What Skin Care Treatments Are Beneficial Prior to Face Lift Surgery?

Photo facial? Chemical peels? Microderm? And if I was to get Juvederm as well, should I get it pre or post-operative?

Doctor Answers 9

Prepare your skin with Retin-A/Obagi

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Certainly you don't "need" to prepare your skin preoperatively for a facelift, but my best surgical results have been on patients who used Obagi (with Retin-A) before and after their surgery. These patients also maintained their results longer than those who did not use Retin-A. I would suggest meeting with an aesthetician who is skilled in the use of the Obagi skincare system, and start ASAP. Of all the potential treatments you listed in your question, it is probably the most cost-effective, too!

Aesthetic Treatments prior to a facelift will benefit

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Any and all aesthetic treatments prior to a facelift surgery will have some minor benefit for the facelift surgery. The major important aspects of preparation for the procedure include taking care of yourself. This would include eating right, plenty of fluids, good healthy nutritious meals days prior to the procedure, getting good sleep, cutting back on anxiety. Importantly, abstaining from smoking or smoky environments is important and diminished alcohol and tobacco intake. Aesthetic treatments relatively are of minor improvement or benefit for the procedure. Microdermabrasion, chemical peels, photofacials are probably best performed weeks after the procedure to assist with the healing, as long as a good esthetician is available and that there is approval from the facelift surgeon.

Some physicians will suggest utilizing Botox to rest the muscles so that they are more relaxed for the facelift procedure and/or brow lift procedures, although this is not in my recommended view .

Aesthetic treatments have no effect on facelifts

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The aesthetic treatments such as photo facials, chemical peels and micro dermabrasion will not have any effect on facelifts whatsoever; those are complementary adjunctive procedures that address other issues and do nothing for the deep structures of the face. The photo facial is used to address color pigmentation such as red telangiectasias and brown spots on the face. Chemical peels are used for wrinkles on the upper lids and upper and lower lips, and micro dermabrasion is used to soften the outside texture of the skin. A facelift is performed to improve the jaw and neckline, re-elevate the jowls, and address facial skin laxity, tighten up the facial muscles and remove fat underneath the neck.

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Medical Grade Skin Care

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The aging of the face occurs for a number of reasons. First, sun ages the skin. This reduces the thickness of the dermis, the support layer. This also affects the support of the skin, so gravity can pull the structures down and form the folds and wrinkles that most people seek facelift to remove. After a face lift you still have the other effects of the sun which can continue to make your face look older than desired. Therefore, the best pre-facelift therapy is good medical grade skin care designed to improve the appearance and quality of the skin. I, personally, use the Obagi® skin care system. It reduces the external signs of skin aging and thickens the dermis as well as improves the vascularity of the skin, all very desirable accompaniments to a facelift. Nothing else comes even close in achieving what is needed in the way of improving results and making the surgery safer.

If you smoke, you must ABSOLUTELY quit before surgery, as this can cause significant complications and continued relaxation of the tissues after surgery.

Photo facial, chemical peels and microderm all have a place in skin care, but not preoperatively. I would not recommend any of the fillers preoperatively. If there are any small areas not rejuvenated by the facelift, you could then use them. Botox®, on the other hand, can reduce some tension on the postoperative tissues and can be helpful in certain circumstances

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon

Rule of Skincare Treatments Before Facelifts

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If you are going to have a facelift in 3 months one can begin a skincare regimen of Retin-A as well as fillers or Botox. If it will be less than 3 months, I generally tell patients it will be better to wait and do it concomitantly along with your operative procedure.

Rod J. Rohrich, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Esthetic treatments before facelift (pre-op skin care)

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It is good to raise these questions in order to plan a comprehensive facial rejuvenation. Facelift accomplishes certain goals, while skin surface treatments accomplish different things. In our practice, we develop a plan for each patient that may include many of the treatments you mention, depending on their own skin and their goals.www.ExpertPlasticSurgeon.com

If those treatments are already planned or underway, they would be stopped a few weeks before surgery. Professional skin care would continue up to the week of surgery.

It is not necessary to do the treatments you mention before surgery. Juvaderm, other HA filler, or fat graft transfer may all be done at the time of facelift surgery. (Post-op is OK too.) Filling various areas, most often the lips, complements the facelift results. Laser skin resurfacing may also be done in some areas at the time of surgery. If Botox is planned, it may be useful to begin it weeks or months pre-op.

Post-op skin care treatments routinely include lymphatic massage to reduce early swelling, make-up techniques, and medical skin care (Obagi) when indicated. Microdermabrasion, chemical peels, intense pulsed light treatments (photofacial), etc. are done for specific reasons, later when needed.

Sutton Graham II, MD
Greenville Plastic Surgeon

Better value to do it afterwards

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If you have to make a choice of skin treatments before or after a face lift the best value would be afterwards.

If is always recommended to do skin heath maintenance. Having nice skin to go with your face lift is a big plus. Following you face lift you will get the advantage of treating the scars with your skin treatments such as IPL and peels. The face lift will tighten the skin and then the follow-up skin care will help to tone the skin as well.

I think you will get a better value for your money to do the skin procedures after you face lift.

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon

None of these are time dependent.

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You can have them done normally after the facelift. We do it that way since you will have swelling which will make all the wrinkles look better or be gone. That way the patient saves money and it may be a year before they need any of the items you mentioned. 

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Pre facelift optimization

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To get the best result from a facelift, make sure you are near your goal weight, use excellent medical grade skin care and do all you can to maximize the elasticity of the skin. In order to maximize the skin elasticity in people who have had significant sun exposure extra measures like IPL treatments are beneficial.

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.