgence of the S-Lift (created in the early 1900's), also called by other names as the Quick-Lift, Lifestyle-Lift, Swift-Lift, Soft-Lift, MACS-Lift and others; are a single modification of the S-lift targeted to elevate sagging lower cheeks jowls and lateral upper neck. The shorter scar, limited undermining and second layer lift achieve the "quicker" procedure but not necessarily the quicker recovery or the improvement you desire.

Face lift and / or neck lift or any of the other procedures and their combinations should be discussed following a proper examination by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or Facial ENT surgeon  with great experience in caring for patients of color who performs all of these options so you will not receive a biased approach because he or she is limited in their skills.

Dean P. Kane, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Face lift in skin of color

Thank you for your question about your face lift.

A non-surgical procedure such as a laser is more likely to cause problems than surgery in skin of color.
  1. The significant issue is the quality and color of your skin.
  2. For all people of color, I recommend 2 - 4 weeks of skin lightening cream before surgery to reduce the risk of skin darkening.
  3. Beyond that, if you have the changes that surgery corrects - e.g. jowls, loose neck, etc - a face lift will give you an enduring result beyond what any non-surgical procedure can give you.

Always consult a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Hope you find this information helpful. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Facelift in darker skin types

Without a picture its hard to suggest what would be your best option. A facelift will remove extra skin and improve your jawline and neck contours while facial fillers will add volume. Usually younger patients benefit from fillers (30's- 40's) while older patients benefit from a combination of approaches. 

Having darker skin, whether you are Indian, African, Middle eastern etc, does not preclude you from having surgery but a discussion about keloids and scarring would be important with your physician as if you have a history of keloids, then a non surgical option may be your best bet. You can refer to before and after pictures of patients with different skin types on my website at the link below. 

Dilip D. Madnani, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Surgical or nonsurgical options

Hi miriamhumbly. There are surgical and nonsurgical options to address the aging face in all ethnic types.  The best option really depends on your physical examination and how aggressive you would like to be. I would recommend an in person consultation for a thorough examination and to discuss your options. Good luck. Best, Dr H 

Sanaz Harirchian, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Surgical and Non-surgical options

Surgical and non-surgical treatments can be effective in patients of color.  It depends on the nature of the problem and the best method to address it.


Facelift can be done successfully in African American patients.  There may be higher risk of keloid or hypertrophic scar formation but generally is not that common in the areas incised for a facelift.  If a facelift is indicated, other nonsurgical therapies may be a waste of money.  

John Michael Thomassen, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 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.