Is the healing process longer for a male? How can the scars be hidden? (updated)

Facelifts for men require special techniques because of several things including hair growth I'm told. This man has almost no facial hair (lucky for him.) How do you find the right doctor and is the healing process longer? Asking for a friend who's complaint is jowling, loose neck and tired looking eyes. Women can hide the scars and swelling with hair and makeup but what about the professional male who will have to return to work in 2-3 weeks? Any and all suggestions and wisdom appreciated.
QUESTION UPDATE FROM USER/ADDITIONAL INFO: the male in question has a full head of hair and his facial hair (beard) is almost non existent.

Doctor Answers 18

Healing Evaluated on Case-by-Case Basis

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The healing process for incisions is not gender-based, but instead varies from person to person. I prefer to hide incisions in natural contours around the ears making them relatively difficult to see. Hiding the scars with face and neck lift surgery can take 1 to 1.5 hours as it means extra care and attention to the natural curves around your ears. This is worthwhile to avoid visible scarring. Men who have had significant hair loss can be specially challenging and need an assessment in person to discuss options. There are various techniques that skilled surgeons employ when looking to hide incisions, as it is understood that scarring can detract from the aesthetic and intention of the cosmetic treatment

Healing process for males vs. females

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The healing process for a facelift procedure is similar for both males and females. Incisions are placed within a crease in front of the earlobe and the back of the ear, as well as in the hairline to camouflage them, so returning to work and hiding scars should not be a problem.

Vito C. Quatela, MD
Rochester Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Facelift incisions

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Thank you for your question.  The incisions will depend on your individual anatomy and facial/scalp hair.  since you indicated that you do not have much of a beard, I would likely place your incision behind your tragus (this is the technique that is most commonly performed in women) as it hides the scar the best.  The downside of this is that if you have beard hair in front of your ear, it will be relocated to the tragus.  This is a good option for some men. The remainder of the incisions are essentially the same for men and women.  They are hidden either in the natural creases or shadow lines of the face where the eye already expects to see a line on someone's face.  You should be able to return to work in the 2-3 week time frame without much bruising/swelling.  If you are concerned about your colleagues knowing, you may need to be prepared to wear some concealer over your incisions because they take several months to mature.  There is a period of a few months where they will be noticeable from up close unless makeup is worn.  This could just be tinted sun-screen, but you would need to have this expectation.  All the best!

Sirius K. Yoo, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Male healing

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Thank you for your question.
Recovery may be longer for a male due to thicker skin, muscles. The incision that a surgeon decides to make is based on that persons anatomy. This is very individualized. You should meet with a surgeon in person to determine what works best for you. Good luck.

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

Facial Rejuvenation For Males

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Healing time is about the same for both male and female. Scar camouflage is facilitated with good technique and most importantly time. Scar revisions are done usually months after if normal healing does not improve it. Most patients return to non-strenuous work 7-10 days following a facelift procedure. Swelling, bruising, and soreness is typically gone within 2-3 weeks. If this seems like too long, non-surgical options, such as ThermiTight, should be considered. With ThermiTight, a probe is placed under the skin that delivers controlled thermal energy to targeted areas with the goal of reversing the signs of aging. The downtime after the procedure is about 2-3 days, with any swelling typically gone within a week.

Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 127 reviews

Male facelift

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Important questions!  Its important to firstly find a fully qualified plastic surgeon experienced in facial rejuvenation for men.  Techniques vary from patient to patient but properly placed incisions will heal well and won't be detected by others.  In men, special consideration to stitch line placement is needed to avoid getting beard growth on the ear and distortion of the sideburn.  Healing time varies patient to patient but is not really different from men to women.  Two weeks off work is usually sufficient enough time for the majority of swelling and bruising to subside before being seen comfortably in public.  Herbal products such as Arnica tablets and creams may also assist in reducing swelling and bruising after surgery.  In some cases, patients in my practice come up with another reason to explain surgical swelling and bruising such as sinus surgery if they need to return to work before complete healing has occurred.

Male face lifts

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The only part of the scar that is usually visible is along the front of the ear and from the back of the ear to the hair.  If your friend is willing to wear a little cover-up make-up, this may get them through the initial healing phase where the scar may be noticeable.  Alternatively, they could grow their hair longer in preparation for the face lift to try to help hide the scars.  The healing process for men is similar to women.  Males can get hair growth in neck under or behind the earlobes when the neck skin is pulled back.  This can be remedied at surgery by the surgeon trying to remove the hair bulbs under the skin or by shaving after surgery.

Todd C. Case, MD
Tucson Plastic Surgeon

Facelift primer for men

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In my practice, the number of male patients seeking minimally invasive solutions (Botox, fillers, Ultherapy) is about 15% but has steadily increased.  The % of surgical candidates is lower, 10%.  
Some observations:
a. Men are relative newcomers to the aesthetic arena.  The examples of "bad" male facial plastic surgery continues to be a deterrent;
b. Professional men are unaccustomed to being out of control and may be conflicted by post-op protocols and mandatory downtime;
c. Hair styling and skin care are lower priorities for most men.  The possibility of being perceived as different is not always well accepted;
d. The beard bearing neck skin has greater blood supply hence the risk of hematoma is higher if blood pressure and activity restrictions are not controlled;
e. Rotation of the beard bearing skin may resurface the ears and mastoid (area behind the ears) with bristles, which can be addressed with interval electrolysis and/or laser hair removal.
The average time to recovery for both genders is 2-3 weeks.  The psychological adjustment may be slightly longer for both men and/or women who have never had cosmetic procedures.   

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

If the healing process longer for a male?................

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there is little scientific evidence to suggest that there is any difference in healing between males and females. Other factors however can influence healing e.g. smoking, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and certain medications. Scars for a facelift are fairly standardised and are always designed to hide or camouflage the signs of surgery. Consult a board certified plastic surgeon so that you can discuss these items in detail.

Patrick Briggs, FRCSI (Plast)
Perth Plastic Surgeon

Male facelifts

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Scars for male facelifts hide very well, I have pictures on my website and my social media showing male facelifts and their post op results. The incisions placed behind the ears are hidden very well as they are behind the ears, the incisions in front of the ear heal very well as they are placed in the natural creases in front of the ear. The incisions should be well camouflaged and barely perceptible after healing. 

Dilip D. Madnani, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 105 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.